Settling In

And now, I attempt to settle in. After work yesterday, I began opening up the boxes my predecessor, Polly, had left me. Sifting through the jetsam to find anything useful has proven to be time-consuming and I find myself wishing Polly had made a greater effort to weed out the garbage. I have no use for her knick-knacks – they were probably gifts to her and perhaps had some meaning, but to me, they’re trash. Though, they couldn’t have meant that much to her either if she left them behind.

That evening, Jo, Brent, Kurt, Maria and I hunted for someplace to eat that would accommodate the vegetarian needs of yours truly. We visited a couple of izakayas that turned us away. Wandering Ichinoseki’s small streets, we eventually wound up at a Korean restaurant named, oddly enough, Toronto. I can’t explain that one.

The emerging trend in all my meals has been the attempt to find suitable meat-free dishes. Japanese speakers and even locals have been doing their best to find food that won’t be topped with some vegetarian unfriendly fare, but inevitably, some ham finds its way onto my plate. Always ham. Odd. I suppose with their shortage of beef and the avian flu scare that ham is the best animal product to throw, unwanted, onto the gaijin’s food. I had something resembling a pizza and the ham was plentiful. We stayed and chatted a while and Sarah joined us, then Brent but he couldn’t actually stay for the meal due to his choir practice.

With bellies full, Kurt, Sarah and I strolled to Sarah’s favourite little bar (whose name, of course, I can’t remember. Yoshi runs the place and Sarah exchanges English and Japanese lessons with him. It’s a small place with about six tables and orange retro chairs. To the right, as you enter, are three turntables and, behind them, a powerbook cycling through some mp3s of ambient music and 70’s soul. The large windows at the front of the bar are, apparently, uncommon in Japan – people seem to seek some privacy in the bars. Not so at this place – any trip is likely to include some stares from outside.

We were joined by Hanna, a friend of Sarah’s, who is also a teacher in Ichinoseki. She works for GEOS and had only just completed her workday at 10 pm. She has been teaching here since January and has had a decidedly different experience from what I (or any other JET) might expect. She begins work at 10 or 11 each morning and seems to be staying to 10 each night. Her work is much more formal and, I suspect, rigorous. Sarah pointed out, however, that Hanna may see more results for her work than we do. She does seem content despite some of the difficulties of her workplace.

We walked our separate ways when we had our fill of Doritos and drinks. Sarah and I passed through the warm streets while Kurt and Hanna walked to the opposite side of town.

I think my body is still adjusting to the time difference. I stayed up a bit later than I should have then woke too early once more. It did, however, allow me to make a good dent in the boxes left and I have managed to sort my kitchen items.

I tried to have a nap – I only succeeded for a short while, but I couldn’t seem to figure out the controls for the air conditioner. Still with fogged mind, I tried to navigate Saty’s aisles by myself. Perhaps not the best idea. I managed to pick out some ‘Body Shampoo’ a.k.a. soap, spaghetti and tomato sauce as well as some more Pocari Sweat. There’s nothing like the juice of real pocaris to keep you hydrated.

I managed to cook lunch without burning the house down and only had to call Sarah once for instructions on operating the gas stove. She later guided me to some of the more useful local shops. I may join her and Hanna for dinner and a movie later this evening if I feel up to it.

Tomorrow, we plan on going to Morioka to view some of the festival there and meet Hazuki once more.

One Response to “Settling In”

  1. Fry says:

    And u’ve done it good,I see.

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