Weekly/Bi-weekly Report (Japan)

Weekly/Bi-weekly Report (Japan) #2

January 11, 2018

I know this is not a weekly report but a lot of stuff is going on almost every day. But, in another week or so, things will start to calm down and my reports will be more of a weekly/bi-weekly thing. But for the meantime, I’m trying to post what has been happening from last week.

Getting lost in Ichinoseki

CIMG9684Stephanie gave me directions with landmarks on how to get to Morioka Station.  There were pretty simple and I was able to find my way there.  I got to the train station around 11 am.  I didn’t know I would get there so early.  I booked my ticket to Ichinoseki and back so I didn’t have to wait in line to get my ticket back to Morioka.  Then I just walked around the station and looked at the different shops that they have.  Once it was time for me to go, on got to my platform and waited for the local train.  It was going to be an hour and a half before I get there.  Tadashi drew me a map and I told him I needed to know the exit name or number or I’m going to get lost.  He told me I could take exit East or South and that should take me to the main entrance.  He told me after I leave the main entrance I need to go straight and I should see a traffic light.  After the light go straight and the school should be on the left.  It seemed like simple directions.  I shouldn’t have any problems.  That’s what I thought anyway.

After I arrived at the Ichinoseki Station, I took the East Exit like Tadashi said to take.  The crowd started to thin out and I didn’t see many people there.  I went through the gate and I asked the conductor if this was the main entrance and he said yes.  I kept going till I hit the exit and I saw taxi cars, a car parking lot and a bicycle parking lot.  I didn’t see many people there but I kept going straight like Tadashi said to do.  After I got to the first light, I couldn’t go straight anymore.  I could only go left or right.  I figured I must have turned myself around somehow.   I decided to head back to the station and try the other road.  I went straight and there wasn’t a light but I looked to my left and I saw a traffic light.  I headed down there.  It was a four-way area and I kept going straight.  I passed a 7/11 and a gas station.  I went straight for a little bit because Tadashi said the school wasn’t far from the traffic light.  I didn’t see any school so I headed back to the traffic light.  This time I turned left and went straight again tell I hit another traffic light.  It was the traffic light that I saw before that leads to the train station.  I turned around and went back to the traffic light again next to 7/11.  This time I went straight and passed the gas station and a few supermarkets.  Still, I didn’t see the school.

This 7/11 is in Morioka.

I went back to 7/11 since I can get Wi-Fi there and contacted Maggie.  By then it has been a little over an hour and I still couldn’t find the school.  I was getting frustrated and hunger.  While I was trying to type Maggie, I was trying to dig out my train ticket with the name, “Ichinoseki” because I didn’t know how to spell it and I wanted to spell it correctly.  During this process, I ended up dropping my phone on the cement.  My phone hit the edge of the cement and then it fell flat.  Luckily, it only cracked on the corner and a big line going across my screen.  I can still use it no problem.  But now I have to find a new phone because the edge of my phone is sharp and I’m going to cut myself sooner or later with it.  After I was done e-mailing Maggie, I went inside to grab a snake or I was going to kill something.  It didn’t take Maggie long to reply and she told me she has been calling Susan and Stephanie and asking where I was at and she was very worried about me.  Then I get a message from Stephanie asking where I was at.  She thought I was still in Morioka.  I told her I didn’t have a problem finding the train station in Morioka, I just got lost in Ichinoseki and couldn’t find the school yet.  In Maggie’s e-mail, she told me to stay at 7/11 and Susan would come and get me.  Well, come to find out, Susan didn’t know where 7/11 was and said there isn’t a 7/11 near the school.  Then how am I using the internet if I’m not at 7/11 then?  The train station doesn’t have internet some Wi-Fi places want you to have a credit card to use there Wi-Fi.  7/11 was my only option.  Then Maggie asked Stephanie to tell me to go back to the train station and Susan will meet me at the ticket booth.

