Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Gaijin Chronicles # 1

Crazy is what I thought almost 2 and half years ago when my sister and brother-in-law told me they were packing up their lives and moving across the world to Japan.

Insane is what I thought in November of last year when one of my best friends told me he was moving to Japan especially after the earthquake and tsunami.

I remember saying over and over again "Jason and I will never move to Japan, we love our life in Oklahoma! Why would we do that?"

And yet here we are, with one month under our belts and I still think it's crazy and insane, but I guess you have to be a little crazy, insane, odd, strange, or whatever you want to call it, to pack up your life, leave a house and puppies you love, quit a job you love, and move to a country across the world where you don't speak the language. It's crazy scary, crazy awesome, and sometimes both. Even now I think "how did we get here?" but God in His infinite wisdom told us to trust in Him and lead us here at the perfect time. So we trusted, we got on an 11 hour flight, and here we are living in a country where we don't understand what's going on pretty much all the time. Everyday I feel like a child having to be led everywhere and told what to do. I have to relearn everything I thought I had mastered like eating, speaking, walking, dressing, surviving a natural disaster, reading, and worst of all using the bathroom. I constantly feel wobbly, even when the earth isn't shaking below me, and out of place.

Our first full day in Japan was a very rough day for us. Not only jet lag, but culture shock, homesickness, and allergies all set in, in the first 24 hours of being here. Thankfully we had great buddies who helped us out a ton! They had us jump right in to learning things like how to get around on the bus and where to shop for groceries. We figured out the bus system pretty quickly which is a pretty good way to get where we need to go so we don't have to buy a car or a scooter. We also had to get a few things for our apartment the first day we were here. Thankfully to Staci and Dan, we had a lot of stuff that we needed already. So, all we had to buy was a microwave/oven (moven) and a stove. Our buddies took us to a new shop first, but everything was so pricey we decided to go to my father's favorite store in Japan the Hard off, which is a really nice thrift store. Yes it's really called the Hard off I can't make this up. There's also a Book off, a Home off, and a Food off. The whole process was really frustrating because I felt like we had just made all these choices in Oklahoma and it was really stressful to have to go through it again especially in another country where you can't read anything!

Our apartment is tiny and compact, which seems to be a theme in Japan. We actually have really grown to like this concept the Japanese have because it's simple and to the point, no extra space that you don't need or a bunch of stuff laying around. However, to my surprise our apartment does have a lot of storage space which is nice. We are also very lucky or cursed (there are pros in cons to everything) because we have tatami mats and we just got them replaced so they are brand new. I like them because they are more traditional Japanese, they actually make you feel like you are living in Japan, but they are also really hard to keep up and keep clean so we will need to buy a vacuum soon because that's the best way, I have figured out, to keep them clean.

Sorry we don't have any pictures for this post. I left my camera at a restaurant our 3rd day here and didn't figure out where I left it for 4 days. Luckily, we are in Japan and it was still there when we went back to get it, but I will post pictures soon!


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