Let me start out by saying: I’ve always hated paperwork, and Japanese paperwork is no different. Worse even, since I can’t read kanji very well.
But really, aside from taking the bus from the hotel to the campus and having a nice man give me directions and help carrying luggage, there isn’t much to tell thus far. So instead of my experiences I’d like to focus on two other things that strike me about Japan.
First is the food. I’m not going to talk about the taste or anything like that. Instead I’m intrigued by the way it goes through your system. It’s true that Japanese portions are smaller, and for an American like me, at first that seems dissatisfying. I go into the cafeteria thinking, This is it? This one piece of who-knows-what delicious meat? Why didn’t I get the curry? The portion’s larger. Oh yeah, because I don’t really like curry.
Despite this I find myself able to go for a long while between meals. While living in America I would eat three meals a day and god-knows how many snacks in between. It was probably an awful diet for every part of my health. I could eat a giant portion for dinner and still pour a tub of butter over a bowl of popcorn an hour or two later (and I’m only exaggerating a little about the butter). Or I could eat a bunch of unhealthy things for lunch, not stay full, and get more continually until dinner. Or… Well, typing out my awful American eating habits is kind of embarrassing.
With Japanese food I can eat a small portion of something that’s probably way better for me and be satisfied with three meals a day and no snacks. Before coming to campus all I had was a single onigiri for breakfast and still I was okay until lunch. I know nothing about nutrition or how food works, but I kind of enjoy not feeling compelled to eat all the time. Then again, a lack of money could be part of my motivation. One hundred yen shops are wonderful places.
As for the second observation about life in Japan, here it is: everyone is beautiful. Seriously. It’s probably because their food has the properties I mentioned above, so there aren’t fat people like in America. I don’t know. My main point here is that 90% of the people I see are what I would consider attractive. (This is where you insert a comment about ‘yellow fever’).
This has a strange sort of effect. In the United States when I saw an attractive person, my attention would be immediately (and perhaps conspicuously) drawn to them. But when there are beautiful people all over the place you get used to it real fast. They become part of the scenery. It really is true that you need all types, not that I’m in any way lodging a complaint.
To be honest, this is probably a good thing for me. I can grudgingly admit that I may have focused too much attention on the pretty people around me while living in the States. I’m sure it annoyed the crap out of my friends. So, maybe if I live in a society filled with beautiful people for a while, I’ll calm down. I’m pleased to say this is one of the things about myself that I’d hoped to get away from when coming here. I really want to be a better person when I return home.
And thus continues my Japanese life. I must fight off the evil jetlag, a villain hiding just outside of my room waiting until I show weakness to pounce. So far I’ve been doing pretty good. I’ll defeat him soon.