Adventures in Japanese

Yesterday I went to the post office for the very first time!! Okay, maybe it sounds a little lame that it’s taken me nearly eight months to visit the post office, but it’s been for good reason. Our post office doesn’t speak English at all, and I don’t speak Japanese, so I was a bit scared to go there. Maybe mailing letters is no big deal, but trying to send a package can be a nightmare when you’re not sure if it’s going to get there, and you have no idea what you’re doing or how much it’ll cost. I mean, I have enough problems at the post office state-side and I stinkin speak English! But, as I told a friend, I put on my brave pants, which were actually just my jeans, and went to the post office!

I went in, took a ticket, and waited just like everyone else. Turns out I was actually waiting for the bank. Yes, in Japan, the post office is also a bank, a pretty good one, so I’ve heard. I was directed over to the post office lady, and she looked just as nervous as I did when she saw me coming. But I gave her letters to mail, and I think she felt relieved because that’s no language required except for the price. And fortunately, I know Japanese numbers. But then I asked for a small box. Again no problem, same deal as before. But then I tried to communicate that I wanted to send the small box right then. At that point, she got nervous and before I knew it, there was a another lady with her, taking over for her. I just said “to America” in Japanese, and somehow it all worked itself out. She tried to give me some choices on forms, but I just looked at her blankly and asked, “to America?” and then she just chose one for me. After that, there were no more choices. She weighed my package while I filled out my address form, and then the original lady told me the price. I paid, and tried to ask when it would arrive in America. I think the answer was one week, but who knows. But I did it and it all seemed legit!!

So, today, I was feeling confident, so I went back to the post office, this time to mail the package that I made for my parents and brother about four months ago. The same lady was working, but she didn’t seem so flustered today. I told her to America again, but this time, my “to” was correct. Yesterday, I was using the wrong preposition. She just handed me the form, told me the price and away I went. And she even gave me an extra address form that I could fill out at home.

Next, I went to the dry cleaners, another first. On Tuesday, dry erase marker ink exploded on my khaki dress pants, so I thought, why not at least try the dry cleaners. The lady didn’t speak English, I told her I couldn’t speak Japanese. She apologized, told me good luck, and then we tried to work out the pants situation. After a lot of explaining in Japanese that I didn’t understand, and me looking at her with a blank expression. We finally worked out that she didn’t really think that the stain would come out, but they could give it a try for 520 yen. I said okay, and I think that I’m supposed to pick up my pants tomorrow after one. It was all in Japanese, but I’m pretty sure what it all boiled down to. But this lady was so nice! And when I left she told me good luck in speaking Japanese! How great is that!

So, all of this has been a typical day in the adventures of Rachael in Japan. But thank goodness I’m starting Japanese lessons next week. Then you’ll get to hear all the crazy stories about how I said the completely wrong thing in Japanese and ended up embarrassing myself!


Welcome to the Rainy Season

Maybe I’ve mentioned this, but I’m going to tell you again. June is the rainy season in Japan. Officially, June is called the rainy season. March-May is spring and July-September is summer. June is the rainy season. And it has merited its name. Check out the ten-day weather forecast for Nagoya. Every day is rain. Unfortunately for us here in Japan, the rainy season decided to come a little early. So, even though it’s still May, the rain has started. I definitely need to buy a heavy-duty raincoat because, for the most part, this isn’t going to be some light drizzle kind of a month. It’s going to be actual rain. And I have to trounce around in it in a suit no less! Oh well, bring on the rain!

And my awesome best friend Lindsey sent me a sweet umbrella in the mail, so at least I’ll look super cute for the rainy season! Yay for the Vera Bradley show!

The Curse of Sumire Minami

Last week when I went to teach at my kindergarten, the train was 7 minutes late. Today, it was 6 minutes late. And this was a completely different train. I can only imagine what time the stinkin’ train will come next Tuesday. On a day where I have to be on the train super early in the morning, I want it to be on time, because every minute that it’s late, that one more minute that I could’ve been sleeping!

“The Bicycle Mystery” by Jen and Rachael

This morning, Jen and Rachael both had to leave the house early for work and working out. Jen left slightly before Rachael, so imagine Rachael’s surprise when she discovered Jen still standing in the bike parking area in their apartment. They had the following conversation:

Jen: Hmm…

Rachael: Where’s your bike? Where’s my bike??

Jen and Rachael: At the station…stupid station.

Jen and Rachael realized that they had left their bikes at the station over the weekend, and then had gotten a ride home on Sunday night, thus leaving their bikes in the station’s bike garage. And what’s worse is that both of them were on a bit of a schedule and had counted on the speed that their bikes provided. So, they made the completely unexpected, unplanned, fifteen minute walk to the station and the while complaining about the stupid bike garage at the station, even though they both secretly knew that it was their own faults for forgetting that they had left their bikes there in the first place.

Bright and Early

I was awakened this morning at 6:45 by the sound of my phone ringing, or rather, vibrating since my phone is rarely off silent mode. Before I could fully register that it was 6:45 and that it was my roommate calling, I answered with a sleepy hello, and got this response: “I found a kitten.”

After I woke up enough to sort out our conversation, I realized that Jen had found a homeless baby kitten on her run in the park, and wondered whether or not she should bring it home. I agreed, and by that point I was completely awake. So, while I waited for Jen, I had a cup of coffee and washed the dishes.

Then I got an email saying that everyone was telling her not to take the kitty. I was confused by this, because who else would she have called that early in the morning, so she decided to continue on her run, and if the kitten was still at the park when she finished, she would bring it home. So, by that point, it was 7:05, and my alarm wasn’t due to go off until 8:30, so I tried to go back to sleep.

But the activities and the coffee had fully woken me up, so ironic. So, I just spent the morning relaxing and doing some things around the house, until Jen came home, with no cat. The kitty was nowhere to be found in the park upon her return. So, for about 30 minutes this morning, Jen and I were pet owners. Needless to say, I am now very tired, and it’s only 9 PM. It looks like an early night for me and Jen both.

Rockstar in Training

A few weeks ago, I went to a concert for a band called Audacious. Audacious’s style is definitely that mosh pit rock style, and the main singer had so much energy. I was seriously impressed at her ability to get the crowd energized and crazy throughout the concert.

But it made me think that rockstars are actually extremely good actors. I mean, this band had just flown over from England like the day before, and having experienced cross-world jetlag, I can tell you that it’s not a pretty thing. It would be extremely difficult to put on that kind of show so soon afterwards. Thus, I had a magical revelation that rockstars aren’t always that into their music or the show. Of course, they love their music, but they don’t have an endless supply of genuine energy.

And this led to my second revelation- that being an ECC teacher is just like being a rockstar, but on a much smaller scale and without all the singing. Although, I do sing in almost every class. But I walk into my classes, and no matter how I’m personally feeling, I need to get people’s energy and excitement levels up, especially in my kids classes. The more over the top and crazy I am there, the more the kids respond. Even with my adults, there’s no downtime. I’m always upbeat-laughing and smiling as though my life depended on it.

First step- ECC teacher… Then- Rockstar Supreme!

Now, I just need to get me a band…