The Chronicles of Assimilation: Japan Life Part 1

Oh hey everybody! John and I have officially made it through our first weekend in Japan and although we have only been here three days it honestly feels longer.  I think the jet lag definitely has something to do with this.

Slowly but surely we are adapting to our new life and just trying to soak it all in.  I want to say that it’s overwhelming and that it’s normal to feel that way, but honestly it hasn’t been that way at all.  At least not yet.  So far I’m really enjoying Nagoya.  I’m back in a city again and honestly a city has always felt like home to me.  It’s been five years since I moved out of NYC and I’ve missed it, for the most part, ever since.  Granted, we have yet to make it to one week here and we have a long way to go, but I have a feeling that I’m going really enjoy myself here.  I’m keeping an open mind and an open heart.  Opportunities like this don’t come knocking everyday!

So where does that bring us to life as an expat so far.  Well John and I have been busy bees.  The weekend was spent wandering around our new neighborhood doing some exploration.  A few observations:

  1.  It was 75 and sunny yesterday and I did not see one Japanese person wearing sunglasses
  2. Furthermore, most people had some sort of long sleeve shirt/sweater on despite the heat
  3. I need to get used to walking on the left side of the street.  However, Nagoya is so close to Osaka, where people walk on the right side of the road…which makes for an interesting walk at times and oh idk chaos…
  4. Bicyclists are allowed to ride on the sidewalks, this scares that sh*t out of me…this is a legitimate fear

We had a lot of firsts this weekend.  John braved the right hand drive and drove for the first time.  We managed to find ourselves at a Aeon Mall, which is a popular store here in Japan that literally have five floors of stuff and is a bit overwhelming.  Anything and everything you could possible need or want is found here.  I also tried carousel sushi for the first time, definitely a win for Japan.  Here are some pics:


IMG_1675Drinking in bars has also been an interesting experience.  We managed to find ourselves at a local watering whole a block from our apartment.  For those who follow my instagram, it is the bar with Uncle Sam tempting you to drink in his bar.  We saw this on our home finding trip, and well duh, needed to try it.  Here is a photo reminder.

We, of course were the only Gaikokujin or foreigners in the bar.  I’m also fairly certain we may have been the only ones ever.  Regardless, this has to be one of the best nights I’ve had.  Despite the language barrier we managed to talk and drink with everyone in the entire bar.  My fellow bar flies even sang happy birthday to me.  It was then that I realized that despite the language barrier sometimes all you need to enjoy yourself is a good drink, food, and people.  So Konpai to that friends!

Of course after a night like that we weren’t exactly looking to go drinking the next day, but in typical John and Nicole fashion we managed to come across a beer festival downtown yesterday.  We’ve been in the country less then a week and leave it to us to wander up on something like that.  I will admit that it is an annual event (we just don’t have the DL of Nagoya yet).  The Nagoya Belgium Beer Festival  I believe happens during Golden Week every year.  Also, another interesting observation when we bought tokens they gave us a glass goblet, A GLASS GOBLET?!?! If a beer festival in America gave out glass cups I’d be scared for my life that some drunk idiot would start breaking stuff.  Not in Japan friends.  Apparently the Japanese are very trusting…or maybe they just don’t get completely smashed during the day, I’m not really sure.  Regardless it was a good find!

Am I boring you yet? Because today everyone, was the day of legit fun activities.  And by fun activities I mean spending the whole day getting stuff done to set up our life in Japan.  This included registering at the local ward office, getting a cell phone number, buying appliances (since our apartment did not come with a fridge or a washer and dryer), as well a trip to Japan’s version of Bed Bath & Beyond.  Lets get real for a second, no matter where you are in the world, government offices will ALWAYS have an extended wait time.  Seriously, it took for what felt like forever to register as residents in Higashi-ku…IMG_1981

This is a ward office…basically the same hell as the Secretary of State or Social Security Office.

Well I think I’ve rambled on long enough.  Next time I will talk about Japan and their trash.  I’m not kidding this is a serious thing that requires extensive amounts of sorting.  Here is a photo of our trash bins and honestly, this trash bin doesn’t even fit all of the bags that we need to sort all of our trash…Help! IMG_1983

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