Weekly/Bi-weekly Report (Japan)

Weekly/Bi-weekly Report (Japan) #4

January 15th, 2018

Cell Phone (maybe)

If I keep hoping and wishing, my dream will come true on getting a contract with a phone company and having internet again.  I keep hoping anyway.  I went inside Kojima and went up the escalators.  I turned left and starting looking at the phones.  I was able to find a staff member to help me out.  She didn’t know any English but she used an app and we managed.  When she realized I wanted a contract she went a got another staff member to help me.  This guy was with SoftBank.  He was about my height and was wearing his dress pants with his white dress shirt with a black and white jacket on that said SoftBank across it.  He had a mask on and was wearing his glass.  He knew very little English but he used an app on his cell phone.  He understood that I wanted a phone and contract.  We went to the desk and we started working things out.  Took about an hour on translation issues and trying to figure out what the other person is trying to say but we got by.  But then, he was about to get the contract until he was told their company is not allowed to sign contracts to foreigners.  I was so sad.  We spent about an hour trying to figure this whole thing out just to be told I can’t do it.  I was disappointed again.  Another company that can’t take me.  But then he had an idea.  He asked if it was ok if he goes and asks a different phone company if they can have a foreigner on their contract?  I said ok, and he went and asked.  He comes back and tells me they are allowed to have a foreigner on the contracts and it can be for one year.  I was happy.  I can finally get a phone with internet.  They called the operator that knew English that could talk with me, step-by-step, and try to get what I want with this company in English.  But then she asked me if I had a Japan bank card?  I had to tell her no and that I was still waiting on that.  She said I need the bank card to get my contract.  I was sad but at the same time, I finally found a company that will sign me.  I just need my bank card and then I will have to go back and try again.

Power Goes Out

Moving on to Monday, I had to get up around 7 am. and get to Starbucks close to 9 am.  Because today is the day that I should get my tax money back from Taiwan but I need to help out my friend back in Taiwan to transfer it over.  I got up around 7 am, took a shower, and had some coffee.  I had my heater going and still needed to dry my hair.  I turned on the blow dryer and it wasn’t long after I was trying to dry my hair that the power went out.  I started to panic just a little.  I started wounding if I paid my bill, I haven’t gotten a bill yet, did the whole apartment loose power, is it just my room, what do I need to do when you lose power?  So many questions were going through my mind.  I decided to get some warm clothes on and do my makeup and head down to the fourth floor to see Stephanie.  It was about 8:30 am now and I hope Stephanie is already awake.  I would hate to wake her up.  Luckily, she was already awake.  She was in her PJ’s when she opened the door.  I asked her if she still had power and she said yes she did and then I asked her, “What do I need to do if I lose power?  I don’t know what I did wrong?”  She told me that I need to turn the breaker back on.  She said it’s very likely that the power turned off because I was using too much.  I didn’t know that the power will shut off if you used too much.  Now that is something that I have to be more aware of now.  I was grateful that Stephanie was awake and was able to help me with this.  She showed me where the breakers are and to make sure all the switches were up.  I thanked her and I went back to my apartment.  I looked at the breaker box and there was on leaver that was down.  I pushed the lever back up and my power came back on.  I made sure to unplug any appliances that I wasn’t using.  I started thinking back to my friend Andrea back in America and how she would always unplug any appliances that she wasn’t using just to save power.  Now I’m forced to always think about this too. I found out later from Maggie, that there is a limitation on how much electric you can be using all at once.  If you go over that limit, the power will go out.  I’m glad I found that out.

At less, my morning hasn’t been all that bad.  I got to see the whole mountain of Mt. Iwate without the clouds covering it up and at Starbucks today, I got extra coffee.  They were handing out samples of two different kinds of coffee.  She was speaking all in Japanese but I’m always up for free coffee.  The coffee was so good too!!  Yum!!

No Hot Water!!

