Recently my days are so swarmed with activity that I can’t recall everything without looking back at my calendar, but let’s take a look at a few recent activities, not in order.
- Called my mom – Having no phone, nor internet has left me incommunicado. Of course, people can call my cell phone from America, but I can’t call them back. Many people are nervous about time differences, strange messages not in English, etc. I picked up a calling card which still runs about 50 cents a minute and grabbed 15 minutes in front of the station in the phone booth (which is like Alec Guiness’s hot box in Bridge over the River Kwai.)
- Ordered internet service – One trip to the hot box was enough incentive. Actually, one problem here was a need to go during business hours, but I found a little time. They are waiving about 500 dollars in hook-up fees through the end of July, so I was happy to get in under the wire. Yes, I said waiving $500 in connection fees; it costs over $700 to connect to cable in Japan. It also costs a couple hundred to disconnect. Starting August 3rd, I can make more regular updates.
- Bought another round of bookshelves and storage bins – The front room is almost in order. I do have a lot of goods needing a home, but might opt for the wasteful path of throwing things out.
- Built bookshelves and tidied up – phase three will start soon; tidier is better.
- Helped a friend finalize their souvenir shopping before returning to America.
- Entertained the (future) parents-in-law – this was sudden and unexpected, but a lot of fun. Sure am glad for the tidying up that had just taken place.
- Visited my friend’s new baby – Just three and a half days old and cute as a button. Mom is looking amazingly well-rested and happy. Baby is strong and has positive features from both folks.
- Visited my girlfriend’s 95 year old grandmother – probably the kindest reception I have gotten anywhere. She has many features in common with my girlfriend and her father: physical and otherwise. I note an extremely strong spirit and great kindness as family features, but they always laugh at me when I say this. I think most people have trouble seeing kindness in their own father.
Of course, all of this activity occurred just on the weekend. I got a number of laundry loads in as well and line-dried them, hauled out recycling from all the purchases, ate five meals out, and squeezed in some internet cafe time and half a TV show episode. Some of the time was created when calligraphy class got moved to Friday afternoon.
Monday, I’m off to Shigaraki to learn about pottery and make a purchase, then to the in-laws’ to practice Shakuhachi, record English conversations, and do a little pottery. Home at night and up the next morning for a trip to Immigrations…