5-Day Report: Japan 2013

Today is Monday July 22nd. So far, this trip has been excellent. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve been to busy too write so here is a collection from my memory on the past 5 days.

TV interview and a rainy night at Royal Host

The flight went by quickly and when I got off the airport the only struggle I had was carrying my enormous amount of luggage. Walking down to the trains, I was stopped by a TV camera crew and gave them a short interview. The train took about 3 hours and it was so annoying to carry so much stuff. I also received weird looks with so much luggage to carry. Nonetheless, I enjoyed looking out the window and seeing beautiful forests and rice fields. When I arrived at my home station, my boss and his family were there to pick me up. It had started to rain and I was so tired that if they hadn’t have come this whole trip could have stopped right there. Thankfully, they had a large van to fit my things in. We went out to dinner at Royal Host, which is like a Denny’s. That night they showed me to my apartment and what was what inside. Most of that night I can hardly remember seeing as I was lacking an entire night’s sleep.

A tough day at the office with new friends

The next day I had work at 10:00 a.m., believe it or not. I woke up at 4 a.m. and took a walk to a convenience store. At work, I met the entire office staff. They all seemed really nice but I was, in general, confused as to what to do, what was expected, etc. The next thing I knew I had a meeting with the boss and we discussed my pay, etc. I’ll be sure to document the differences between an American and Japanese office separately, but one of things I noticed that day was that there wasn’t a private meeting room. The two of us talked on a table in front of everyone – which could mean they heard everything. That day, two of the girls took me to an apartment that was in between tenants and apparently it was our job to clean it? I was so surprised. I did it, though, with 100% effort. We scrubbed the floors on our hands and knees, and we were dripping sweat. The place was spotless. After that, they took me to the store so that I could get some necessary items for my apartment. This city is oddly set up. I still have yet to complete an entire map of it in my head. We had to drive 30 minutes just to find this household goods store and for Japan, that seemed odd. Then again, I’ve spent most of my time in Japan within the suburbs of Tokyo – so it is possible that I have not know “true” Japan. Later, the boss’ wife took me to get a view things and she kindly paid for them, which I argued against her doing.

Photoshop-ping, and language learning techniques in question

Another day of work came and this day was all about pictures. A guy in the office and myself drove out in one of the office cars – which is bright gold like the office logo. We went to probably 10 apartments to take photos. He let me take some but negatively critiqued each and every one. When we arrived back at the office, it was my job to edit the pictures for the internet. ‘Aha!’ I thought, something I know how to do. That night I made my own dinner – rice, meat, and salad. Super good. Usually at home I study Japanese. The language has become more complex the more time I’ve spent listening or speaking it. One of the interesting things I’ve noticed about my Japanese knowledge is how incorrectly it is formatted in my head. When I can’t remember a word I know I have to say or think the word in English first, then the word comes. I realized this is probably because in Japanese school, the teacher would say, “Scissors”. Then we would reply, “Hasami”. In this way, the Japanese word is always connected to an English word. Somehow this seems incorrect and I think there has to be better ways to learn languages. Nonetheless, I am studying a lot. Studying verbs, nouns, conjugations and Kanji.

New friends at church. A broken bag and heels. 

Yesterday was Sunday and my co-workers had allowed me enough time to go to church. A few weeks back, a missionary family to Japan visited with my family and I in LA. When I told them about my upcoming trip, they suggested I get in touch with the pastor of this church. It was such a God thing because I had been looking for one, and they happen to know this pastor very well. I used the navigation on my cellphone to find my way there. It was a 30 minute walk and about 8 minutes in, I heard a “Konnichiwa” from a car behind me. Sure enough, it was the pastor himself. He offered me a ride and I was happy to get a chance to get to know him. It turns out he has partnered with Evergreen – a church close to home where a lot of my friends attend. He says that many groups come to visit from Evergreen. Before church started, I met his lovely wife and some other church members. For whatever reason, Japanese names come into one ear and leave through the other. That is something I need to work on. I met the church’s oldest member, a lady who is 99 years old. I realized then that she was the oldest person I’d ever met. Church went longer than I thought it would, so my trip back to the office was more of a run-walk. I had the privilege of walking alongside the city’s main lake, Sakura lake. In the Spring, the lake’s trees are blooming with Sakura (cherry blossoms). As I was walking I noticed my heel’s buckle tearing. Then, snap! It was broken. I had to walk funny in order to keep that shoe on my foot. A few steps later, my purse’s strap snapped. I was a peculiar sight – foreigner walking very quickly with frizzy hair, a limp, and holding her purse with her arms. I made it to work with enough time to grab lunch at the store nearby. After work I stopped by the grocery store and limped all the way home. Like I said, this trip has been a dream so far. I know it is only because the Lord has gone before me. It is evident that he is working on my behalf. I can do nothing to receive this kindness, but I can thank him, I can serve him, obey him and listen to him. I am His.