Japan, Part Two

Last Friday, I traded in THIS…

Mavericks, a word famous surf spot down the road from where my mom lives in California

Peaceful path along the beach a block from my mom’s house

For this…

Tokyo, impressively cramped and crowded as ever
A lot has happened since I last wrote. I’ve been frantically busy the last couple of weeks and my brain is so overly-tired and overstimulated that I can feel it buzzing and tingling in my skull, (although that could be a side-effect of the Starbucks coffee diet I’ve been on). I just spent the last half hour lying on the floor in my new apartment in Tokyo, numbly channel-surfing from an infomerical selling diamond encrusted Buddha key chains, to a reality show featuring a British dude in a superhero costume who lights his farts on fire. I feel like my IQ has been sucked into the TV set, (oh, how I’ve missed you, Japanese TV).
I figured though, that I better update this blog before people start to worry…(mom, I’m still alive). So here’s an update on my what I’ve been up to.
1. Last week I drove from LA to Las Vegas…and then decided to move there. Seriously. I surrendered my New York State Driver’s license and everything. There’s a long story to that…and one that involves a lot of careful consideration and planning, I promise. It wasn’t impulsive at all. When I do move Stateside again (note the use of ‘when’ instead of ‘if’), I plan to go grad school at UNLV, (which has a study abroad requirement and a partnership with the Peace Corps, guaranteeing that a masters degree won’t mean a two year sentence stuck in the middle of the desert). It’s like the program was tailor-made with me in mind. (!!!)

2. I moved back to Tokyo (I need to save money first!), and I’m now living in a dollhouse in Asakusa, (an old part of the city near a giant, Central Park-esque park). I say dollhouse because it’s a miniature version of anything resembling a life-size person’s apartment. Doll size windows, a teeny tiny desk and chair and a fridge and microwave that are smaller than the make-belive plastic Playhouse kitchen my preschool students play with. I even have baby doll pink curtains.
I’ve learned that Japan has a creative way of listing room measurements. Nope, not by square footage, but by how many tatami (straw) mats can fit on the floor. Well, I sort of overestimated the tatami mat sizeage and now I’m stuck with a room where I can touch the ceiling and cross from one end to the other in three steps. Oh, and I also share a shower and a toilet with five men…
3. I started a new job. I’m now working at an international school which is both awesome and bewildering. All of my students are mostly Americans or Canadians and I’m constantly having to stop myself from speaking broken, pigeon English to them (it’s like, “OMG you can understand what I’m saying! Wow, I could just hug you for that!”). The school has an ‘English World’ sort of an environment which makes it feel like I’ve been transported back home. It’s very twilight zone-ish in that even even the Japanese staff speak to one another in perfect, unaccented English, (it’s one of the school’s many rules). For this reason, I was sort of hesitant to take the job, (as in, “I could do be doing the same thing back in the States…where’s the authentic Japan experience?”) but in the end, the schedule is what sealed the deal. I don’t have to work Saturdays (a rare thing in the World of teaching in Japan) and my day ends at 2:30. This will allow me to get a second job…or tutor (which is an extremely lucrative job in Tokyo…the going rate is 50 bucks an hour).
Being back in Japan is strange. I’ve been back three days and already some old dude on a bike asked to be my ‘pen friend’ (umm…what?) and a toddler on the subway told her daddy that I looked scary.
But I have a good feeling about Japan, Part Two. Things are looking up…definitely.
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3 thoughts on “Japan, Part Two

  1. I live in San Francisco and used to surf at the rock wall at El Granada, really close to Mavericks. Thanks for posting up those pics. That area is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen.

    Good luck with Japan, Part 2!

  2. Yeah, I was surprised at how beautiful it was. Coming from Hawaii, I thought that nothing could beat the beaches there…which is still sort of true. But Mavericks is beautiful in a different way. I really, really enjoyed my time there. I want to go back!

    But I’m glad I came back to Japan too. It was definitely the right decision.

  3. “Oh, and I also share a shower and a toilet with five men…”
    Ha, I laughed out loud when I read this part and how it was included as a small postscript for you when for me it would be the dealbreaker of the apartment. Ha. I couldn’t do it!!

    “Pen friend” is an English translation of “merutomo” which means a text message friend. You get their text address and you text each other almost every day, but hardly ever (if ever) meet. I have a million of these people and all of them are accidental. I meet them once and then they are too busy and never want to hang out with me, yet I keep getting little good morning / good night notes and random encouraging messages (shigoto ganbattene!) or weather reports.

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