I’ve been in Japan for about three weeks and counting now, and I’ve really obtained a new respect for “culture shock.” I’ve been meaning to fill this journal with entries, however I’m just so mentally exhausted from all the activity I hardly know where to begin. (I also apologize for typos, as this laptop cannot keep up with my typing speed and often omits or weirdly inputs stuff…)

We’re still in a transition period where we’re still lodged in a bare-basics hotel (although our honeymoon week in Tokyo is over) and it’s been a relatively slow and steady adjustment period. Tokyo was great, and I’ll do a back entry about it soon, but right now it’s down to brass tacks. Our current goal (or “imperative” as the lady at the Navy housing center so oddly put it) is to secure a roof over our heads. Last Friday (that’s Thursday for North America) we had an orientation about housing. Since we’ve begun looking at places, I’ve learned some very interesting idiosyncrasies between Japanese and American homes. I’ll detail them for you here. Read the rest of this entry »


Import Gaming

June 30, 2009

It’s the last day in June and we went out to the nearby Daiei depaato to have some dinner and price random appliances and household goods. There’s a pretty great video game place there called Link or Links or something, which typically has a lot of used games in really good condition. After nearly losing my mind in Akibahara due to the congestion, noise, and typically obnoxious store displays, I really never had an enjoyable chance to do any game shopping. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been really reminded of how much of a bigger market Japan is for games. One of the great things about games, like comics, is that they’re a great way to study Japanese without the sterile feeling flashcards or drill books can leave you with. I’ve come up with some points about using games as a study tool and some points about import gaming in general. Read on…

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Right now I’m stuck in a waiting period, which has been beyond dull in our now-empty apartment. Darrel is on a three-week underway assignment, so I’ve been by myself filling the days rather slowly and painfully.

It’s been an excellent chance to catch up on some long over-due reading, but sadly there’s little to do with Japan or preparing for Japan I’ve had a chance to share. However, there are a couple of topics I thought might be worth mentioning: rainy seasons and cellphone purchase.

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This entry will have to be shorter than I originally envisoned because it’s a bit late and I’m utterly spent from the big event with the moving company today.

Darrel’s work is paying for the relocation, so we received a completely cost-covered moving service, which included the packing. However, I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea of having a moving service do my packing, and attempted to pre-pack as much delicate stuff as I could the days beforehand so that I could merely direct our moving guys to my pre-sorted stacks of stuff. I went a little overboard the day before with the prep work because I was exhausted and narcoleptic for most of today.

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What to Pack

May 14, 2009

Absolutely exhausted prepping for the moving company. Almost too tired to want to bother packing my suitcase!

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May 13, 2009

This being my first post on my move, all I can say is I am exhausted from packing and ready to hit the hay!

Before setting out to move to Japan, I had a lot of preparation work to undergo within the unfortunate time limit of 2 months. I may expand in post-dated entries about some of the rigmarole involved, but for now will continue posting moving forward. At this point, we are about to ship our belonging and are simply waiting for the plane ticket to arrive in the mail.

The first thing I did when I learned I was going overseas was to hit the bookstore. I purchased a variety of non-travel literature aimed at persons who intend to live abroad for extended periods . We also purchases some travel literature later, but for starters I wanted to get my head around making a major cultural shift.

The booklist:

The Rules of Living in Japan by Fuhito Shimoyama, published by Gakken

Living Japanese Style by the JTB (Japanese Travel Bureau)

Japanese Family & Culture by the JTB

The Illustrated Guide to Japan Daily Life & Society by the JTB

Living Abroad in Japan by Ruthy Kanagy, published by Moon

I’ve lived in Japan before during a summer homestay in Yokohama when I was 14, and returned later as a tourist for a week in Tokyo as part of my family’s college graduation gift. I also have studied Japanese over the course of my life, although I have abysmal speaking and listening ability. I’m able to type and read in Japanese to my certain extent. However, I personally wouldn’t consider myself really all that well-armed for this major move. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more sensitive to the concept of minority discrimination, which is a new hurdle that my childhood self was blissfully incapable of taking offense to. I have a belief that preconceptions and self-entitlement lead to the biggest burn-out amongst foreign visitors to Japan, and my current philosophy is to drain myself of all the things I think I know about Japan and endeavour to enter into my new country as blank a slate as possible.