Paying too much for a taxi


So, I finally feel like I can write the events from the past couple of days. I have done a lot of walking the past two days, and even though I am tired… I am very content.


Sunday was my first time at church in Kobe since I got to Japan. It was an international church, which was really cool because the congregation was over 50% foreigners. The praise and worship was amazing, and a total surprise in that they played songs I KNEW! I was thrilled! It felt like I had gone a month without taking a shower (gross thought) and then I was finally able to be refreshed. After church (which started at 4 pm and went until 6 pm) a group of JETs and other English teachers, about seven of us, went to a “mexican” food place, where I had my first soy bean “burger” ever. Not actually that bad. And after that I made the long journey home. It was really great having a group of people that I can actually relate to on all levels. And for the first time, I felt ‘at home’.


Traveling off the island has been one of the most stressful things ever. There are a few buses and a ferry that can take people over to the mainland of Japan. While these buses and ferry run late at night (the ferry runs 24 hours) the local bus stops at 9 pm. So Sunday night when I arrived at Higashiura bus station, I had to walk 20 minutes to get to my apartment. (NOT fun after walking around/being on my feet since 1 pm that afternoon.) But the story gets even better. Yesterday after school I made my way to Iwaya to meet Mike (the Iwaya JET). We were going to Kobe so I could get my re-entry permit (more on that and details of the day later). Long story short, got back to Iwaya after 9 BARELY and had to take a cab from Iwaya to Higashiura bus station. the fare for the local bus is about 400 yen (about $4). My cab ride cost me 2,230 yen (about $22) RIP OFF!!! And I still had to make the 20 minute walk to my apartment… after another long day of walking around Kobe. I knew they were expensive. But it was pretty ridiculous. So I learned my lesson and my new curfew to be back on the island is 8:30 pm at the latest. because the last bus runs at 9.


I was sad that yesterday had to end so poorly with having to take a taxi, because the rest of the afternoon was actually pretty fantastic. I left straight from school (12:00) to get to Iwaya to meet Mike. We got into Kobe around 3:00 and headed for the Immigration Bureau, where I paid 6,000 yen ($60) so that I can get back into the country without having to re-apply for a visa. It’s really the stupidest thing EVER… but there are two options for re-entry permits, a 3,000 yen one that only lets you back in once OR the 6,000 yen permit that will let me leave and enter the country as many times as I want to for the length of my visa, which is 3 years if I wanted to stay here that long. So I only have to leave the country 2 times in order for me to save money after that, and I will definitely be leaving more than that. Anyway, it was a pretty painless process that took about 15 minutes. (America could take lessons on efficiency from Japan in the government offices.) After that Mike and I went and got our keitais (cell phones) and we happened to find the ONLY English speaking salesperson in an AU store in Kobe.  Not that we were looking for an English speaker, we actually just happened to find one and he had what we wanted there. We found bedding stuff for Mike and had dinner at a cool restaurant where you decide what you want from a vending maching and pay there and then out pops a ticket that you give to the ‘server’ who then brings out your meal. Not a word of Japanese is necessary and the food was pretty cheap! By then it was about 8pm so we got a couple of donuts from Mr. Donut and got on the Tako Ferry. (Tako means octopus in Japanese, and this ferry has a bunch of cartoon octopi painted on it.) The Akashi Bridge was a Purple color when we got on the boat and then suddenly it changed to rainbow. It was so great!! And very beautiful. Of course you know how the story ends once we got back to Iwaya… but the rest of the day had been pretty great. And I definitely got my exercise. I am SO tired today, it took me a lot longer to get ready for school than it normally does. I was almost late.


But all is well… School starts Thursday, I teach two classes on Friday, and then a weekend that I am very much looking forward to. The only other thing on my to do list is buy an airplane ticket home for Christmas… which I will do the week of September 23rd.


This afternoon will be great. I am actually looking forward to being home. I just have cleaning to do… but the sky has gotten dark, so it looks like rain. Perfect weather to do some writing or reading…


That’s all for now… kampaii


Doing… just ok

It’s been a while since I last posted.

Know that I am doing alright and still very much alive. Just not really in the mood to post right now.

School starts Thursday, and my first class is Friday. I am getting anxious.

Went to church yesterday… will write more on that experience later.

Miss everyone still very much.

Precious is lost…


Good afternoon on a rainy and then sunny Monday!

The weather on Awaji is not unsimilar to that in Colorado, in that it can be storming with lightning and thunder one minute and sunny and beautiful the next. One clear difference is that, OBVIOUSLY there is massive humidity. I haven’t used a hair dryer in a week. I put it back in a braid… not such a great look, but definitely cuts back on heat and the frustration of drying and curling the hair, only to have it straightened out as soon as I walk into the thick blanket of moist air. Whatever. Feels good on the skin.

My weekend was rather uneventful. I have no extra spending money until I get paid this week, so I wasn’t able to go to the ‘beer garden’. Yeah, I was thankful for an excuse to get out of it. But since everyone else was going, and I had no money, I got to spend some rather good quality time with myself. Got a schedule all sorted out for working out, and started doing a devotional. Life is most certainly, on the right track. And it rained all day Sunday, which made me go through the last stack of papers sitting on my dresser. Yes… I am almost done sorting through crap! YAY!!! And than I can get busy starting my Japan scrapbook. Yes, another scrapbook. And yes I will most definitely be finishing this one.

