Friday, July 13, 2012
What is it like living in Japan?
It’s just like living anywhere else. When I lived in Tokyo, I'd tell people that, but they didn’t believe me. “Oh, it must be so exciting!” they’d say.
Because people don’t believe me, and because you’ve wondered, here is my boring routine.
Tuesday through Friday I work in the afternoon and evenings. Remind me why I took a job that requires my concentration and focus during my least mentally productive times of the day?
I wake up around eight in the morning. Usually I wake up at 7:30, put the kettle on, and go back to bed for a half an hour. This is my body’s concession to working at night. It tried to wake me up at 6:00 every morning for the first month, but I convinced it to sleep at least until 7:00, since it doesn’t go to sleep so early anymore.
While drinking my coffee, I check my email, read the news, and write blog entries. If I need to call the U.S., this is also a good time (10:00 a.m. in Japan is 8:00p.m. in Chicago). Also, I have make sure the garbage goes out. (What goes out today?)
(Hint, hint - This is also a good time for you to call us! 6:00 p.m. in the midwest is the earliest I’d suggest, but I’m likely to be awake even before that!)
My mornings are free. I have three or four hours of free time to bake (or ruin baked goods), clean (okay, I don’t do much other than wash dishes or clean up after cooking), or go to the grocery store. I don’t like wandering too far afield before work, since I don’t like to feel rushed while I’m out. I always think this time could be used more productively, but cooking, cleaning, and writing are productive enough.
I eat lunch and get ready for work. Sometimes I leave at noon, but often not until 1:00. Work, including commute, keeps me out anytime between noon and 10:00 p.m.
We eat dinner and watch an old Dr. Who, as I am trying to get caught up on the series since its earliest days.
We’re in bed no later than midnight, but usually earlier.
Saturdays are different. I leave at 8:30 a.m., and have six classes in a row. It’s a terribly busy day. Thankfully, I have an hour off at lunchtime! I also get to leave when my last class is finished, so I leave at 5:00, instead of having to hang around until six, like I would if my boss made me put in a full eight hours on Saturday.
It’s also the only day I can stop by the 100 yen shop on my way home from work.
(I’ll have to blog about the 100 yen shop sometime - it’s like a dollar store, only better).
Then it’s two days off.
On Sundays or more preferably Mondays, we go shopping at the “international store” which is too far away to visit before work. We try not to go shopping on Sundays, since the stores are really crowded then. However, it’s a good day to go if you’re looking for a free lunch; the grocery stores have many, many free samples on Sundays!
Sometimes I have to work - the trips to Osaka and the extra events we do are always on Sundays. Upon reflection, I guess that’s only been five Sundays in the past three months. It could be worse - it feels worse!
For the past few weeks it’s been too hot for the walking we like to do: exploring the city and wandering through rice fields, walking along the river, finding out what stores are nearby, etc. I can’t wait for the rainy season to be over and the humidity to drop. Truthfully, it isn’t the heat that’s so bad, but it’s more humid here than even Iowa - I didn’t think that was possible. So even when it’s only in the upper 80s to 90 F, just sitting in the apartment has sweat rolling off us. We don’t go exploring when the weather is like this. We go do the grocery shopping we need and come back, and try to stay cool.
Next month I have two weeks off for the Japanese holiday of O-Bon. I’ll write more about it later, and David and I will explore the region a little bit better.