Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Settling in

I guess my first couple of weeks here haven't been as productive as I would have liked them to be. I feel like the one major thing holding me back from getting stuff taken care of is my lack of Alien Registration Card. If anyone knows why it takes so freaking long to get that card, could you please leave a comment? I'd like to know. I still need a cellular phone and a bank account.
Besides wandering around Ashikaga trying to find life's necessities like city-regulation garbage bags and public fax machines...I visited some other parts of Ashikaga, like the Orihime shrine that is actually not far from me at all!
Orihime is the princess from the Tanabata legend. On the 7th day of the 7th month is the Tanabata festival, when Orihime is reunited with her love, Hikoboshi.
I suppose it is always auspicious to visit your local neighborhood shrine when you move in, right? So, I threw my money in the box, rang the bell, clapped my hands and bowed.

I've been kind of lonely since I don't know a whole lot of people here in town, but I managed to cure my loneliness by hanging out with some people from work this past week. Went to Ueno Park & Zoo, and to Hanami at Kichijoji park this past Sunday. My first couple experiences with the Tokyo metro system have been completely overwhelming. Mostly because everyone keeps to the left instead of the right like in Kansai. Also because Tokyo is just a huge city. It just... goes...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Exploring Ashikaga

(the view from the bridge)

So, I think that I have had a relatively productive couple of first days. I found the grocery store and bought some provisions. Enough to tide me over for a while, anyway. All of the vegetables look amazing and really clean and fresh. Carrots, daikon radish, broccoli, enoki mushrooms, bean sprouts. I bought some scallions to make a stir-fry with, but they are really big and tall, like leeks, and I couldn't fit them in my wee baby refrigerator, so I had to cut them up.
I still haven't found where to get the city-designated burnable trash bags that I'm supposed to be using for my burnable trash. I have other trash bags that I've been using for my non-combustibles. All of this trash sorting is probably going to drive me nuts after a while.
I picked up some tissues, toilet paper, shampoo, aaand some plates, cups, chopsticks and other kitchen stuff, like a frying pan and a spatula, knife (which I already cut myself with) and a cutting board.
It really is hard to get by without all of those little things! Especially if you want to cook for yourself! I hate going to restaurants by myself (although today I found a conveyor belt sushi place up the road that I will probably hit up now and again), and I'd rather cook anyway. I made myself some rice and a veggie-stir fry tonight. I don't have any seasonings.. so I just used soy sauce.
Not far from conveyor belt sushi is a Recycle shop! It's just like an American thrift store. They have EVERYTHING. I was seriously considering getting a pair of used Chuck Taylors and a rice cooker. They also had these awesome beer glasses with a Mazda 'Familia' and the Mazda logo screen printed on them. I have to admit, I kind of wanted them too. I'm going to see how I fare without the rice cooker and the Mazda glasses for a while, but I will definitely be back at the recycle shop soon. I want to check out the used CDs and LPs.
Yesterday I found a big shopping center that is about 4 blocks from one of the train stations here in town. Its a massive mall-type thing. Kind of expensive, but if you need anything they've got it. I found the 100 yen shop, too. Great for clothes hangers, drying racks, scotch tape, aaand nail polish remover.
So.. other than buying things I'm going to need and walking around alot, I've just been hanging out in my too-cool-for-school apartment and reading stuff for work and some magazines I picked up... if anyone wants to write me letters, please feel free. I would love some new reading material and some mail! Hit me up on my e-mail, and I'll send you my address.

mata ne!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Good Morning from my tiny hotel room!
here is a pic of me in my 5 square foot bathroom:
Have a good day everyone :)

I'm in Japan!!

The flight was long and torturous, but I arrived at about 12:45 this afternoon at Narita airport, and then took a bus out to Mito. I'll post pictures of this teeny tiny hotel room.
Guess who is sitting on the couch at the hotel? Um.. can we say.. a PSU classmate from JAPNS 403!!!
It is a small. small. world.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Oh no.. packing...

I will most likely be taking this mountain of purple shoes to Japan. Anything else?

Of course!!

So, I usually take those little sewing packages that you get from hotels whenever I go on a trip that requires me to wear something nice. This is kind of an extended trip, so I decided to make my own sewing kit to throw in my bag.

I wrapped some black & white thread of various types around a little piece of pink cardstock that I cut with some zigzag edge scissors. I poked some different sized needles through the wound thread so they don't get lost in the fray. Then, I threw in some buttons that came with some of the garments I'll be taking along. Plus safety pins of various sizes and colors, a pair of scissors, a needle threader aaand a mini screwdriver just in case my glasses decide to break.

Everything fit nicely into this little ziplock that used to have buttons in it.
I guess if you want to guage the size of this little package, the pink cardstock is about as long as a business card. This is definitely something that is going to come in handy, I think.