Back to the Train Station

After I bought my snacks, I headed back to the train station.  I went through the same doors that I exited from.  I went to the ticket booth and I didn’t see anyone there.  Then I started wounding if I was in the back of the station the whole time.  I was trying to find another way to get to the front of the station but they didn’t have any hallways going to the front unless I go back outside and go around the station.  That will take too long and Susan is probably waiting for me.  Probably upset too because I know she has things to do and this is her break time.  I didn’t want to use my ticket again because that will mess up the ticket when I still need to use it tonight.  I tried to see if I could pass through the gate on the left side.  There isn’t a machine there and you can just walk right through but you need to talk to the staff first.  The staff wasn’t paying attention and I just walked right through.  I went to the plot form again where I got off from and found the exit that said, ‘west exit’.  I went in that direction and that took me to the main gate.  I went through the gate that had the staff there and they didn’t notice me either and I just walked on through.  Susan was standing there waiging for me.   I recognized her from my skype interview but she didn’t seem to recognize me too well.  I went to her and introduce myself and I asked if she was Susan and she said yes.   It was going to be a long day.

End of the day

It was a long afternoon and evening and I was happy for it to be over and couldn’t wait to get back to my place.  After my training was done I had to rush back to the train station.  Luckily, Susan got permission from Maggie to let me leave 10 minutes early to catch the train back to Morioka.  Susan’s last class didn’t end tell 9:05 pm. and the train leaves at 9:15 pm.  I got to the train station on time and got to my platform.  I managed to get some sleep on the train but it was pretty busy on the way back and I couldn’t sleep much.  I was so happy to be home and finally get to sleep in my bed.  The day was over and tomorrow is a new day.

It was a rough day but things will get better soon.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy the read.  More to come.  Stephanie takes me to a pub, what happed at church and what happens when you use too much power in your place in Japan?  Coming soon.

Morioka, Japan

Weekly/Bi-weekly Report (Japan) #1

January 8, 2018
I’m starting something new here. This will just be an update of my up and down struggles of moving to a new country and how some days it can be great and some days, it’s a struggle. For example, just taking out the trash can be difficult if you don’t know how it’s done that country. Or what if the power goes out. You know what to do in your own country or other countries that you have been too, but this is a new country with different rules on how to do things in your day to day life.
It’s only been over a week and I already had a few up and downs. Just trying to figure out how things work in Japan and trying to find my way around. I’ve gotten lost a few times but manage to find my way. When I get lost I remember things better that way. If someone is taking me to these places, I won’t remember it to well. I have to do it myself if I want the information to stick. The first few days it was the holiday and school was closed during that time. I didn’t start work until January 4th. (On my birthday). I took this time just to figure out where things were at. For example, I don’t have internet right now, so I had to find Starbucks first and get a hold of my family and friends to let them know I’m ok.

Finding Starbucks


My boss Maggie told me that I need to take a right at the Catholic Church near my home and just keep going straight passing Dori shopping street and turn left again and Starbucks should be right there. Well, I turned right at the Catholic Church and went straight tell I passed Dori shopping street. Then I turn left and I couldn’t find Starbucks. I didn’t know what I did wrong. So I walked around for a little bit and found a 7/11 and used there Wi-Fi. I got directions from that and still manage to keep turning myself around. About an hour later I finally found Starbucks. It turns out I needed to keep going straight and Starbucks was connected to a hotel. I didn’t need to turn left on a road like I originally thought. Starbucks was on my left. If I would have just kept walking straight I would have run right into it. Love getting lost. But I learned where it was really quick that way and I haven’t gotten lost trying to find Starbucks since.
I’ve been living in Starbucks for most of the holiday. Just working on my blog and trying to get directions to places for later on. I was pretty much settled into my new place and didn’t have much to do. During New Year’s Eve, I got lost again trying to find a temple but that is on another blog if you want to read about that. I haven’t met Stephanie yet. She lives underneath my apartment and her parents were in town. I tried ringing her doorbell once but she wasn’t home. I was able to figure out the washing machine. I just had to push the power button and push start. It was the same type of style as the washing machines back in Taiwan. The settings are all seat up and I just have to push two buttons and I’m set. I still have to hang my clothes to dry but the only problem with this is the cold weather. It’s too cold to hang the clothes outside and I have two separate doors to my place. The washing machine is near the front door and it’s too cold to hang them there. I need to hang them inside, near my heater so they can dry. I only have one heater. At first, I was able to just hang the clothes in the spare closet since not all my clothes have arrived yet. But now my clothes have arrived, I don’t have any room to hang them. I’m going to have to get one of those long current rods. Or get one of those drying racks but those are usually pretty big and I don’t know where I would place it when I’m not using it. But for now, I will try the current rode first and see how it works.