The next morning, I got up early to get around for work like normal. I started the shower and had to let it run for five minutes because the water is ice cold for the first few minutes. When I came back to the bathroom to check on the water, the water was still ice cold. I thought maybe I didn’t wait long enough so I waited for another five minutes. Still, it was only ice cold water coming out of my shower. I decided to give up on the shower because I didn’t want to wast any more water than I already have, and I would just ask my boss about it. I had to get more training done and my boss would be at work today. I didn’t want to bother Stephanie again since it was 8 am. Stephanie does have to be at work until 10 or 11 am on most days.
While I was drinking some hot coffee to warm myself up this morning, I remember the gas guy saying something about what I should do if the power goes out. He said something about how I need to turn the gas back on. But I didn’t remember how to do that. He showed me two machines that he told me not to touch. One of them was inside my home.


Another one was outside my front door on the wall. He told me to never touch them unless the power goes out. I can’t remember which one I need to open or what to do with them. I was afraid I might mess something up.

When I got to my training, I asked Maggie about the hot water and she said she would have her husband call the gas guy for me. A little bit later, Maggie comes back and tells me that the gas guy wants to know if there is hot water coming out of the faucet? I told her I haven’t checked it yet and I would have to do that when I get back home that night. The gas guy said he won’t be able to come out and he would just try to tell me what to do through my boss. At this rate, it might take a few days before I have hot water again.

Once I was at the train station, I started to check other Wi-Fi networks. Every time I would check, I could never find a free Wi-Fi network I could use. But then I checked a Wi-Fi network that had a lot of numbers in it and just clicked on that. Then, I was able to get connected to the internet. I was very happy, that I can now get Wi-Fi at the train station. I never thought to check the network that had only numbers in it. I was only clicking on networks that said free Wi-Fi or just Wi-Fi with some company name attached to it. I got a hold of Stephanie and told her about my water problem. She said I need to open the door that was inside my home, next to the bathroom door and just push the power button. I did try that door this morning but I couldn’t get it open. I told her about that and she recommend to pull harder on the door and it might just be jammed. I told her I would do that once I got back home. But I had another problem. The train was running 34 minutes late and I wouldn’t get home till midnight.


Even though I was told that it was rare for trains to run late but it was snowing outside. The reason for the train being late was in Japanese and I just translated the part with google translate about how long the train was running late for. I wanted to make sure that number 34 that I saw on the screen means 34 minutes late. It that is exactly what it said. The train was supposed to come at 9:37 pm. but the train came at 10:14 pm. and I didn’t arrive back to Morioka till 11:30 pm. It took me 30 minutes to walk home because of the heavy snowfall and I had to be careful on not to slip.
Witness my first car accident in Morioka

On my way home, I got to witness a car accident. that was fun let me tell you. There weren’t many cars on the road and the roads were pretty slick. I was about to past the post office and I notice two cars just sitting there in the street. They were close to the curb but that curb area was not a parking area and I didn’t know why they were there. Then a taxi was slowly driving and he slammed on his brakes and sled to the side of the road and hit the guardrail right behind the other car. As I walked past the accident I notice that the taxi car had a dint on the side of it and so did the guardrail. I didn’t think he was going that fast. Anyway, everyone seemed ok. The other car that was already sitting there, the driver got out of his car to check on the taxi driver. I figured I’m probably not needed and just proceeded to walk home.

P_20180111_205851When I finally got home I tried what Stephani recommended and managed to open the metal box that was next to my bathroom. There are three buttons on the machines and it was all in Japanese.  I just did the process of elimination and just hopped for the best and I don’t screw it up. I tried the middle button first and that seemed to work but a red number 2 came up on the screen. The gas guy said that the screen should read 50 and that is how hot the water will be. (50C not 50F.) I tried the third button and that got the screen to say 50C. I tried to see if there was hot water from the faucet and I had hot water again. Hurry!!!! I can take a nice hot shower tomorrow morning. I’m so happy. Now its time to go to bed and prepare for another crazy day that I hope becomes normal and less stressful soon.

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.