Language Barrier: The Struggle is Real

Alright, obviously I’m not going to be able to speak fluent Japanese or have the expectation that I’m able to get around Japan without at least some knowledge of the language.  I knew this before moving to Japan, which is why I started taking Japanese lessons back in January prior to our move.  Lets face it though, Japanese or nihongo is such a hard language and with the stress of the move and working full time I honestly didn’t invest enough time in my lessons.  So that brings me to today.  One week in Japan and a lot more to go.  The struggle is real people!

First, let me start by saying the Japanese are so friendly and will try so hard to communicate with you.  Honestly, the frustration is on my end.  I’ve never been good at reading queues and sometimes struggle even picking up words that I probably should know.  When I was working at the hospital I would rely on the interpreter or interpreter phone for families that could not speak English because lets face it communication is key.  However, I don’t have the luxury of an interpreter and the language barrier has been a bit difficult.  I will admit that at first it’s not so bad and then you start to get into day to day life, that’s when you realize how difficult it really is.

When John and I picked our apartment in Nagoya we knew that we would have to get appliances for it, only a refrigerator and washer/dryer.  Which isn’t so bad because there are many reuse shops in Nagoya and it’s pretty easy to find.  However, we did have the assistance of our relocation company to help purchase these items, but fun fact they obviously won’t be available for the delivery.  Um…Nihongo wa arimasen.  Thankfully, we were able to establish that the delivery of both appliances were on the way and were delivered successfully.  The thing that is so frustrating is that something that would be so easy at home is a real struggle here.

My other oh so very exciting story of the language barrier consists of trying to find a pet sitter for our two cats for when we travel.  I was able to find one online and filled out the application form and even said that I spoke very little Japanese.  When they called me back it was a complete disaster and even after establishing email may be better due to online translate functions, I’m still fairly certain that they are unable to help due to my lack of Japanese.  Despite this company was able to find someone who could speak some English and thankfully the cats will be well cared for during Obon week!

I’m trying hard to be patient and not get so frustrated, but I will admit and as I said before things that were so easy at home are 10x harder here.  I’m grateful that despite the language barrier I’ve still been able to accomplish things, it just takes so much more time!

I’m planning to re start my Japanese lessons once things get settled here, but man oh man am I glad for the large expat community that exists here in Nagoya.  I never underestimated that there were going to be difficulties related to this move, but reality is so much different then what I was anticipating.  I confident that I will improve with my Japanese and things will get easier, but for now I need to just learn to be patient.

Any who, here are a few photos from the past week.  At some point I will take to really exploring and get some good photos of Japan and my surrounding area.  I’ve actually been super busy getting settled, meeting people, and STILL adjusting to the time change.  So for now here some (possibly) boring photos of the past week.

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Sarg is learning how to sort trash
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Serious lines at the grocery store
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Apparently you can flush cat litter here in Japan…convenience?
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Yes! Craft beer
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Delicious tabasaki
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Good morning Nagoya!
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My handsome hubby on his first day of work!

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