When I moved here, I knew things would be different. Only one steeped in ignorant bliss would think otherwise. And yes, of course, life here is different, in all the ways I expected, and then some. Though different doesn’t mean difficult or unpleasant. Just … different.
There’s the expected….
- There’s no dishwasher, and no garbage disposal, so meal cleanup is far more manual than I prefer. Annoying, but manageable. (Japanese kitchen sinks are a rant for another time).
- I’ve had to rethink my whole approach to laundry. My washer doesn’t do hot water, and there’s no dryer. Washing whites has me heating up the kettle beforehand. And drying requires planning, depending on time, the weather, the time of year (winter sucks for drying anything) and the nature of the items to dry. It’s no longer “how many loads can I get through today?” but “How many days might these jeans take to dry in the middle of winter?” (I do not jest.)
- Walking. Yes, I got lazy in summer, because 30+ temps with 96+% humidity meant I’d be a sodden mess by time I got to Tenjin. And I haven’t walked in the park since early fall (I prefer walking with a destination in mind), but I do walk a lot more. On weekends, at least. I don’t miss my car. At all. Not one bit. I won’t take taxis, and prefer not to take buses, so I’ve gotten good at figuring out where I can get via train, subway and my own two feet.
- I eat out a lot more than planned. Or from 7-11. It’s sometimes better and cheaper to do so, depending on the dish.
And the unexpected….
I looked up quotes on change, and found this one, by A.C. Benson, to be apt:
Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene.
Although I needed that change of scenery to invoke changes in myself.
- I like to shop. Oh, not for clothes, because that’s even worse here, with all the cute things I can’t possibly wear (though shoe shopping is much more fruitful). If you had told me I would enjoy walking half an hour to get to the stores, and then spend anywhere from 3-6 hours wandering stores, largely just enjoying seeing what there is, rarely spending all that much, but always coming back with something different, I would have told you that you were nuts. But I do. I used to do commando shopping: strategical strikes for just what I needed. But Japan is a shoppers’ paradise, and I love finding new and neat stores, of which there’s no shortage. I’ve barely scratched the surface, I think.
- I’ve come to like tofu. Used to despise it for being formless and flavorless. But I’ve had some amazing fresh tofu in Beijing and Tokyo, and I voluntarily buy it for eating at home. Unbelievable, for me. Still hate natto, though, and still on the fence about chawan mushi.
- I like to go sing karaoke. I do love to sing, and I used to in my car. But I always thought paying to sing in a public place was … just no. Here, though, you can sing by yourself in a room and just have fun. I’ve only inflicted my voice on Nancy so far, but I’ll be meeting up with a Rodeo Girl in two weeks to shop and go karaoke, so we shall see if she survives my tuneless yodeling. Heh.
- I go out with friends for drinks. Not as often as they ask, since it’s really not my thing to go have a glass of wine after work. But I do go with them sometimes (not to the clubs though; drawing the line there), even if we don’t start until late.
- I am someone’s sounding board. I’m not the only friend she talks to, but I am the mature voice of reason and … empathy? It’s an unfamiliar role.
I know there’s much more, but the drama I’m sorta paying attention to (Murder on the Orient Express, with an all-star Japanese cast) is about to wrap up, and I should sleep.
Vivre le difference~