Saturday, March 6, 2010

New Blog Address

Hi!  Please go to my new blog site at Deb's Life in Japan.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Almost got my panties in a wad...

All righty, then.  Made it to Tokyo on the shinkansen.  Went by the Embassy and set up my equipment for tomorrow's start.  Then to my home for the next month where my luggage was waiting. I had it sent ahead by a delivery service.  It's common to have things delivered here.  You can have your purchases delivered from a department store and there's a service that will deliver stuff from Costco, etc.  It cost me around $40 to ship two large bags.  My equipment, I bring myself.  I guess since people don't have cars they can haul a bunch of stuff in, the delivery services are popular.

I'm in a nice apartment on the 5th floor.  I can see Tokyo Tower, sort of, from here. Have everything I need, a kitchen with all the accoutrements, washer/dryer, heated floors.  Huh?  Yep, heated floors. That's in addition to the heated toilet seat.  (Do they have those in the U.S. yet?) With a TV that gets Animal Planet and a freezer that makes ice, I'm happy as a pig in ... lipstick?  Well, that may be a poor choice of phrases, but you get the idea.

I've only had two small crises so far.  First, I ordered out for dinner and couldn't figure out how to let the delivery guy through the secure entry of the building.  The building manager came to my rescue on that one (you have to pick up the phone before pressing the key button, duh).

Then, after having unpacked both my bags, I could only find three pair of underwear!  Now, they do have underwear available in vending machines here (yes, I've seen them), but not for a girl my size.  Thankfully, after looking through everything twice, I found the others, you guessed it, just where I left them.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief and am thrilled that I won't have to wash undies every three days!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Film at 11:00 but not today ...

Ran errands today and shot some video with the new cell phone.  Did a nice little tour through Hanshin department store food department.  I also shot some footage navigating my way out of the underground, which is always good for a few laughs.  The phone takes nice video.  Problem is I don't have a USB cable for the phone.  So that means a trip to Yodobashi Camera, which will be a four-hour epic all by itself.   I bought a delicious meal of calamari, oysters, shrimp, and salad at Hanshin.  Took a picture of it with my little camera.  Can't post that, either.  Cable's packed up and on its way to Tokyo. 

Which is where I'm going tomorrow to work for the next 37 days.  Woohoo!  My company's rented a serviced apartment for me in Rappongi, a neighborhood pretty close to the American Embassy where the depositions will be taken.  I love Tokyo and I'm very excited about being there for so long.  There's an endless amount of things to do there and I'm anxious to start working on it!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Secret's Out

You've surely figured out by now that this won't be a daily blog. So here's an update since my  last (first) (only) post.

I got my new JP cell phone.  It only took about an hour and a half.  That's not counting my two-hour exploratory visit earlier in the week when I picked out the actual phone and "reserved" it so that "all" I had to do was bring in my boss, the account holder, and have her pay for it. 

 So Boss Lady and I return to the Docomo store to complete said transaction.  We of course are immediately recognized by the Young Lady who helped me pick out the phone.  We are invited to take a seat at YL's desk. YL immediately dials up the company's English translator and presumably explains that we're there to get the reserved phone.  Then YL passes the translator to me.  I confirm that, yes, I am there to pick up the phone.  They want to know if I've brought the account holder.  Yes.  Pass translator to BL, who shows her Alien Registration and confirms that she is the account holder and that she is here to pay for the phone.  BL passes back to YL.

(BTW, before passing a telephone, it is polite to take the mouthpiece and swipe it on your sleeve so that you wipe off any unwanted germs which may have fallen from your mouth.  Young Lady is also obliged to do this.)

It must take double or triple the time to say something in Japanese than in English, because they talk for several minutes. Swipe and pass to BL.  Go over calling plan etc.  Swipe and pass back to YL.  YL fills out a form.  Swipe and pass back to BL.  BL signs form.  Swipe and pass to YL.  Talk talk talk. Swipe and back to BL.  YL goes and retrieves the actual phone and presents it to me for inspection.  Yes, it is the phone I picked out. 

Apparently it is offhandedly communicated to BL that she has Cell Phone Points, does she wish to use to purchase new phone or apply to monthly phone bill?  Use for purchase.  On it goes.  Swipe pass, swipe pass.  Finally the credit card is presented and the slip signed.  The translator confirms that the transaction is complete.

Exhausted and grateful, we all rise and bow multiple times to each other, repeating "arigato gozaimasu" (thank you very much) and exit the store.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Here it is ... my long-awaited second attempt at blogging. I started to blog while in The Hague but didn't keep it up. I'm really good at starting stuff (trouble, for instance) but my follow-through sometimes is lacking. It's not that I don't have anything to write about. Living in a foreign country certainly has been interesting for me. Maybe for you, too. So I promise to do better this time (heard that before?). On the calendar today: Docomo and a new Japanese cell phone. Wish me luck!