We just opened our second letter from home which means it has been two full months of living in Tokyo. Eight weeks in and we are really good at taking the train, confident with a few Japanese phrases and have all the belongings we sent over! There is still so much to see, do, and learn but we are finding ourselves more at home everyday. Here are the things that I’m loving, liking, and wanting to leave behind this month.
- Packaging. In addition to the overall cuteness of things here, the packaging is just great. Whether it’s a notebook or flowers, everything gets wrapped up neatly and generally, in a really great shopping bag. For instance, I went shopping on a rainy day, and all my paper bags were covered in perfectly fitted plastic…love that attention to detail.
- The train system has moved up to my love list. Mainly because I really don’t care for driving here, but also because it’s just so easy to use. William and I are up to taking the train somewhere just about everyday.
- Patience. In general, Japan seems to have a very patient population, people don’t seem to mind waiting. Parents in particular don’t rush their kids and seem to be less hurried themselves.
- Safety. It really is, or rather seems from what I’ve encountered so far, to be an extremely safe place to live. So why isn’t this on the love list? Well, I just found out this weekend that police officers don’t carry guns! I think this should make me feel more safe but it just doesn’t. You can take the girl out of America but…
- Making Friends. I have found quite a few expat/English speaking playgroups for William and I to attend every week. In fact, I’ve even started my own!
- Extended Summer. It is still in the high 80’s here some days and a cool day is in the 60’s. It is SO different than being back home during our fall season. Just today I’ve noticed a few leaves starting to change colors. It’s nice in a way, we can still hit up the splash pad and walk around getting a tan, but I’m missing “real” fall.
- Earthquakes. We have felt a few minor rumbles and even that is enough for me to know that I am unprepared for anything lasting longer than three seconds. For my Midwest friends, do you know what to do if an earthquake hits? Hide under a table. Yep, that’s the best we can do. I’m hoping the buildings are as safe as they claim to be!
- Daylight Savings or lack thereof. Japan doesn’t spring ahead or fall back which means it always gets dark here around 5:00 PM. I’m not a farmer but I appreciate switching it up twice a year.
- Grocery Shopping. To be fair, I really didn’t like this back home either but here we seem to grocery shop at three different stores and still don’t have what we want. I’ve heard there are stores with catalogs that deliver to your home, I’m now actively pursuing them.
- Driving has moved to the leave list. GPS while walking and or driving is just a nightmare. Eventually, you get where you need to go but it can take a while and be frustrating. We’ve had a rental car but will be getting our permanent car at the end of this month, fingers crossed that the navigation system will be entirely in English.
Our biggest adjustment this past month has been establishing our new normal as we’ve settled into really living here. Japan isn’t known for having an awesome work/life balance and we’re experiencing that first hand. Nick works long hours but he is liking his job and luckily for William and I, there are unlimited things for us to see, do, and learn!