Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hot Diet

I finally got some pictures of outside.  These are taken from my windows / veranda.  I'll get some more when I go exploring later.

So I had my first run in with an overly protective community.  As some of you know, since I have come to Japan I have had some problems eating.  I got a really nasty stomach from the airplane.  I haven't done very well on the 14 hour plane ride in the past and this time was no exception.  Although it was better than the first flight I took.  I think it was particularly bad this time because I hadn't fully recovered since my surgery, which also made me extremely ill.  So my stomach was not prepared for the random food that came it's way.

In any event, I didn't eat much for the days in Tokyo, and when I did I usually regretted it.  Then I came to Kyushu which is the most South/East island.  The heat here was so much worse than in Tokyo I thought I would die a couple times.  It has gotten a lot better recently.  However, my favorite dinner has been a liter of water.  

Well, that didn't sit too well with my co-workers at the BOE (board of education).  I did consider lying to them, but that's not who I am.  Also, my supervisor Nakashima-san has been taking me everywhere for the last week and a half.  So he knew I hadn't made it through five pieces of bread in as many days, and that I was supposedly eating two or three meals at home each day.  

When my co-worker asked one day what I had made for dinner last night and I said I hadn't eaten anything, I stressed that it was due to the time difference (6pm Japan = 4am America).  Apparently she either didn't buy it or she didn't care.  Next thing I know I have four people or more asking me each day if I made dinner and what I ate.  Luckily a few days later when I didn't eat anything no one asked me.  They must have been busy that day.

To top it all off, a few days later the same co-worker I originally confessed my lack of nutrition to told me she was worried about me.  Asuka asked if black was my favorite color.  I said that it wasn't but that they told us to wear nice clothes when we first came to Japan, and that all of my nice clothes were black.  She didn't say it in as many words, but I believe she thought I was depressed.  The next day I wore a cherry red sweater.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hmm, Not a Couple Pics at All

From my window in the Tokyo hotel around 4am.  Ah, jet lag, how I missed you.

From my window around 6am.  Hey, I thought it was 4pm! Gimme a break.

Big apartment.  The kitchen is to the unseen right.  Maybe I will take a short vid of the apartment...
My beloved tatami mats.  Sorry, you all lost to woven bamboo :]

Amongst Mountains and...Grass Skiing?

So here I am in the tatami room of my apartment.  It is my favorite room in the house (at least try to look shocked), except when it is too hot.  Then my favorite room is the kitchen where the air conditioner is. 

I missed the tatami mats so much.  It was one of those little things I didn't even consider.  I used to wake up (reluctantly) and many times I had been sleeping on my stomach with my hands stretched out on the tatami mats. 

I missed feeling them under my feet while getting ready in the morning and falling asleep with them at night.  

For the first few days I lived in the kitchen.  It was really hot, and my supervisor and the two others who met me at the JET center in Kumamoto took my futon from the bedroom and put it on the floor of the sitting room connected to the kitchen.  There was a lot of discussion as they had in impromptu inspection of the place and commented on all of things that needed to be fixed.

On the second day of life in Nankan-machi (machi = town) I was given a driving tour of the area.  I was pretty impressed.  For such a small town, it has a lot of cool, diverse things you wouldn't expect.  From the small race track, the local potters (whose house/studio looks just as you imagine a Japanese artist's place in the mountains would look), and of course, the onsen.

But there was one surprise.  There was a ski lift.  It was a weird case of culture and reverse culture shock all at the same time.  It was just so familiar and so wrong.  I asked my supervisor, Nakashima-san, "I thought you didn't get snow here." and pointed to the lift.  He said, "No, we don't get snow here.  That is for grass skiing."  I double checked to make sure I heard right.  

I had.  I am in the land of grass skiing.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Snow Fox on the road

Hello to the opening of my blog. If you had asked me a few months ago if this day would ever come, I would have defied time and replied it wouldn't. And even if I had lied, I just couldn't have known. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have called you a liar and truly believed it.

I am going to Japan. The return trip I never imagined possible and yet prayed for every moment. I have a 10,000 yen bill in my wallet that I never thought I would get to spend. I saved it five years ago when I left my exchange school and returned to the US. That bill only ever left my wallet when I would hold it up to the light so see the water mark.

I will miss all of the people in my life so much. But there is no job in America for me. I want to thank everyone who helped make this possible. The doctors, the nurses, my physical therapist, my not so physical therapist, my family, and my friends.

But especially, I would like to thank Deb - Deborah to the rest of you. You are amazing. The most trustworthy, stalwart, accepting, fun-loving person I have ever met. You didn't know how to help, so you just stood by my side, waiting for me to pull my head out of my ass (sorry little children, this blog is not for you :)

I go forward
step after step
raising my eyes toward the sky

Always to remember
the time before
with a smile

Never forgetting
the people who led
my feet to the path once again.