This post might feel disjointed, but if so, it does this in order to accurately reflect my state of mind. I feel very disjointed!
For the second day in a row, I’ve been asked to stay home from work. There’s been a typhoon off the coast which made it rain incessantly from Sunday through the end of yesterday. The river was higher than Caitlin, another JET in my building, has ever seen it. The vice principal told me that the transportation was “in a state of panic,” so I couldn’t take the bus in. Apparently, it’s even worse down in Ichinomiya than it is here. It’s not too bad here. The rain stopped sometimes last night, so I thought I’d get to go in today.
Yes, I said “get” to go. Although the other girls in my building say I’m lucky, I am not so sure I like it. I want to go to work so I can feel productive, even though there is not that much for me to do there. Being in the office makes me feel more compelled to do work. I will do some here, today, but I still want to explore all the materials left at my desk by previous JETs.
In my apartment, I have a lot of blank walls and appliances I don’t know how to use. Today, I did laundry (hey, I was up at 7, so why not?), and it took me a maddeningly long time of pressing random buttons to finally get the thing running. Now, I have stuff drying all over the place. The Japanese are very energy-saving conscious, and few people have clothes dryers.
Yesterday, I braved the rain to walk to the local video rental store to sign up for an account. Then, I rented The Kite Runner, since I’d heard it was good, took it home, watched it, and cried about it. I fixed the mini couch and picked out a bunch of photos that I wanted to print. Some of them are for class, so I can show visuals of where I live, my family, pets, etc. Some of them are just so I can have photos around the apartment. I printed off approximately one and a half craploads of photos, so I’m set, as soon as I find a way to display them.
Today, it’s not raining, so I might get the bike out and go down to the post office and to otherwise poke around town. My apartment has neither company nor internet, so I get weird and at a loss when I’m here. Both for social stimulation, but also as a resource, I like having my fellow JETs around. I’m not sure I would be able to use the stove, without them. I have a feeling my cell phone is really cool, and can do a lot of things. But I can’t even make the little you-have-voicemail icon go away. I’ll wait til the other JETs get home from work, and ask.
I think I may also crack open the kanji workbook that was left for me. I can use it to review the hundred kanji I’m supposed to already know. Did I mention I’m illiterate?
Being illiterate is incredibly painful. I get notices on my door and in the mail, and I have no idea what to do. I can’t read simple instructions on the back of food packages; I made myself some instant latte drink and had to just kind of wing it and hope for the best (it turned out okay.. I’m not sure it’s that easy to screw up instant stuff). Even if all of it were written without kanji, I might be at a loss, but kanji it is, and there is so much of it, and I don’t understand anything.
I haven’t been illiterate since I was like four years old. I have begun collecting things to present to my English-speaking co-workers for help, and I keep expecting to be able to see them soon. But, as I’ve mentioned, I don’t get to go to work. Not today anyway. Four day weekend! Which would be great, if I’d known in advance, and if I had something to do other than clean my apartment again.
Which isn’t entirely true.. I do have things to do. I brought Myst III with me, for whatever reason, and I of course have things to write about for this blog. I also have Japanese to study! I even brought my Italian Rosetta Stone disks with me.. but I think I left the setup disk back home, which is silly, because I for some reason brought the power cord of my old laptop here. I have books to read, and even one to edit. I should write the self-introduction I was going to type up at work. And I can go wander around town, of course. I want to see if the river is still raging madly along, like it was yesterday, and I have written a total of one letters to send to the US. Please write me letters! It will be $0.98, I think, to send regular letter-sized mail to me.
I apologize again for the scattered nature. I’m feeling restless. I think I ought to go now.