Thursday, June 21, 2007

June 18, 2007 - Japan

Wow, once again I am surprised at just how quickly 13 hours can go by when flying!
I arrived in Japan! And it's a lot less alien at first sight than I thought it would be - the past half year of intensive Kanji studies now help a lot in recognizing signs, but everything is transcribed in English as well. There were only two things that caught my attention - the "French" toilets (look like little bathtubs in the ground) and the emptiness of this giant airport - we arrived in plain daytime, but the airport reminded me a lot of Stephen King's "Langoliers" - no one there besides the people from our flight! And airport staff of course, who spoke English very well. I had no trouble finding the travel info to get to Osaka and buying the tickets.

And now I am marvelling at the green scenery that's passing by outside, making up the outskirts of the 25-million people-molloch called Tokyo.
I probably shouldn't render any judgments just yet, but so far I have the feeling that - at least by the looks - westeners are quite acostumed to the sight of the Japanese style - houses, plants, people look very familiar. Can't wait to learn more about the culture though, that's bound to be something to boggle your mind!

There are differences though - while looking out of the train window at the 13-story powerline (I don't think I've ever seen more than 5 or 6 lines above one another), a waitress came by pushing a cart with sweets to sell - I feel like on the Japanese Hogwart's Express :o)

Krass, aber ich kann's noch gar nicht fassen, dass ich jetzt 2(!) Monate hier sein werde! Two months!!!!!!! When I think back to the past summer in Barcelona and how much I learned in those 2 months... I can't wait! =)
... I am absolutely flattened! I just shut the door of my about 15sqm room with balcony and sat down to think about what happened during the past 2 hours. Shinkansen, local train and taxi weren't a problem, there were always people that understood what I wanted from them with my crude mix of English and that handful of Japanese words that I know. So when the taxi guy dropped me off (complete with white gloves and a construction to open the passenger door "semi-automatically"), I was standing in front of Sumika Bayer, my working place for the next 2 months. Eric van Rijn, my contact person, came down immediately to salute me - and it turned out that he isn't in his 40s as I thought, but roughly my age, only with 7 years in total of living in Japan!

The whole team I got to know so far is exceptionally young, nice and smiley (and it seems like a real smile), and today I have already collected 6 business cards and bowed aroun't 150 times!

So during the past 2 hours, a group of 6 people ran around the apartment house with me, showing me around and absolutely taking my breath for what Bayer is offering me! I knew that they would pay me 5000 YEN per day, weekends and holidays inluded :o) And that they would arrange for accomodation for me. Furthermore they wanted to cover my commuting expenses.

But I hadn't expected this! In my new dormitory, I have a big room with balcony, a bed, a desk, a bunch of drawers, a washbasin, a giant wardrobe (begehbarer Kleiderschrank!) and an additional cupboard for about 20 pairs of shoes! Then I have a TV, a water boiler, a telephone line, air condition. There is a public washroom with a giant bathtub (you're not supposed to swim in it though) and also separate private showers. I think there are about 80 girls living here on 5 floors. We have a living room with television, a stepper to keep in shape, a vending machine for drinks, a code to get inside the dormitory, (for me there is no curfew as I am officially working), washing mashines, and the best of all - the canteen! They put breakfast in quite a human schedule, and guess what: all of it for me is freeeee (for me at least hehe)! I can eat as much as I want and Sumika is paying me 30EUR/day for that =)

Have I mentioned the shower gel, laundry powder, garbage bag, tea cup, slipers, toothbrush, soap, sponch, hairbrush and razor that came with the room as well? hihi

To finish this surprisingly wonderful day, Eric introduced me to 2 girls from Sumika who live in the same residence ~ Arima-san und Doro-san - and Doro-san knocked at my door an hour ago and invited me to come to eat dinner with her in the hall! Mizu soup (watersoup with eggs, veggies), rice with kaviar (or whatever kind of fish eggs), sardines, lotus roots, cellery, muschrooms, algae - extremely delicious!
And great chopsticks they have, too :o)

So what a day! Tomorrow I will check out the convenience store and the internet caf`e which Doro showed me on the map.

That's it for today! Goodnight to you all, I will collapse into a coma now and I know I will sleep veeeeeery well!!!! =)


diealten said...

i know, you do it in english for helping us learning this language, but please, please, some words of ower good old german language will help us to follow your minds und understand your fantantastic experiences. (wehe Du verbessert das jetzt)
Hört sich ja alles toll an, wünschen Dir dass es so bleibt. (Ess nicht so viel)
liebe Grüße Mamma und Peti.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Hehe.. Well I am a bit biased, but I like the fact it is in English - Maybe we should force her to do it in both, and in Japanese too!

Michael. xx.

PS: I had to delete my last comment, since I said I liked the fact it was in German. I think I need sleep!

Taro said...

Great blog :D
I want to see your next post describes your experience in Japan.