Deaf, illiterate, mute in Nagoya, Japan

Not even in Khartoum did I ever feel so much of a foreigner. I guess I spent so much of my first few weeks in Khartoum in the presence of fellow expats, and there are so many people who have some (albeit sometimes basic) knowledge of English that I never felt this alien.The good thing is, however, that I’m not stared at despite looking different.

I’m getting settled in. I started driving two days ago. It’s a good thing because bus service in my area is infrequent and the train station is quite a walk (or a $14 taxi ride) from school. I’m planning to get a GPS for my car. Those of you who’ve driven with me know how challenged I find it to determine directions.

The school itself is beautiful. As we were driven in the first time, it just rose out of the scenery on the side of a hill. The facilities are quite nice and improvements are ongoing. Orientation started today; I’m going through PYP training next week.

My home’s slowly taking shape. I need a bit more furniture to start organizing my space. I bought an iron and a radio two days ago. I’ve figured out the iron but not the radio/alarm clock. I’m going to need help deciphering the Japanese on it. I took pictures of the rest of my appliances and got someone to help me translate them today. I’d been going on trial and error so far and although it’s more or less worked, it’s good to know what the rest of the buttons mean.

Last night, I bought a garbage can, hangers and a drying rack for laundry. I need a few more bins for recycling. Garbage sorting is quite involved here. The cans, paper cartons, plastic bottles, plastic packaging, burnable trash and non-burnable trash all gets packaged individually. There are recycling depots for styrofoam. I figured out where to put out my garbage and recycling this morning.

I feel quite disconnected from the world. It will be almost two weeks before I can get Internet and a cell phone. I have to wait for my alien registration card. I have no tv at home either. My colleagues have been very nice however and several have offered to let me use their Internet.

I was warned before coming here that Japan is very expensive. My car was fairly cheap and my insurance cost seems reasonable.  haven’t found things too expensive here except transportation, some veggies, fruits (e.g. $12 for a pack of grapes or $4 for an apple). I’ve bought lots of fish quite inexpensively especially during the nightly markdowns at the grocery store so I’m happy about that. We’ll see how the utilities work out.

I’m happy to be here. I’m excited for the cultural opportunity and the school seems like a place where I’ll be happy to spend most of my time. This is an exciting time for me!