Moved and (Somewhat) Settled

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Got moved and cleaned the old apartment last Friday. Today the airconditioners for the house finally arrived. Tonight I expect to heat up my sleeping chamber a little before bedtime. I have been sleeping under a pile of fuzzy blankets and still have cold toes.

The fridge and washing machine arrived today as well. Eating for a week with no fridge has been an interesting challenge; however, the aforementioned lack of heat has helped: the first several days I left eggs and juice on the counter without much fear. Around Wednesday the kitchen heated up a bit from the Sun and I have been a little more careful about buying perishables.

The washing machine cost almost twice what my car did, but it will dry and fluff the clothes as well. It is loaded with energy saving features and can even suck water from the bathtub to clean the clothes. It has special modes for shoes, hats, stuffed animals, and all manner of things that might get dirty. Yamada Denki won’t negotiate price quite as much as other Denki-ya-san’s, but they give points that can be spent like cash at the store. Free points from the Washer and AC units paid for: the fridge, a mini SD card for my cell phone, and an adaptor to transfer cell phone files through USB. I still have about 8000 yen leftover to buy other goodies.

Monday the cable company arrives to connect me to 50 channels of garbage in four languages, but more importantly to a high-speed internet connection, and an IP phone. I will be able to make cheap calls around Japan and 8 yen per minute calls to America. Up to now, I have been stingy about calling the US because of prohibitively high rates.

Regarding work, my two ‘sure thing’ classes cancelled out. One student has to take care of her 88 year old father who collapsed a month ago. Another student lost her job and her brother has to double up on his piano lessons because he plans to study piano in Russia for 8 years. My guaranteed income has dropped to less than 10% of my expected bills. This is a little troubling, but this week I got some bites that look serious and they are very connected, so making them happy could earn word of mouth advertising.

Looks like April will be spent earnestly hunting for customers.

Since I have officially been on vacation, I made it a point to go on a trip. I picked up the Joli family at 6am on Tuesday in my ‘open car’ and we headed to Owase for ohaka mairi, which is the monthly practice of visiting family gravesites. We also continued south to Kumano and saw a place called Oni ga Jou (Devil’s Castle) where waves travel thousands of kilometers before carving away the face of the mountain. I wanted to go swimming, but it was suggested I should wait for warmer weather – and a safer beach. The adjacent beach was covered with perfectly tumbled stones of about ten different varieties, which I found perplexing. I am used to seeing beaches with predominantly one single type of stone.

Kumano is also renowned for an ancient stone road from there which connects to Ise, Nara, and Kyoto. It is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site. Shinto pilgrims used to travel the length of the road in grass slippers. Today people go by bus to stop at various junction points and gaze at the gorgeous moss-covered stones. I would like to try walking the entire course, but have no set plan to do so.

Tomorrow I will head to Inazawa to hook up with folks there who I haven’t seen in months. I was planning to drive up and show off my cute set of wheels, but Sunday afternoon they want me to go to a hanami party to view cherry blossoms. Since this type of party usually involves quaffing sake, I will have to go by train. I would stay Sunday night as well, but don’t want to risk missing my appointment with the cable guy.

This is my last two hours of work. I arrived to find students impressions of their experience with me written on posters (mostly in Japanese). And, very good news: my achievement certificate stating that I passed the Kanji Test for Level 7. As expected, I didn’t study enough – barely meeting the 70% requirement with my 140/200. I will study the material again until I can pass a sample test at better than 90 percent before studying for level 6. My not so lofty goal for this year is to pass level 5, signifying sufficient knowledge of the 1000+ characters taught in elementary school.

I would set higher goals, but I hope to take the JLPT in December and my shuji advancement takes precendence over all of these.

Monday I hope to make an inaugaral post from my new home. Barring unforseen problems, I will make sure to include at least one photo. Until then…

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4 Responses to “Moved and (Somewhat) Settled”

  1. Keven Says:

    I’m glad to hear you’re getting settled in. Remember that in business, you should expect at least a year of negative income. I hope you have enough is savings not to fret too much though I’m sure it’s a bit ‘scary’ to be making only 10% of expenses! 😛

  2. びっくり Says:

    Just got my Cable TV, IP Phone, and high speed internet connected!

    While the Cable guys were here I got several phone calls from the school and the school board. Looks like they want me to work for them from April through August because they can’t get a teacher until September. This might work out well for me since I don’t have a load of students like I expected. They’ll be calling in 10 minutes with more details.

    Anyhow, I have internet! That’s all that really matters. 😉

  3. sunkissd1 Says:

    Congrats on all that has been accomplished and/or completed!! The rest will fall into place… Ü

  4. How Quickly We Forget « Neo-新びっくりブログ Says:

    […] barely passed the level 7 test, which checks 640 characters, and failed the level 6 test, which checks 825 characters. From […]

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