Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Last week I went to a festival with my friend. I borrowed her sister's yukata and felt so elegant wearing it~ there was the usual fare of matsuri food and fireworks to enjoy. Afterwards, we did sparkler fireworks outside the apartment with the neighbor's children. Summer in Japan is just full of something to do practically every night!
Sometime soon, hubby and I will be purchasing a car. I need one to get around to the 8 different schools I will be working at once classes start. Although renting was also an option with slightly less hassle, we felt that buying a car is the better financial decision. We would be paying almost twice the amount for the rental over the period of one year! Contrary to popular belief, most people drive where we live in Japan. I get looks of surprise when I tell people that I walk to work every day in the summer heat. There are trains out here in the countryside, and they are useful to a certain extent, but there will be many benefits to owning a car. I cant wait to purchase large items that require a vehicle to transport - such as a pink bicycle, some new furniture, etc.
Our Gaijin Cards did finally arrive, which mean wonderful things like a bank account and cell phones. Purchasing a cell phone here was pretty intense! There were 3 different provider choices (Softbank, au/KDDI, Docomo) and an infinity of options from there. It took my supervisor, another ALT, his JTE, my husband, and myself to figure out which type of plan to go with (translating from Japanese, of course!) Matt and I ended up going with au/KDDI with a contract plan, each of us getting an Android Smartphone. The phones themselves are ridiculously expensive here, but we got very lucky~ the ones we selected happened to have a special, as in FREE. The various apps are super helpful - Google Maps, Hyperdia train schedules, Kanji reader, dictionaries, and more.
My progress with the language study is slowly coming along. I've mastered Hiragana, and have started to learn Katakana. I have also been learning grammar through the GENKI textbook series, which has been more helpful than anything else. It's going to take some time though!