今週の漢字: 演劇

It has been an interesting week since I last posted. On Saturday, I organized most of my apartment. It has come along very nicely from its somewhat unorganized state when I first walked in. Sunday was a busy day. In the afternoon, I went to see a drama titled “Gulf” that was adapted from an American writer. It was all in Japanese, but I was able to get some sentences and words. Ms. Kobayashi, whose house I was staying in for my home-stay, played some part in organizing the theatrical event. I could sort of figure out the plot by putting together the little Japanese that I understood with the acting. Unfortunately, the semi-Brechtian style direction of the play didn’t help much, but it was very interesting to see it done. I was expecting something similar to Realism or Naturalism.

Before the play, I met a friend of the Kobayashi’s whose son is also a friend of Koya Kobayashi (Mr. and Mrs. Kobayashi’s son). I also met another one of their classmates. We first tried to go to McDonald’s, but ended up going to a fast food place called “Lotteria.” The McDonald’s that we went to was really packed. There was a line that snaked around the entire store. It was interesting to see as the US McDonald’s aren’t usually as busy. This makes me want to see how busy the busiest McDonald’s in the world is like—the one in Moscow. Anyway, I had a nice shrimp burger with fries and oolong tea. I’ve been drinking a lot of tea here as not many people go around drinking water or even much soda for that matter. I learned before coming to Japan that people don’t drink or eat while walking. It’s apparently considered rude. I’m not exactly sure of the details, but when I find out, I’ll surely post it.

On Sunday night, I went to Ms. Kobayashi’s house for a small get-together that she organized with a few mothers and their children. I was asked to bring a food dish. I was a bit nervous about it as I haven’t really cooked for more than 5 people (my nuclear family) and that was when my dad was teaching me… So, I had to think quickly as to the easiest dish that I am confident about making. Ah, lo mein with chicken and vegetables. I went to the grocery store about 3 minutes on foot from my apartment. Of course all except one of their pastas are Japanese. The non-Japanese pasta that they carry is spaghetti. So, I needed to think which pasta would have similar consistency and texture to what I want to make. Yakisoba! YES! I also bought some garlic powder, soy sauce, oyster sauce, cabbage, onions, and other food items that I’ll make for myself during the week. I arrived at Ms. Kobayashi’s house hoping that what I call food doesn’t somehow poison her family and the guests. At first no one really ate my dish. Mainly because they had no clue what it was. Instead they ate the more familiar foods like a kind of fried rice with eggs, a sort of omelet dish of vegetables, sashimi, soumen (a type of noodles), and crab stuffed croquettes. Personally, I loved the croquettes. Finally, someone ate my dish and was surprised by the taste. Stop thinking that this means in a bad way! She wondered who made it, and when I told them that I made it, they were all amazed. Although, I think they were more amazed that I was at the time 21 years old. The night went very well as I got to experience some Japanese culture like a kind of search and find while avoiding spirits (at least that’s what I gathered from watching). Plus, we all lit up a lot of sparklers which was fun. The people didn’t really speak English except for Ms. Kobayashi, so it was interesting to communicate primarily in Japanese with a bit of English nouns added in.

As for work, this week has been filled with the completion of my desk organizing (which is something I’m always happy about), talking with some of the English teachers, meetings, and other interesting little bits of culture. I’ll type more about that next week as my coming week doesn’t have a lot of plans except for meetings galore. Throughout this past week, there were lots of ええええ~s. (Basically many people went in a high pitched voice EEEEHHHHHHHH!) This is usually a note of amazement or surprise. So what were the people surprised about?? Here’s a nice list to end this post:

- I was 21 years old (at the time).
- My grandmother (dad’s side) and great aunt live with my family especially that my mom and grandmother get along with each other.
- There’s a difference between Mandarin and Cantonese.
- I studied Japanese for a year resulting in my ability to read and write hiragana and katakana (despite it taking a bit of time when it comes to reading).
- I have a Chinese name.
- New Jersey is so close to New York City.
- It takes a little over 20 hours to drive from my home to Miami.
- So what’s the most surprising for many people I’ve met so far?? I don’t mind to walk especially the 30 minutes it takes to walk to the school.

Stay tuned next week for another update!

今週の写真: You’re in luck this week as I am posting many pictures of my apartment.

This is my apartment building, "Heights Liberty."
I am the apartment on the bottom left.

This is what it looks like when you first walk in;
Door on left leads to kitchen;
Open room in back is the tatami room

Kitchen view from hallway

Storage in kitchen
(door leads to hallway I was originally standing in)

Kitchen table;
Entrance to tatami room next to it

Tatami room with curtains open that lead to balcony
(view from kitchen entrance)

Tatami room with closed closets in back

Closets open

Tatami room
(view from living room entrance)

Tatami room showing entrance to living room

Living room
(view from tatami room)

Living room
(view from hallway)

Sinkroom (left); living room (right)

(view from hallway)

(small peak on left that leads into bath/washroom)

Bath/shower room
(usually people would draw baths not really shower)

(with a view into the living room)

Lastly, hallway (I'm standing by the living room) showing toilet room and front door. The area in front of the front door is the area where people take off their shoes. If you were to turn left by the toilet room, you would re-enter the kitchen.


Jackie T said...

Happy belated birthday!

Good to know you're settled in. Japanese residences look so different when they are not in CG color =P Keep those pictures coming and, btw, you don’t mind walkin 30 min to school?!??!

Anonymous said...

nice apt. i thought it was small hahahah but it looks good and the japanes ppl thing ur a loser lololol j/p


Anonymous said...

It's good to hear that you're still surprising people halfway around the world. lol Nice (detailed)descriptioning of the different rooms with varying perspectives (even though now I'm still confused which room is next/adjacent to which...) [Which I'm sure was your purpose in the 1st place]


ジャスティン said...

Thanks, Jackie. =) Anyway, I don't mind walking 30 min as I walked that much while in Miami. Also, a note on the apartment: I heard that pictures of Japanese apartments appear larger than it actually is. lol Sort of like the car mirrors, so yea. it's spacious enough for me, but don't be deceived by the pictures. Now, think about the fact that most of tenants of the apartment complex are families. =/

Anonymous said...

ehh i totally did not realize that school is next week *sigh... anyway... that's a really nice looking apartment.. more pictures please! haha - joe

Anonymous said...

Hey, the thingy in the bath room can be used for a cover to keep the water warm :D Just in case you didn't know.