I miss talking though. I went almost two days without talking to a single other person. Jared called Saturday afternoon, which was AWESOME, We talked for almost an hour. I miss our 7 hour conversations. And I hate always feeling rushed while we are on the phone… gaah! But it was good.

A revelation I had last night as I was trying to fall asleep… I have had one hug since I got to Japan. My Puerto Rican friend who is a JET on Awaji is a hugger so it works. But chances are, I won’t have any physical contact with ANYONE during my stay in Japan. I am going to miss hugs.

So anyway, other than that… doing well for now. I miss everyone!!

Another Friday in Japan


So it’s Friday AGAIN… this week went a lot faster, even though I really don’t know what I did with all the extra time I had. I wasn’t as social as I was last week, but I guess I got a lot done. For those of you who know me pretty well, the organizing process takes me FOREVER… especially when it involves papers. I’m dealing with papers that past JET’s have left for future resources. And since I have only been here for 3 (yes it will be THREE weeks in Japan on Sunday) It is still hard for me to know what I may need or won’t ever use. The pile is dwindling… and soon all I will have to do everyday is clean.

Speaking of cleaning! I MISS DISHWASHERS! Seriously, my sink is never empty of dirty dishes, and it’s frustrating to have to wash dishes as much as I have been. My sink is the size of a pop up toaster… so when I do wash dishes, water gets everywhere… Oh well… and the place is constantly dusty… dusting every 2 or 3 days would probably keep it pretty clean. And I have a hard wood floor ( which I will also never  have again…) it needs to be swept ( I vacuum it cause it’s faster) I swear I shed hair like crazy here, I might be going bald. And it gets all over the floor… yuck. Eh.. it’s exercise in the least.

So my mom sent me the most amazing care package… videos, crocheting projects and POP CORN! I didn’t realize how much I would miss little things like that. Jared sent me freeze dried ice cream, which was really good! He’s pretty great.

I had my first experience of what it will be like to be a non-alcohol drinker on Wednesday night. I went out with the entire JET population on Awaji.. it’s about 14 people, plus a few Japanese friends… We all crowded into this little restaurant and the first round of drinks… I was stunned to find I was THE ONLY ONE who didn’t want beer. (eww anyway right??) No one made a big deal about it, but I stuck out like a sore thumb. That is more of a culture shock that being in Japan I think… that, and the whole swearing thing. I went to public schools up until college, and I guess after 4 years at CCU, I just got used to it not being a norm. Oh well…

Anyway… gotta go… still much to do this morning!!! Later!

Friday in Japan

Whew! It’s FRIDAY!!!! YAY! So the weeks has gone by rather smoothly. I’ve actually been more social this week than I was the last week I was at home. Tuesday night I went out with my new Japanese friend Midori. We went shopping and she drove me all over Awaji showing me places. The BEST thing I got was a library card! I can borrow English movies with Japanese subtitles for FREE. Just like a normal library. But this is probably going to save my life.

Wednesday night I went to a concert featuring the Higashiura junior high school band and a high school band. Apparently this is the 45th year they’ve done this concert. It was SO GOOD! These junior high students were playing better than most American high school students (really good ones) and the high school was probably college level. I remembered why I like music so much… and am glad I have it in a foreign country. Because music is universal. For 2 hours, I was home.

Last night I went to Midori’s house for a Japanese BBQ. ALSO amazing!! Nothing like American BBQ. You grill bite size pieces of all kinds of vegetables and some chicken, beef and yes.. I even ate ‘taco’ (the Japanese word for octopus.) Then you pick the food off the grill with chopsticks and put each piece in the dipping sauce and eat it. VERY GOOD.

This morning, I had to arrive at school early, because they did a type of welcoming ceremony plus honoring ceremony for students in sports. I had to give a speech in Japanese, first to the teachers I work with and second to the entire junior high school. I can only compare the feeling I felt while giving the speech… to that of a 12 year old Jewish boy… who is reading the Torah. Except I had skipped the months and months of schooling that was supposed to teach me what I was saying/doing… it was awkward, and I was glad when it was over. Nonetheless, people seemed to understand me just fine, and many teachers said it was a good speech. HA! I think they are just being nice.

Anyway… so my first full week is done. I am looking forward to tomorrow when I plan on going into the city (Kobe)… and off Awaji island, to hang out with my other JET friends. Can’t spend too much money, so.. we’ll see what I actually end up doing.

I hope you are all doing well… Till later!

Settling In

Things are going well so far. It is hot and humid.. I’m LOVING JAPAN!!!! I had Okonomiyaki (I hope I spelled that right…. sorry if I didn’t) yesterday with two English teachers, one math teacher, and the vice principal of my school (and a partridge in a pear tree). It was so great! I talked to my mom and Jared yesterday, which was also a treat. The hard part about having a phone card, is that I want to save it and use it all at the same time. CRAZY. Jared called me this morning… TOTAL surprise!!! I wasn’t expecting his call at all.

Getting used to being by myself a LOT and not having much contact with other native English speakers. It makes for long lonely nights, but you know, it gives me more time for things I haven’t had time for before… like a regular devotional time, writing LOTS of letters, and working on making oboe reeds. Can’t practice very much at night, but during the day I suppose it will be ok.

I miss everyone very much… I think of you often!