a month later.

3 March 2011 § 1 Comment

This week has flown by. I had Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday off. That was nice. Normally I will just have two days off. I’ve met some more people. That’s been cool.

I met a teacher at work today who said she’s from Canada. After a bit of talking, I found out that she lived in St. Catharines for quite some time before moving to Toronto. I guess that’s what happens. You move to the other side of the country and you meet someone who you probably saw at the store all the time in your own city but never even said hi to them. Why would you? She was nice. Told me where I can find salt and vinegar chips around here (they’re not a normal flavor in Japan), and told me about her apartment becoming available in a few months, which I might look into. It was an altogether boring shift today, but that made it all worth while!

I bought a bike on Monday. It is pretty cool. It doesn’t have gears. It’s silvery blue. It has a nice big basket on the front. And a biking-powered light. I am excited about it. I have a bike back home (beginning to think I might even have two?), but I hardly used it (them?). I was so reliant on driving. And I probably will be again when I go back. For now though, this is awesome.

My other big excitement this week was a trip to the Osaka Costco. It was amazing. It’s sort of pricey, but I could find normal sized containers of peanut butter (and giant ones), and bagels (very hard to find regularly), and big bags of almonds, and raisins. We mostly went just to find where it was and see what it offered, so we’ve planned to go back after we get paid. I couldn’t find oatmeal though. I’m pretty upset about the lack of oatmeal around here. My parents have recently supplied me with some (many thanks!), but I had to request them to send instant oatmeal because I have also been unable to find brown sugar. I’m sure it’s around and I just can’t read the label. So along with another trip to Costco, we’ve planned to go find an international food store and check out what’s offered there.

And finally, my last big excitement of the week: getting e-mails from friends on my phone. E-mail and Facebook are great for keeping in touch, but getting something instantly on my phone feels different. I guess that would be one reason I might feel tempted to buy an iPhone, but that’s also sort of the reason I didn’t want to buy one. There is something wonderful though about your phone going off when you’re feeling homesick and opening it up to find a message from someone back home.

Nothing particularly introspective or insightful today. Just updates!



19 February 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m mobile again. I’m also back to pressing 33-6-444 to spell my name because I was too cheap and non-committal to buy a nice phone and get into a 2 year contract. There is no T9, not that I’ve ever been a fan. On the bright side, I can watch Japanese television for free on this phone, and type in katakana and hiragana, though I won’t usually have any idea what I’m typing. A couple of the trainees bought iPhone 4’s last week. I’m a little jealous, but I’m working on figuring out how to unlock my 3GS to see if my SIM card will work in it. Not a big deal.

Downside of mobile phones in Japan? You can only text within your service provider. Upside? For 300 yen a month (which is just a few dollars), I have unlimited sending and receiving e-mail. Not as convenient as texting, unless the people I’m e-mailing from my phone or who are e-mailing me have a Blackberry, iPhone, or whatever kind of smartphone.

I was tempted to get an iPhone. I recall telling my brother sometime in the past few months that I could never go back, but here I am. Not only could I not justify the expense because I’m trying to save some money while I’m here, I also have convinced myself that I like the idea of not, in fact, being connected to the entire world via Internet 24/7. It’s nice to be connected, sure. It’s nice to always have maps available and to be able to Google things in an instant and play Scrabble (or, Words With Friends) on the morning commute. But it’s also nice to not be weighed down by that. I have lots of books here. Good books (I hope). I have an empty journal to fill up. An awesome, new camera. A new, super cool country to check out. I can admit that I don’t have the self-discipline to have an iPhone and not be distracted by it a lot. Which is kind of sad, really. But I do have the self-discipline to not buy an iPhone. I’ve got that much.

It is a cool, sunny afternoon here in Osaka. My clean laundry is hanging to dry. I rearranged a couple pieces of furniture to open the space up a bit. I received my first piece of mail from Canada this morning. I played Scrabble for the first time in Japan last night. I’m going out for some karaoke tonight. This is the longest I’ve ever been gone from home. It’s going well.

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