Sunday, May 15, 2005

Beautiful day in Japan... FIRST QUAKE!!!

Glad to finally be online and able to communicate. It’s been a busy couple of days and it looks like it’s not going to slow down any time soon!

The group of teachers training with me are all pretty neat. It’s funny how we quickly gravitated into 2 or 3 groups within a few hours of arriving. Maybe it has to do with who we first arrived with and started the journey with at Narita… here’s the group I’ve been hanging around with:
Robert from Toronto
Wasim from Montreal
Steve from Chicago (also one of my room mates)
Cleeve from Washington D.C.
Leah from San Francisco
Caroline from Melbourne, Australia
Dave from Florida, Australia and Japan for the last 6 weeks.

Here are some pictures of our walk this morning\aftern

YIKES!!! As I’m sitting here typing this, I’ve just felt my first Japanese EARTHQUAKE!!! Lasted maybe 5 seconds, gentle side to side motion… enough to make some doors bang around!!! Woohooo! Welcome to Japan!!!

Anywho, our walk this afternoon…

This is a shot of a small parking lot at a Church near the Seminar House. You drive your car in, get out of your car, hit a button and your car is lifted up so 2 vehicles can be parked in one spot… ingenious no?

This is a Lawson’s convenience store, our main source of sustenance during our stay at the AEON Seminar House.

This is a shot of a marker at the Entrance to Hikawa Shrine, you’ll notice the large gate in the background which serves as a gate to the other world (from what I understand) for the Shinto religion in Japan.

Here’s a nice shot of that Marker with the sun at the top.

Some very old painting on wood within the Shrine… at the very least hundreds of years old.

The mob at the market in Omiya on a Sunday is pretty impressive… there are small vendors setup on the ground on either side of the street selling their wares.

I left the group a little early to head in and finish up my laundry… not only did I walk home all the way by myself but I stopped at a Ramen shop on the way and ordered myself some lunch on my very own… I’m so proud… lol

I’ve enjoyed myself immensely these first few days, the Japanese people are absolutely amazing and helpful, even though most of them speak practically no English. Through pointing and gestures and grunts we’re usually able to make ourselves understood… on that note I have a funny story to share…

While I realize I had scoffed at the idea of visiting McDonald’s here in Japan, seeing as I don’t ever go there back home anyway, we found ourselves there our first night here and I decided to join in on the ordering. While the staff speaks no English at all, they have pictures and their menus are numbered so ordering should be simple right? I step up to the cash, take a look at the menu and figure out I’d like number 5, a double-cheeseburger. Look at they young lady behind the cash and say “Number 5” while making 5 with my hand… she seems not to understand and motions for me to point out on the menu, which I do. I pay my bill and wait for my order, which she gives to me. Get out of there, meet up with the group who’s already eating and open up the bag. To my surprise, I find 5 burgers! Me being a stupid Gaijin, I went ahead and ordered 5 burgers I guess…. Handed out 2 to the group and another 2 to some Japanese teens who were giving us CD’s of their Rock band and that was that. Learned an important lesson though. Never just smile and nod when hit with a barrage of Japanese, try to figure it out and confirm stuff with sign language or something. I think I redeemed myself by ordering my Ramen today…

Anywho, time for some relaxation… going to go out later and get some food at Lawson’s to make my first meal in Japan… we’ve just about run out of the food AEON had stocked for our arrival…

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Blogger Schutty said...

Hey Bud

Looks good from here and you're having fun already!!!!!

We're watchin..............

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to order a set burger, fries, and a drink, just see what number the set is and say ichiban, ni ban, san ban, yon ban, go ban roku ban, and cola s m or l. Dont say small medium or large, it goes by the letter here. If you cant count to 10 yet in Japnaese learn, now. So your order would sound like this "____ban to( say like toe) cola M size (or whichever) o hitotsu." Follow that by saying " take out" and pointing towad the door with your thumb, if you want it to go. If you want to eat there say "koko de" and point down at the counter. They will have no problem understanding that. Plus youve avoided having them ask you if you want it to eat in or take out. To ask that they say "omochikaerimasu ka?" which means "take out?"
If you do like what you did and point at something and raise your fingers for a number you will get that many of whatever it is. This sign language is useful until you learn the various counters. Japanese is not just ichi ni san. Its also hitotsu futatsu mitsu. and hitori, futari etc.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Hanuman1960 said...

Cool Site!

I stumbled upon you via a link from "Undercover in Japan".

I have just one question on the parking lot. What if your car is on top, and there's a car underneath you, and you're ready to leave? How do you get your car?

Take care!

3:03 PM  
Blogger Michel Lafleur said...

Well that is a very good question, to tell you the truth, I HAVE NO IDEA!!! I will make sure to keep an eye out though.

12:47 AM  

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