Wow. I simply cannot describe what a GREAT decision it was for me to move here.
Nao was nice enough to spend most of her day helping me move from Hirakata to Kyoto (with her car it was about 10 times easier, because I could just throw the big stuff in the back seat and not have to even think about packing carefully). And while we spent most of the daylight hours getting everything set up and organized instead of exploring the city, I can already tell how much happier I’m going to be here.
So, without further adieu, welcome to my new room. This will be the FOURTH place I’ve lived in only a month in Japan. For those of you that can’t read Japanese, that’s my name in Katakana. The previous (male) tennant was nice enough to leave me the Hello Kitty stickers.
My room itself is slightly larger than the previous, but has a HUGE workspace,
a western style bed (actual matress instead of a futon on the tatami floor) with plenty of storage under it, MY OWN REFRIGERATOR (very big deal),
and in fact, more storage than I know what to do with!
Oh, and remember how I mentioned that this place is almost entirely foreigners, so it wouldn’t be as good of a place to practice Japanese? FALSE! They may be foreigners but most of them are from China or Europe and speak little or no English. So while their Japanese isn’t perfect, most of the people here are learning and want to practice all the time, unlike at OEH where everyone is an English teacher and doesn’t care at all about the language. I’ve already spoken more Japanese in the one evening here than the whole time I lived in Hirakata.
And then there’s the GROCERIES! One of the reasons I’ve been so upset at the cost of living is that I’ve been unable to afford any of the foods I used to love – vegetables, cheese, meat, etc. But as it turns out, the one store that I was always forced to shop at in Hirakata (VIVRE) is just ridiculously overpriced! I went to a little supermarket 5 minutes from here last night and FILLED up my fridge for 1/3 of what it would’ve cost me before. It feels great to actually have FOOD to eat!
However, there definitely are a few negatives to this place. While the common areas are nice enough
With pretty much every convenience you could need
It’s all very dirty and poorly maintained. Basically it just means that I’m going to have to buy my own full set of pots, pans, and kitchen utensils – everything they’ve provided is way too filthy and disgusting to use.
Here’s another example of the level of maintenance in the common areas. This is the side of the door to one of the showers. Notice anything interesting? Me neither, until I’d gone in and shut the door. IT CANT BE OPENED FROM THE INSIDE!
And since no one else was in the room or came in during the 10 minutes that I was trying to jimmy the door opened, I was forced to climb through that tiny opening at the top wearing ONLY A TOWEL! Sheesh.
Still, my only real regret is that I didn’t move out of OEH sooner. That’s not to say that the place itself wasn’t fine, but just the area – it’s so nice being able to ride my bike everywhere. Check out that $48 beauty. Initially I wanted to buy a mountain bike (the all-too-common shopping bikes don’t have any gears, so if you want to move fast it’s a bit difficult) but the used bike store didn’t have one that fit me…I had to buy the largest one there (Jennings, I’d love to see YOU try to buy a bike in Japan).
Anyways though, I just wanted to get in a quick update to say that I’m safe and sound here in Kyoto. I’ve got a TON of stuff to take care of in the next week (changing over my visa sponsorship from Kansai Gaidai to Ritsumeikan, filling out Ritsumeikan acceptance paperwork, getting my alien registration, filling out paperwork for this place) plus I’m going to spend the weekend with Nao and Okaasan again (Josh is on a school trip to Hiroshima so I have my own bedroom there!)
But I still can’t wait to get settled and start exploring the city. KYOTO! Sweet.**