The Wub-Finding Doth Continues – 9 October 2012
It’s been a month since my last post, and there’s a good reason for that: I’ve been on a honeymoon. But this honeymoon, like all things, has come to a pretty heavy end. It’s been trial-laden and discouraging at times, and it’s been far from easy in some aspects, but it’s worth it, based on the people I’ve met here already and the experiences I’ve had thus far. In the blink of an eye a month has passed.
And the Wub-finding doth continues. In no particular order of discovery –
Wub – Learning Japanese is HARD, but I know I can stick with it.
Of course, I knew it wouldn’t be easy; I’m too smart to be that much of an optimist. I did, however, assume that I would learn some of it through osmosis, and thus far I have been gravely mistaken. Anything worth doing takes time and effort, and learning a foreign language probably heads up that list. For fifteen hours a week I have Japanese shoved under my nose and into my ear canals, and it’s taken a toll on my brain. It might not seem like much, but it’s exhausting, let me tell you. But it’s not to the point that I’m ready to throw in the towel and give up – hell no.
An example –
About a week ago, a friend and I went out to a restaurant for 食べ放題 (tabehoudai, all-you- can-eat). The waitress there spoke no English (duh, she’s Japanese) and our Japanese is rudimentary at best (duh, we’re not Japanese), and it took ten minutes for the three of us to convince the three of us that the three of us knew what the hell was going on. But we got through that fine, and had a delicious meal on top of that. Situations like that give me confidence that my skills have to get better, so long as I apply myself and sharpen them accordingly. So it’s all good.
Wub – Nagoya is SICK, and I’m doing things here I’d never thought I’d do.
This one pretty much speaks for itself. It’s like absolutely nothing I’ve ever seen. There are diamond boutiques and clothing stores and people all over 栄 (Sakae, the central business district); there’s a beautiful Buddhist temple and a huge shopping arcade and people all over 大須 (Osu, another district); there’s 熱田神宮 (Atsuta Jinguu, an important Shinto shrine) in the district named after it, filled with huge trees and, in total Japanese fashion, situated along one of the major thoroughfares that run through the city; there’s the 名古屋市営地下鉄 (Nagoya Shiei Chikatetsu, the city’s municipal subway system), which rocks my pants off; there’s 名古屋港 (Nagoyakou, the Port of Nagoya), with a huge aquarium and ferris wheel; though, strangely, almost no one goes there. But I like it, though. There’s so much about this place that’s historic and brand new, and it all exists side-by-side. And I’m working my way through it all, doing things I’d never do otherwise.
An example –
A few days ago I went on a field trip out to Seto City, about forty-five minutes from where I live. This area is world-renowned for its pottery, and there we met 加藤裕重 (Kato Hiroshige, family name first), the pottery sensei and twelfth-generation master of this art. He spoke English, and gave us a brief history of his family and the area, and showed us how to make simple things in his 霞仙 (kasen, pottery studio – I made an ashtray and a cup; when I get them back pictures will follow). It was interesting, and the backdrop was pretty darn nice, too.
Wub – Japan is EXPENSIVE, and thus I’m learning how to budget.
This one’s pretty self explanatory. I’ve bought a few big things, but most of it goes on food and eating out and alcohol – and even those have to be curtailed, to some degree. I’m not gonna go broke (hopefully), but there is a lot of traveling I want to do, and now’s as good a time as any to start saving those useless one-yen coins. Seriously, they’re as bad here as pennies are. Nobody wants them. I haven’t tried to change them, but I’m sure I’d catch hell trying as there are no Coinstar machines or their brethren to be found in this place. I’ll probably just dump them in a Mickey D’s donation box when this one fills up (yes, they have those here too), but exact change doesn’t mean so much to me that I’d carry them with me wherever I go. I have enough problems keeping my pants up as it is.
Of course, I’ve done loads more stuff than this in the month I’ve been here. It’s just that all of it has begun to smush themselves together in my brain, and because I’ve done so many things two, three, four times now, they overlap. But everything I’m doing is making me better, in some capacity – as an individual, as a man, as a person. I like finding wubs. I’ll continue my search for them long after I leave here. But for now, I promise NO MORE HUGE GAPS! I’ll keep trying to untangle the wubs from my consciousness and spitting them out here with prompt regularity for you people.
You crazy, wonderful, literate people, you.