getting to know you~ ♪

8 Aug

Kiryu~My first full day in Kiryu was a long but productive one.  I was picked up at my apartment at 9 am to go to the shiyakusho for more paperwork– papers for the school, papers so that we don’t have to pay Japanese taxes, papers for bank accounts, all sorts of papers.  The day prior, we had received our hanko, or stamps with our names that the Japanese use instead of a signature, so we were able to do all our official paperwork in the morning!  Than, after that, we headed to a home supply store to get started furnishing our new apartments.  The store was in Umeda, close to one of the new ALT’s apartments and rather far to the north of central Kiryu, so there were some really beautiful views of mountains along the way, to make up for the longer drive.

Since my predecessor stayed in Japan, it seems as if she kept a lot of her belongings, unlike many returning JETs, who can’t bring their Japanese apartment furnishing back to their home countries.  As a result, I had a lot to buy, and felt bad constantly being the one asking people to help me carry futons and large shelves and things.  However, in order to even begin to be able to organize my things, I needed a lot of stuff, and so I apologized profusely to my supervisor, who was amazing and carried all of the large items for me.  I also picked up some poster tack– I had been wanting to be able to make the place feel like my own, and what better way than to hang my plethora of posters?  After moving in, I’m always dying to make my new space feel like home, and this was at least another step along the way.

delicious raw fish~After the home goods store, we were brought to a Japanese restaurant!  The lunch specials were somewhat limited, but luckily for me, there was a maguro don option– raw tuna sashimi on a bowl of rice, yum!  It came with miso soup, and it was delicious, if a bit on the pricy end.  After eating American sashimi for the past year and a half, which is all right but definitely not great, the maguro was really amazing, and maybe if I’m feeling rich, I’ll go back to that place.  But first, I need to check out the kaitenzushi or “conveyor belt sushi” in the area and see if there are some cheaper options!

From lunch, we headed back to the shiyakusho to set up our bank accounts so that we can be paid!  Then, we headed out again, this time for the bike shop!  In a small city like Kiryu with relatively little public transportation, either a bike or a car is a necessity, and since I didn’t want to pay for insurance or go through the difficult process of obtaining a Japanese driver’s license after my international driver’s permit runs out (not to mention putting down the cost of a car!), I obviously went with the bike option.  S was lucky enough to have the bike her predecessor left, but my and another new ALT’s predecessor’s bikes were so old that our supervisor didn’t think it would be wise for us to continue to use them.  So we headed to the bike shop!  I ended up with a silver bike (despite my desire for pink, sad) that I’ll have to learn to ride while dodging small children, pedestrians, other bikes, stray animals, cars, and other hazards of biking in real life, not just for fun…

After that, we hit the electronics store!  I needed a water heater and a vacuum cleaner, but my main personal goal was a TV!  There a large variety of Japanese television shows that I like to watch, and I’ve been waiting to be in Japan where I can actually watch them on a TV, rather than through Keyhole TV.  A friend of my supervisor helped me get it, and even haggled the price down somewhat, hooray!  Since buying the TV, I’ve had a few trials and tribulations trying to get it set up, but finally, I can watch all dramas and variety shows that I want!

The electronics store was all the way on the other side of town, so we got to see more views of Kiryu on the way.  Kiryu is in a valley, so we’re surrounded by mountains, something that currently marvels and amazes me every time I go outside (though I’m sure the newness will wear off eventually…) and it looks really pretty on the horizon.  I also started to begin to get my bearings since we were driving all over town, though I still have a relatively narrow range of knowledge.  Still, it was good to get to see the city, but after the electronics store, it was late, and we were taken home again.  Less tired this time, I took a look out my balcony and my front door, and was really amazed by the views around my 5th floor apartment.  Despite being fairly small and a little far from the Tokyo metropolis, Kiryu is a really beautiful city, and I’m looking forward to beginning this chapter of my life here.

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