That said, i'm gonna list a series of events to give you a quick overview of the past few days. (Wow, they've gone by fast!) If your interested, read on. If not, feel free to skip past the list.
- on-time flights
- tasty food on planes messed up my digestive system
- sat beside a very nice Thai lady, named Ann, who lives in Florida
- nice MeySen staff picked us up at the airport to bus us to our new homes
- met the other new hires
- stopped for Japanese food on the way to Sendai (although i felt too blah to eat anything)
- didn't sleep more than four hours the first night
- got health insurance card
- got re-entry visa (a normal visa doesn't let you come back into the country once you leave)
- registered as an alien
- started a bank account
- didn't eat much (was still sick)
- explored the area a little
- went out for Korean BBQ but only ate miso soup and two tiny pieces of pork
- got about eight hours of sleep!
- went to the immigration ward
- ate some food
- had an orientation
- a tour of some of the local stores
Japan is very unlike the US. People are pretty chill here. ... At least, that's what i've gathered so far. Crime? Not much. Health insurance? Cheap. People are very respectful. You don't have a bunch of coffee-drinking jerks who are speeding to their job (and endangering everyone else) because they spent too much time choosing their outfit for the day. Am i preemptively generalizing? Indeed. But it's definitely noticeably different! I can't get over how industrious the people are at their jobs. I don't know how much money they're making, but you'd think -- based on their work ethics -- that each day's pay is based on that day's performance.
Driving is on the left side of the road and steering wheels are on the right. The turn signal and wiper levers are switched and 'no turn on red' is always the rule. The gear shift is on your left. Insulation in the houses? What's insulation? No. No insulation. Cold? Yes. We make use of kerosene and other space heaters. You only heat what needs to be heated when it needs to be heated. (If you're rich enough to heat everything all day long, i suppose you might as well invest in insulating your home.) The bathrooms aren't heated. You'd probably expect to cringe as you sit on the toilet seat ... but you will find -- much to your delight -- that the toilet seats are heated! In fact, there's a high-low setting!
A small living space is cheaper to heat and cool. The appliances are compact and get the job done with minimal energy consumption. Everything is efficient here. No wonder so many non-Americans think of Americans as wasteful. You know how most US recycling companies will only recycle certain things? Japan recycles everything that can possible be recycled. The cars are efficient; many people walk, ride bikes, or take public transportation. As for friendliness, when you walk into a store or restaurant, you're greeted by a friendly person. (Maybe Sam Walton spent some time in Japan and applied it to Walmart.)
Of course, Japan has its downfalls too. But i'm not about to pick apart the country i've just recently called my home.
"What about MeySen?!" you may be wondering. Well, it's spectacular!!!!!!!! I couldn't have dreamed up a better work environment. From the top down, the place is founded on and functions under the authority of the Bible. The parents know and agree to it, although very few of them are believers in Jesus. Their own curriculum is revolutionizing language acquisition ... worldwide! This place is just beyond words! Even if there are words for it, i'm too tired to express them right now. :o) (Tonight, i won't be posting the few photos i've snapped so far. I gotta get to sleep, but you'll see the photos eventually.)
I'm in a lot of pain (back problems) and tired as i'm typing, so i hope this all made sense, didn't offend anyone, and that i didn't ramble on too much. As always, thanks so much for reading!
† jake †