Time to Start My New Job
January 4th finally came around and it was time for me to start my two-week training. My first day was with Stephanie. She works in the school that is in walking distance from our home. My boss e-mailed me the day before letting me know that her husband will be dropping off my boxes at my place in the morning and we would be going to City Hall to get me registered, then go to the post office and apply for my bank cards again, and he will drop me off at the school. Tadashi (Maggie’s husband) came around 10 am and I helped him on getting my boxes out of the car. There is a cart next to the elevator that anyone could use and we used that to get my boxes up to my apartment. So grateful for an elevator. After we got all the boxes up, he took me to City Hall first. Tadashi English was pretty good and we talked a little bit. It took about 30 minutes or so to get all my documents done at City Hall. We didn’t have any problems. Lucky for me. Then we CIMG9654headed to the Post Office. This time, everything went smoothly. I handed them the paperwork that I filled out last time and just had to do a lot of waiting. There was one thing that I found interesting. I had to sign my name in a box on the paperwork. My last name is pretty long and I went out of the box line just a little bit. He had to get a new piece of paper and told me I had to stay in the box. This time I stayed in the box and then I saw him take his ruler out and measured my name. I found that so bazaar and didn’t know why he had to measure it. Maybe there some rule about the size of my signature. I don’t really know. Anyway, other than that, everything else went smoothly and I had to wait for about one or two weeks to get my bank card. I will get a letter in the mail letting me know that I can pick it up.
After all that, Tadashi took me to the school and gave me my schedule for the week. I was going to observe Stephanie for the rest of the day and tomorrow I had to get to Ichinoseki and go to the other school and be trained by Susan. I have to leave by train at 12:08 and arrive at 1:37 pm. Then I will catch the last train to Morioka at 9:15 pm. and arrive at Morioka Station around 10:47 pm. On Saturday I will be training with Stephanie again at 8:30 am. Tell 5:30 pm. Saturday is going to be long, tiring day. I will need lots of coffee that day. Because I’m still walking on foot and because of this it will take me 20 minutes to walk to the train station and back. I might not be able to go to bed till midnight and then get up at 6 am. to get around for work. It’s going to be long three days.
I’m going to skip over the boring part of the observation and just talk about what happened after work. We closed up the school and we walked home together. I started asking her about how to take out the trash and recycle and how to separate them. In Taiwan, depending on where you live, you have to stand outside in a certain area and wait for the trash truck and recycling truck to come. Sometimes they come late and you might be standing out there longer than normal. Or in America, depending on where you live, you just put all your trash in a bag and take it to your trash bin and take out the trash bin the day before the trash truck comes. Here, in Japan, it’s also different. Stephanie told me that she wasn’t sure on how to separate the recycle besides what the pictures say on our kitchen wall. In both of our kitchen, there is a picture on how to separate the recycles and what days they need to be put out on. It’s all in Japanese so I have no clue what it says or if I’m even doing it right.

P_20180103_143433She said she is not too sure because she was living in Akita and the way they handled the trash and recycles are different there. But she was able to tell me what days the trash truck comes and plastic pick up comes. She also showed me where to put the recycles and trash. We have to go down one street and there is a metal cabinet that you need to open and put the trash on the button shelf and put the recycles on the top shelf. It’s best to do it the night before because they come sometime in the morning and you don’t want to miss them. After that, we got to our apartment building and went to our rooms. It was a long day, but I learned a lot. Now, I have a long day on trying to find the other school in Ichinoseki.

Do you want to hear how I might have gotten lost trying to get to the other school? Or how did my first day at a new church went? Well, that I will have to wait for another time. Maybe tomorrow if I can make it to Starbucks before work. Hope you enjoyed the story of my life so far. Talk to everyone soon.

Morioka, Japan

New Year’s Eve Night in Morioka, Japan

December 31st, 2017

My Orginal Plan

On December 31st, on New Year’s Eve, I had no plans to do anything.  Just chilling out at Starbucks, drinking my coffee.   Typing away on my laptop.  Trying to catch up on my blog, and I didn’t have any friends yet in Morioka.  It also didn’t help that I hate the cold.  If I could hibernat all winter I would.  I like to explore new places in warmer weather.  Then, I received an e-mail from my boss.
She wished me a happy New Year’s Eve and told me I could go to Hachimangu Shrine. She said that is where everyone goes to celebrate the New Year’s and I should go for the cultural experience. I would have to take Odori (main shopping strip) and it would be about 40 minutes to an hour walk in the snow. The shopping strip was not far from my home and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to walk an hour in the snow. I decided to think about it and just keep working on my blog. My laptop battery died and I decided to leave Starbucks. Starbucks has some sort of covering over there plugs so you can’t stay at Starbucks all day on your laptop or phone. Very smart of them on their part if you don’t want people to be sitting around all day. (I realized later that the main table in Starbucks has plugs underneath the table. They’re not very noticeable if you’re not looking for it. I was always looking for plugs on the walls, not underneath tables). I headed to 7-ll, grabbed some food to heat up back at my apartment and left.

