Yuhuu!! I managed my first conversation in Japanese! After waking up around 4.30am (hail thee, jetlag), I got ready for the day - we can choose between private showers (which are wonderful, you have a basket to put your clothes into, and a strong beam of water whose temperature you can freely adjust - from 25 to 50 degrees! Sara wuerde es freuen :0P) and the public bath. The bath is typically Japanese where you sit down on a stool in front of a mirror, with a shower next to each mirror. There are 10-15 stools like that where you're supposed to foam yourself. There's also a giant bathtub to soak, but you're neither supposed to swim in it, nor to enter it with foam. (I learned the "no swimming" part from the expression on the face of my HR manageress when I said "great, we have a pool!" ooops...)
So far, I haven't tried the bath yet as I don't really know how to use it, but if I find someone who will show me, I would like to try.
Last night, I was surprised to see that the sun went down around 6pm already, but this morning I was equally surprised to see it come up around 4.30am!! If the sun schedule is like that all year long, I'm not surprised that you always see people doing TaiChi or ChiGong or whatever kind of meditation on television in the morning - half the day passes before you enter work! I guess that also makes it easier for the commuters who have to go into Tokyo by train about 2 hours each day...
But getting back to my first conversation this morning! Today, I had my first Japanese breakfast: I was greeted very friendly by the dormitory's owner's wife (ryou bo) with a happy "Erena-chan, o-haayou gazaimasu" (good morning, little (honorable) Elena). Then I could choose between a sweet breadroll with noodle and veggies, or fish (I guess it was salmon) and tofu. This morning, I wasn't brave enough to try the fish, so in addition to the breadroll, I ate a bowl of rice and had a probiotic yoghurt which we get for free as well =) I also could have eaten a slice of bread with cheese or jam (well, ok, I admit it, I also ate one of those *g*)
The dining room is made up of the kitchen apart where 3 sweet ladies work who are obsessed with greeting me *smile*, a bunch of tables in front of a TV set, and two tables on tatami mats (the typical Japanese-style mat to sit on kneeling). Well, one of the tables is for cheaters as it stands on a hole so that you can put your legs underneath the table. I chose that one as my favorite spot.
This morning, a girl with disshevelled hair (out-of-bed look :oP) was already sitting there, so I approached her asking: "Sumimasen, ii desuka?" - Do you mind if I sit here? (well, actually the literal translation would be "Sorry, is it good/ok?"). She didn't mind and asked me "dokode desuka?" [to those who speak Japanese, if my Japanese phrases and grammar are incorrect, please forgive me, I'm still learning *g*] and luckily I know that that meant "Where are you from?". "Doitsu de" "Aaaah, doitsu de!" I told her, that I speak very little Japanese - "Nihongowa chotto hanasemasu", but asked her for her name anyways: "O-namae-wa nandesuka?"
Her name is Hanako and she introduce me to her friends Mai and Makoko (I think). If you're wondering why most of the names end in -ko, that's because ko means child. Hana-ko, for example, means Flower-Child.
Mai and Makoko knew a little bit of English, so with a mix of Japanese and English, we talked about how difficult German is (a lot of Japanese have studied German in school, but don't speak a word), how long I have been here for and what I am doing. So there, that was my first Japanese conversation and I haven't even started working yet =)