Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What a Week: Orientation, Festivals, and One Piece

((Written on August 18, 2013))

So I don’t have any Internet, and as appealing as it is to try to update my blog on my smartphone, I think I’ll pass. I could also hike it over to Starbucks to use their wifi (which if this Internet doesn’t appear in the next week or so I’ll have to for getting pictures) but at the moment I just feel like sitting.

So there has been many an adventure this week. The apartment is slowly turning into my own: I bought a million puzzles to complete (Disney, Kirby, One Piece, you know) and hang up on the wall. My plain walls are mocking me right now, and this needs to be remedied. I got a lovely kotatsu from a friend who is leaving (we carried it together across town; just as hilarious as dragging my kitchen counter on my bike I assure you). So I am slowly going on little shopping trips to get everything I need to actually be finished “setting up” my apartment. It’s taking a while.

Oh yes. What’s a kotatsu you ask? A table. But it is an awesome table that during the winter you can take the top off and affix a blanket to it, so when it’s freezing and your apartment has no insulation, you turn the heater on that’s on the bottom of the table and you are no longer freezing. ^.^

Because the students are on summer holiday (August and part of July), us ALTs go to the Board of Education and do…random things. This past week was orientation, so there was lots to plan and practice and learn and information. Lots of information. From Tokyo and from here. The next important thing is planning my self-introduction lesson for when I go to school in the beginning of September. Hence the need to arrange my pictures, for which I need Internet.

Speaking of Internet. Why do I not have it immediately? They have to come set it up, and so we must arrange a time for them to come set it up. However, apparently (I think it’s because I’m on the 6th floor) they need permission to come set mine up from my maintenance people at my building before we can even do that. And then they have to come see if they can even set it up at all, because 6th floor. If not, then I have to sign up for a different kind of Internet, and the whole damn process starts over again.

Sidebar about the Internet (and cell phone, and everything pretty much along those lines). It’s very different here in that when I signed up for my phone, the only thing I paid for was my screen protector. The cost of the phone goes in with my monthly payments. Same thing with Internet, no upfront costs. They also come with this pile of extra crap to pay for that you really don’t need (services on the phone and Internet) that are free for so long and they bank on you not cancelling them. So I have this list in my notebook of what to cancel when and where. It’s very frustrating.

So no Internet means I’ve been doing fun stuff right? Right! Yay! In summer, there are many festivals. Last week happened to be the Obon festival (which meant more delays for Internet as well). So I went to many a place to celebrate summer festivals! On Wednesday, some friends and I went to Yaizu for their fireworks show, which was an hour straight of some pretty awesome fireworks. I managed to get a couple awesome pictures. It was super crowded, and we almost didn’t find a seat, but we managed it. Got a little lost walking back to the station, but that just meant it was easier for us to get on a train to go home.

Next my friend Sam and I went on Thursday to the Obon festivities at a shrine by my house. Obon is typically a Buddhist celebration, so Shinto shrines do not usually celebrate, but Yunoki Shrine is a shrine to protect the people of Shizuoka (it’s a memorial for those that died protecting Shizuoka during WWII) so they celebrate. This is the day that I took an hour or so figuring out how to wear the yukata that I got on discount the weekend before. Tying the belt is very difficult, but I think I did a decent job. One typically wears yukata (like a cotton kimono) to summer festivals=perfect occasion. Obon is a dancing festival, so there was much dancing and performances and of course, food. There were also hundreds of beautiful lanterns lit up on the shrine grounds. Many pictures. There was also a dance at this festival where people were encouraged to join in as they danced in a circle around the people sitting in front of the stage. We were invited twice before we finished what we were drinking and joined in the next time they invited us. These super nice older women were very helpful in teaching us the dances. I probably looked pretty hilarious trying not to accidentally launch my purse off my shoulder while dancing, but it was really fun! And we got free juice after. And even though I think I tied my obi (belt) too tightly, the yukata was very comfy.

Next on Friday there was a street festival in downtown Shizuoka that my friends and I wanted to check out. This was the day that my friend and I hauled the kotatsu down through the city to my apartment, so we got to the street fair quite late, but it was open late as well (which is like 9, but still). There was almost too much stuff to look at though, so we just headed for festival food. Mmm. Then we got good and lost exploring downtown (gotta learn where everything is somehow). Remember, “lost” in the sense that we knew we were still in the city, just getting the sense of where we were vs. where we wanted to be and the best way to get there.

And yesterday was the One Piece. I posted that poster on Facebook that I couldn’t read about the One Piece Grand Arena Tour. I knew that it was until today, but not where or what it was. Luckily, I recently made a friend who also likes One Piece, and together we ventured to the awesomeness. It was a walkthrough not unlike the one I went to in Hirakata Park, except this one was updated and…awesome. It was a walkthrough of the story up to the current story in the anime, which is further than the other went. Many things to take pictures with and have a good time. At the end there was a place you could get your picture imposed into a picture of the crew or the Wanted poster (my friend and I opted for the crew). It was a long wait, but absolutely worth it. The shop was a bit odd in the fact that you waited in line and told the cashier what you wanted from the poster and she brought it up for you. I spent less money than I thought I would ;D I am excited to show all of my pictures!

Also yesterday I got lost after picking up my bank stuff from the Post Office, but it’s really impossible to be totally lost with a smart phone. Because then I found the store I wanted (Loft) and fought through the street fair people to get in the store with little trouble. Thanks phone. I did however, accidentally try to buy the sample planner instead of one for sale. Gold star for me. I also bought a bento (lunch box), so hopefully I’ll get my cooking act together and stop having to go buy lunch every day at work! Yay! Then, that night, my friend Emiko and I went to see the new Ghibli movie in theaters. Which was all Japanese, but I got the important gist of it. It was very good, and I am very excited to see it with subtitles in which I could understand all of it.

So it’s been quite busy! And because we worked on Obon, I get 3 extra days off I have to use before August ends. Yay! However, I am going to visit my school for a few hours (starting this Friday) random days before school starts to help a student with the Speech Contest, a big deal in Junior High here. Which I am very excited for, but it makes taking time off creative. So I am taking Tues and Wed off this week (Monday is a half day, so why bother lol) And then next Monday. It’s also a half day, but I know I’m not going to want to move that Monday. Why you ask? This weekend my friend and I are going with a big group of JETs to climb Mt. Fuji. So no moving on Monday.

Here we go!


P.S. Cookies and Cream Kit Kats. Mmmmmmmmmm

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you are settling in. Whats your next item to haul across town?! Is there Utube in Japan? I know there is lol. Love ya!