New Plan
Once I got back home, I ate my dinner and started working on my blog some more.  I was still debating in my head if I want to brace the cold for over two hours. One hour to the shrine and one hour back and who knows how long I will be there for. Do I really want to be out in the cold that long? I can’t decide. So I waited for about 9:30 pm. and decided I will try to get to the shrine and hopefully not get lost along the way. I left around 10 pm. and when I open the door I saw that it has been snowing for some time now. There was about an inch of snow on the ground and everything was covered in snow. I haven’t seen this in a long time and it actually looked beautiful to me. Usually, it doesn’t and I hate snow but here in Japan, it looks beautiful. I took some photos outside my place before I left for my long walk.

The Long Walk

I walked down my street tell I had to turn left. I walked down for a little bit and had to walk pass Odori shopping area. I wanted to get directions from GoogleMaps before I went any further. 7/11 has free WiFi but they don’t have any chairs or tables for you to seat at. Probably so that no one can stay too long and just use the WiFi all day. I stood outside the store to get direction. It looked pretty far, just like Maggie said, but I believe I could do it. I screenshot the directions and got back to Odori Shopping strip. I turned left first hoping that was the right way. Maggie said there would be a lot of people coming and going from the shrine, but I only saw people coming out of bars and KTV’s really drunk. Or families that were going back to their car with shopping bags. They were on both sides of the shopping strip. It was about 15 minutes before I realized that I turned the wrong way. I saw an old Temple/Shrine and it was pretty dark in that area and no one was really around.  I don’t remember seeing this old Temple/shrine on GoogleMaps and Maggie said I just needed to go straight the whole time and I should run into the shrine. I turned around and started walking the other direction. (Turns out, I was going the right direction.  I had to go around theTemple/Shrine and walk another 30 mintues.) While walking through the shopping strip, that is where I would see the most people at. Most of them being drunks and talking pretty load. I was feeling a bit uncomfortable because I was walking by myself, and I was told I should stay away from drunk men on the street. There were a lot of drunk men that were together with there friends.  Luckily, they didn’t bother me, but I still felt uncomfortable.

I kept walking for about 30 minutes and I came across a bridge. I remember this bridge because Maggie went over the bridge when she picked me up from the Morioka Station. I must be pretty close to the station then.
I kept walking, hoping I was close to the shrine. I found an interesting silhouette on a rolling gate. It was a silhouette of a ballerina posing with a chair next to her. It was beautiful. I took a few pictures of this and a selfie. To show how bundled up I am.

(Just Keep Swimming  Dora Tune)  Just keep walking, just keep walking, just keep walking, walking, walking.  Its so cold!!  I think I will only walk for a little bit longer and then I will call it a night and head back to my place.  As I was walking, I found another interesting display outside a shop.  This shop had a statue of a penguin on top of a sign, a pumpkin, some lights, plants, a Ferris wheel, and some other odd and neat things.
As you can see, my walk was a little bit eventful. I kept walking for a little bit longer. There weren’t many people on the street now and I felt very unsafe. I don’t like to be in areas where there aren’t many people around including where there are quite a few drunks out. I decided to head back because I felt unsafe and figured I probably miss most of the event anyway. As I was walking back I found out the clock said 11:40 pm. I defiantly miss a lot of things by now. I stayed on the main street that I have been using the whole time and got back to the shopping area. I had to turn left and keep going.  I passed a few convent stores and knew I was going the right direction back home.
Once I got to my apartment, I changed out of my wet clothes and crawled into bed with my three heavy blankets on top of me. I even turned on my heater for about an hour before I turn it off. I thought I would have heard fireworks by now, but I guess fireworks isn’t a thing here. Then finally sleep came over me and I was passed out.
Hope you enjoy the read. Sorry, that I didn’t do too much on New Year’s Eve. I will try to keep posting things when I have time. Please follow me if you like my blog and if you enjoy the pictures you can see more pictures of my adventures on Instagram or my Facebook page. Have a great New Year.