Expat Life, Japan

Anteaters and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

I had a freakishly awesome day that I just felt that I had to share with the world. “The World” being the handful of friends that are (hopefully?) reading this…and possibly, maybe, my dad.

Anyways, I had the afternoon off from work and went in search of a Japanese language class, (pouring paprika on my french toast instead of cinnamon had been the last straw…I would enroll in a Japanese class even if killed me, or my more likely, my budget).

Well, after looking online for an hour, I gave up and decided to walk to where I had thought I’d seen a Japanese language school. About three weeks ago. While I was on a moving train. Well, of course I couldn’t find the school…but I did discover a whole slew of fantastic finds. Which just goes to further prove “Reannon’s Theory on How to Have an Adventure”. Not familiar with that one?

Well. I believe that the best way to explore a city is without a map, guide book or plan. Just pick a direction and start walking (or if you’re feeling especially daring, hop on a random bus and see where it takes you). I would say that 70 percent of the time you find something interesting that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Case in point.

On My Walk Around the Neighborhood I Discovered:

1. A chic, reasonably priced, french restaurant hidden behind the train station.
2. A zoo of some sorts…or maybe an animal hospital? Vet school? Know idea. Anyways, they let me play with their rabbits, ginormous pot-bellied pig and get this, a real, live anteater.
3. An international grocery store.

You have no idea how happy I was to see that grocery store. For the past few weeks, I’d trekked all the way to Shibuya (which is like the Times Square of Tokyo) to some over-priced foreigner-friendly markets, having no idea that there was a much cheaper alternative two blocks from home.

There were Oreos. And Marshmallows. And boxed Macaroni and Cheese. I don’t even eat boxed Macaroni and Cheese, but just seeing the familiar Kraft blue box and knowing that it still existed…I felt like this was Disneyland wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper. It was freakin’ awesome.

And then I spotted the cans of re-fried beans and I don’t know why, but I wanted to cry. Maybe it was because I’d been looking for ingredients to make Mexican food for weeks now without any luck, or maybe it was because I missed my time spent in Mexico. The store was owned by an Indian family and something about seeing the woman in a sari and hearing that familiar Bollywood high-pitched wailing over the sound system brought back memories of India and also added to how, I don’t know, alone I felt.

I guess you could say I’m going through yet another stage of culture shock. The stage where you become overly-nostalgic and cans of beans make you cry.

Well. Despite that momentary lapse into depression, today was a really nice day.

And if anyone reading this, has any suggestions as to a good (i.e, cheap) Japanese language school, please tell me. From what I’ve found online, they all seem sort of pricey ($200 application fee?) and the ones that are volunteer run (and free) seem sort of sketchy.

Any ideas?

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1 thought on “Anteaters and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Hi Reannon – How about trying the old Hawaiian “bait and switch?”
    Advertise on Craig’s list (Japan version) for a bilingual tudor?

    Love, Dad

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