things i like about japan so far:
-the food. i knew it was good, but it's still great. i am going to make my own tonkatsu soon. also i am going to buy my lunch next week when i run out of ham because i feel like i have been missing out. all snacks at any hour at a choice of convenience stores. there are no sushi places around here, its mostly general japanese restaurants and udon, with the occasional soba or ramen place. i have to try the pizza shop down the road too. what's really good is this cafe restaurant called paparagi, its got a nice atmosphere and very tasty food, which includes spaghetti. i still have to try the waffles.
-baseball on tv. japan is great because there is usually a baseball game on television. there is the major league (i'm watching the joshin tigers play the oyimuri giants right now. i like the tigers, because they have a cooler name and are the underdogs), and the minor, more corporate league, each of which plays like 5 games a day. during the AM any american team with a japanese player can have their game broadcast live. and then there is also high school baseball, which is on all of the time, and is a much bigger deal than the minor leagues. you'll know you're watching hs baseball when you hear the metallic *clink* as a ball gets hit.
-karate class. it's a lot like fencing. you move the same way, and you hold your body in the same way. as a result you get the same kind of briuses in the same places. i have karate class twice a week and its a lot of fun. being tired and pained and limpy and bruised up is a good sign that i am alive. plus i get to punch and kick people as recreation.
-massive political upheaval. here is a link to the most recent article from al jazeera where you will find the driest commentary possible. it turns out the ruling party is set to lose big on sunday, a party which has ruled almost uninterrupted for the last 50 years. this is cool because it is a case of political change being meaningful only because it is different on the surface. sure the democrats have a manifesto with lots of crazy policies people are excited about, but for the most part, it is the change in name and in faces that is going to cause the real change, if anything changes at all. democracy has never been organic in japan, i can RT the nytimes article that reminded everyone that it was first handed down by the emperor via the samurai, and later by the americans. its interesting how much people are willing to talk about politics; they really don't like aso and his liberal democrats. i don't blame them, and it's fun to experience this.
-the yen. 93.875 yen to the dollar right now, which means that for every 10,000 yen i bring home, an amount i treat like $100 here, i will actually bring home $106.52. 100,000 yen, an amount that i think of as $1,000, will actually be $1,065. it's easy to see how this adds up, since my salary is around 3,600,000 yen. and what's great is that i don't think the dollar is going to get any stronger agains the yen any time soon. if it gets to be under 90 yen to the dollar, i will stand to make an incredible amount of money more than i thought i was going to make. but it won't stay like that forever...
-the weather. i heard it's kind of hot in new york right now? well its very nice in ikawa. mild even. i only have to use the air conditioner a little bit at a time. and nights are great. it is supposed to rain tomorrow, which could put a damper on the karate party though.
things about japan that i like less than the previous things:
-asian style toilets. i never knew how much of a luxury it was to have western toilets at the princeton review office in westchester. this is something i am just going to have to gradually get used to. if you dont know what a japanese style toilet looks like, try google image search, and then be thankful.
-living alone. humans are social animals, right? i guess i need to get out more, and try to chill with the other jets in the next town. i miss a lot of people, which makes me not want to do this for more than a year. which leads to the next thing...
-not knowing what i am going to do next. i know its a little early for this kind of worry, but i really dont want to go back to school, and today i am not down to stay here for three years. eliminating those two leaves me with no options whatsoever, so i need to think of something. maybe i should teach high school english in america and let my soul get destroyed, quickly and painlessly.
-my cell phone. it's bulky, white, confusing, and i can't get the pictures off it because my computer doesn't have a cd drive (need a cd drive to install the usb software - ridiculous). i wanted a small, black phone, since everything else i have is small and black (small black ipod, nintendo ds, laptop, wallet, camera) but i picked the free model, because i am super stingy. japanese cell phones have separate email addresses for text messages, a system so complicated that it warranted the most crazy cell phone feature ever: to trade profiles (name, number, arbitrary string of letters and numbers that is my text/email address which i cant figure out how to change) you have to put your sell phone's infrared beacon up against your friend's and decide who is receiving and who is sending, and then switch and repeat the process. it's overtly sexual, and so silly.
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