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.