7.16.2009

japlan...

i have lived all over the world, and travelled a lot thus far in my life. i haven't been to many places that i felt like as much an outsider, and as unwelcome, as i do here in japan. *granted, there are a few people who do their best to make you feel welcome, but the majority do not* i have yet to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes me feel so discombobulated here, but it's starting to drive me a little crazy. we were so excited to come here and absolutely jumped at the opportunity for yet another new country to explore. we thought it would be an adventure, a good experience, and allow us to brush up on the language we hadn't used in too many years. boy, were we in for a rude awakening!


we knew the apartment we'd be living in would be small- and we were used to small having lived in a quarter of a shipping container for a year in iraq- so we were ok with that. when we walked into our first apartment here i broke down and cried, and then promptly said, 'i just wanna go home!' it was cold, and dark, had hideous green leaves on the linoleum, no oven, no working heater; save for the tiny space heater in the closet, a single twin bed and a coffee table big enough for 1 cup of coffee and not much else, and the washer *with no dryer* was on the back balcony. we had lived through some crappy times living in a war zone, but we thought this was a bit ridiculous for our return to civilization. it can only get better, right?


the next day after the initial shock of the apartment we found the grocery store, and i found enlightenment: i was lost in a country where i couldn't even figure out how to buy groceries. i felt like alice in wonderland swirling down a colorful tube not knowing what i'd find when i was dropped out the bottom. staples for us were out the window as things like peanut butter was 5 dollars for a jar big enough for about 4 sandwiches. brown rice- in the land of rice eaters- was outrageously priced, and proved difficult to even find. apparently, white rice is the best for you, but anything white is 'pure'. *enter the twilight zone otherwise called japlan* bread is white- and only white- and often times the rolls are filled with mayonnaise- again with the white. cereal, for a small box, plan on paying at least 4 dollars- but if you want frosted flakes you can find them for 1.69 or so, but then you might as well just go eat a cup of sugar and get it over with. why are sugar-coated things so much cheaper? hmpf.


we were told we'd be getting a car we could use during our time here, and were happy to hear that as we love to travel. so, the next adventure was finding the assigned parking spot and checking out our new, and assumably small ride. this time i didn't cry. i laughed as if i had been possessed by some crazy old lady's spirit who was a witch in her earthly life. i couldn't stop laughing- the neighbors gawked, we felt even more out of place. yes. the car was too small for even me to fit in, and i'm pretty damn small. my hubby was not going to be able to get in it, at least not comfortably. he squished himself in there long enough for me to take pictures, and laugh some more at the fact of him having to lean forward so his forehead was on the windshield to even sit in it. there were no words. none.


that's how this all began, and it's been a struggle ever since. more on that later. for now, i try to focus on what will be.... the countdown begins...