A looot has happened in the span of the last three weeks. I’ve had ups and downs and all in all I’m still very excited. But here’s a summary of the more or less major events.
1. My first encounter with Japanese medication. As I usually do, I got a cold and was bed-bond for almost a week. So, I decided to buy over the counter cold medicine. Not sure how good of an idea that was. I ended up dozing of on the coach for 2 straight days, not remembering much of who called me, what we talked, etc. Apparently, I was told that’s what cold Japanese medicine does 🙂
2. My fist GP encounter. I found an English-speaking GP and got an appointment very fast. He confirmed I didn’t have allergies, which is very common this time of year in Japan. Not convinced about this since I constantly have a runny nose. Anyway, here you get a separate medication for each of your symptoms. Before getting the prescription, I was asked for how many days do I want the treatment. I thought that was strange.
Also, you get medication only for the exact duration of your treatment. It’s a smart way to avoid waste. This is done by the pharmacist and I was really impressed.
3. My first escape pockets and kangaroo burger. As an expat living in Japan you will need every now and then to find escape pockets. What I mean with that is that you want to go to a place where you are closer to home, hear some English, meet other expats. So, this is what we did, we went to an Australian, English speaking bar and got non-japanese food 🙂
Second escape pocket was a Jazz bar that was the highlight of our week-end. We had live Jazz music and in a very cool place. Sorry for the picture quality, there’s so much you can do with a phone and a dark room 🙂
4. Passed my first wave of culture shock. We are all aware that the Japanese culture is very different from the Western one, but it doesn’t hit you until you get here. In the first days I felt so lost and confused. Whatever you read and however much you prepare, it still doesn’t measure up to the real thing.
At this point, I am more at ease with my lack of Japanese and just do my best. I use Google translate on my phone, the little Japanese I speak and sign language 🙂 Starting Japanese classes in a week.
I must stress the fact that so far all the Japanese I have interacted with have been very kind and patient. On the other hand, the expats can be more unforgiving.
5. Subscribed to the gym. This was a 1.5 hour painstaking activity, due to the language barrier, but also because whenever you sign a contract here, there are so many papers to go through, explanations, options, etc. Anyway, today I can proudly say I have a card membership and I’m probably among the very few non-Japanese to attend that gym 🙂
6. Bought our fist dSLR Canon. So happy and so excited about all the great pictures we will take. Very important notice: you get the settings in English and it’s cheaper than Europe.
7. Sakura season! Enough said 🙂
8. Went to a first division Japanese football match (soccer). It’s quite a unique experience. Everyone is very civilised, bearly drink alcohol and the fans’ tribune is organized properly with a few guys spread out who lead what the supporters will sing or say next. The stadium was a state of the art, convertible one with so many toilets that you rearly have a line 🙂 Plus, it was funny to see that people were having bento boxes and chopsticks to eat their lunch, including us 🙂 Soaking in the new culture!
1. The cold medicine I got is called Pabron S Gold.
2. English speaking GP: Satoshi Isobe. Address: Isobe Naika Clinic; 1-3 Shinsakae-machi, Naka-ku, Nagoya. Nichimura Nagoya Building, 3rd floor.2minuts from the dome.
3. The Red Rock Aussie Bar & Grill – http://theredrock.jp for expat hang out, kangaroo burgers and Australian meat pies
The Jazz bar is called Jazz Inn Lovely 🙂 – http://www.jazzinnlovely.com/
4. Japanese classes at ECC – http://ecc.co.jp
5. If you live in the center, I recommend this gym: La Grasse or Gold Gym.
6. As it’s the motherland of Canon, you can get a good deal on cameras both straight of the shelf or second hand ones. Same applies for lenses. I got mine from Labi – http://yamadalabi.com
7. The Sakura season is about 10 days to 2 weeks if you’re lucky, at the end of March. It’s beatiful, brings the cities to life.
8. Nagoya’s Football team is called the Nagoya Grampus.