Week’s Conclusion: Japan is Good for You.

This is officially my first Japan-based blog post.

“Crazy” would be the most approperiate adjective to use for describing what has been going on since my screen-less (yes) Egyptair plane touched down. Not One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest crazy (thankfully everyone in the dorm seems pretty sane, so far), but my-name-is-Dina-and-I-will-be-eating-authentic-okonimiyaki-for-a-year crazy…

So much has happned already this past week that I find it extremely hard to write now. I don’t know if I should talk about what I have been doing, or about how I have been feeling, or about the people I have been meeting, or about this place I willl be living at for a year…

My miserable attempt to brainstorm resulted in the following incomplete list of things I have done so far:

  1. Having random conversations during 13 hour flights with Ethiopian PhD students about Japanese women, non-English speaking air hostesses, Egyptian traffic, Ethiopian education, perscription glasses, rum, the biggeset scam in the shopping world (aka duty free shops)..
  2. Spending a night in the airport. That worked fine. I think spending a night in an international airport where no one speaks English was the perfect way for me to have an idea of what’s waiting for me outside: lots of non-stop Japanese blabbing in my face that is ideally met with clueless nodding on my side.
  3. Spending a day in Kobe. Although I hadn’t even unpacked yet, I met with Megumi and Yuta, the two Japanese KGU students who had been contacting me before arrival, who then took me on a trip to their home city, Kobe, which is about 2 hours away from where I am staying. This was when I first discovered that in a world far away from Cairo-land, people can use public transportation without having to be miserable public sector employees.
  4. Not buying a camera, but wasting my money on vending machines. Typical?
  5. Having a great stay in Seminar House 4 (the dormitory I have been assigned to, and a really nice roommate and she’s *drumroll* Japanese! I was very surprised to find that my roommate was actually Japanese – there is only a handfull of Japanese in the +100 resident dorm, and luckily enough one of them happened to be my roommate. At first I thought it would be an oportunity for me to have someone show me how to get around the city, but after less than a day, I found there was more into it than just navigation-aid. Yurie is so nice it is humanly impossible.
  6. Eating stuff I have no idea what they are. Before coming here thought I wouldn’t go too hardcore, especially as it relates to food, but hell, I was wrong. There is something very inviting about eating 120 Yen (~1 USD) Okonomiyaki from a Kobe street vendor, and messing up my clothes along the way because of being so chopstick challeneged.
  7. Going to Osaka, 2nd biggest sity in Japan after Tokyo, as well as somewhere up the tree-covered mountains where people swim in the river and jump off of miniwaterfalls.
  8. Walking in Japanese streets.
  9. Biking in Japanese streets.
  10. Riding a car (sans driving) in Japanese streets.
  11. Saying “Sumi masen” to virtually any Japanese person I see through out the day (who as you imagine, are a lot, since I am in Japan…) with or without a reason (the latter being the case more often).
  12. Swimming in my own sweat. That shouldn’t be surprising when humidity hits the 85% line. Only now I know why Japanese people in the movies and so walk around with a towel, and yes, I walk with a towel around my neck now too.
  13. Being treated like a human being should be, (one of the things I seldom experienced while in Egypt?)
  14. Not blogging as much as I should.

This place is amazing. I thought before coming here that I will be hit by a culture shock that would leave me speechless and/or motionless for days. But that never happened. Not because i’s the same, or because I am indifferent, but because I actually don’t believe I have made it here. I am enjoying every bit of it, and I think what helps a lot is how friendly everyone here is (not to mention the comfort brought by vending machines in the hardest of times).

I know that no decent blogger would ever write a link-less, pictures-less blog post such as this one about their stay in Japan, but, 1. who said I am decent, and 2. hopefully when things settle down a little bit I will have more time/energy to blog decently about the daily (un)goings on.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarah El Masry
    Sep 02, 2010 @ 01:26:29

    Dinz…. OMG it sounds great… I m so happy for you … and it sounds soooo interesting … Of course the blog is well-written … I got the feelings when I read it and it provides great visualization as well… I m waiting to read more and more

    Reply

  2. Aymundo
    Sep 03, 2010 @ 06:19:30

    And to think you were even considering the States..!
    And yes I’ve been following the blog, with the initial silence for the first few days which got me wondering (not worrying of course).
    And yes your first post sucks. When are you gonna get up to speed ? Dondon wise I mean ?!
    The publishers are lined up.
    Until we establish normal ComLinks….Mooowah.
    P.S. Dinz..? Really ?!

    Reply

  3. Yasminah aka Yu
    Sep 05, 2010 @ 22:46:21

    Ya Dinaaaaa!! I miss u so much girl… It’s OK if you don’t write too much or if you don’t have time to upload (or take) pictures .. just LIVE and ENJOY every single minute .. don’t spend your time worrying about whether you’ve written something down or not. Enjoy the experience to the maximum… the writing part will come later .. experiences like these are hard to forget anyway so just go out and have FUN!! 🙂

    Reply

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