Sunday, January 13, 2013
Welp, I've made it to Japan. Since the primary purpose of my 12 weeks here is research/work, I can't really say I'm well prepared for the language or the culture. Although, having lived in Turkey for 4 months, I know that I generally expect things to be different, so culture shock doesn't really happen for me. It's more like culture surprise.
Surprise! Your trash needs to be sorted into 8 groups and you're going to spend way too much time classifying garbage.
Surprise! No one heats the indoor hallways even though it's forty degrees outside.
Surprise! You just bought instant miso soup and a bucket of miso, because you're illiterate.
Upon arrival, my mentor picked me up from the bus stop and took me to my apartment, which the company provided. I know from prior travel that nothing works the same as it does back in the 'States, which has become evident once again as I have to consult the cursorily translated manuals for all of the appliances in my apartment. You can fill the bathtub full of water using an electronic console in the kitchen, need I say more?
Having arrived Sunday night, I haven't had any time to do anything except sleep and work all week. Sleeping was a problem, as I was provided with a Japanese futon (aka, a glorified comforter), a blanket, a duvet, and a pillow filled with plastic beans. My pampered American hips aren't accustomed to sleeping on tatami mat floors, so I had to purchase a foam pad for under my futon. Thankfully, I live right next door to a giant shopping mall. It has provided me with many things, including the back-saving foam cushion and rice bowls with bunnies on them.
What is life sans bunny rice bowls?