Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Staring up at the Stars

Okay, so things are beginning to look up! Not to say that I'm still not missing Frannie. Definitely am. She was a good cat. But at least now I have heat, hot water, and while I missed my futon again, this is highly mitigated first by my initial wanderings, which yielded toilet paper (nothing says brighter day like toilet paper!), Pantene Pro-V conditioner and shampoo for damaged hair, not WOC, but close, and Pantene is dirt cheap here too, go figure. Also some lovely photographs. The second mitigating factor which is highly exciting is Charlene at Altia telling me about the Jusco store, a wonderful superstore filled with a cornucopia of cheap but reasonable quality goods--kind of like a crossover between a K-Mart and Target. I got a soft, large floor rug that I'm going to use as my bed tonight, some hand towels, a cross between a pot and a frying pan (good for both), a spatula, a new watch (hopefully it works), some hand towels, a large towel for showering, a blanket and a half body pillow, all for under 7,000 yen (approx $70-75). There was also a Kusuri store next door (a drugstore, I'm guessing) that had shumai and a dozen brown eggs for dirt cheap. So even though I'm going to be a bit uncomfortable tonight, it's going to be nothing like last night.

My mom and I also had a deep and long conversation about Frannie. We both, of course, feel terrible, overwhelmed, crying, etc, but we were able to talk for an hour and comfort each other. We agreed that it's been an incredibly rough start for both of us with my going to Japan. She's had the cat crisis, plus other problems, and I've had the apartment crisis, the losing a cat, etc. But I think the next 24 hours will look up for her as they are looking up for me. I am also quite happy with myself today in regards to using Japanese. Though I'm still a neophyte, for certain, I can tell my accent is getting better, and I am able to more naturally ask for and about things (especially if they have to do with directions). I caught my first Japanese bus today to get to the Jusco and was able to get the last bus in. I'm still not conversational, but if it has to do with getting from point A to point B, buying stuff, and the like, my skills are growing fast. I also managed a good sounding “oishii” (it's delicious) today at the restaurant where I bought a delicious (though a bit overwhelming on the cheese sauce) rice donburi. I could tell I got it right because the waitress had a slightly different tone to her voice when she said “arigatou gozaimasu.”

Wandering around Toyota City today, especially taking the new step into the Japanese bus system, has really made me love my new city, or at least my little corner of it. This is a good place, and I'm looking forward to learning more about it as I branch out in my explorations. Though for tomorrow that will have to wait until after my futon arrives.

Having just returned from another fun filled hour of Karaoke, my spirits are much better. I did another solo run, this time at the other Karaoke place that's about a block away from where I went yesterday. I'm not sure what either place is called, but I will say in spite of the fact this one was more expensive and they really weren't working hard to let you know your time was up, I still preferred this venue because their equipment and ambiance was so much better. Especially the equipment. It was sooo much easier to search for songs. Also, while there was furigana, for most of the obvious kanji like 中, 人, 自分, etc, they didn't use it, which made the reading a lot easier. Occasionally this would work against me though, as I haven't learned my Kanji in frequency order, there are still a number of common ones that I don't really know. But for the most part, I prefer the furigana for the hard stuff method to the furigana everywhere. It was a lot of fun! Also, I setup my soft mat that I bought where my futon will be, and boy it's like a four poster bed in comparison to last night! When that futon finally arrives and I am there to greet it, I'll be sleeping like on air. So I guess this sleeping on hardwood on top of a towel experience has some pluses—I can't wait to appreciate and love futon life for sure!

Glad to feel a bit less stressed, though I am exhausted from last night. My room is toasty, and I am ready to go to bed

More pictures going up on facebook soon, so check them out!