I have been in Japan for over two weeks now. I feel about as adjusted as I could wish for. I have an apartment filled with everything I will ever need. I have battled the Japanese grocery store and reined victorious… relatively speaking. But as I have been thinking about what to tell everyone back home I have been stumped. So much has happened in two weeks that to tell you all of it would be extremely long so I will try and give a short account of a few funny circumstances.
1. I was sitting and listening to a Japanese conversation and was only partially aware of what the topic was. Suddenly everyone started laughing. I obviously missed the punch line, but I was still determined to have input in the excitement. I attempted to say the word for “that’s funny or interesting.” Instead I recited the following phrase with the utmost confidence and assurance that it was the appropriate response: “Oishashiburi des” which happens to mean, “long time no see.” And thus a humiliating moment for the white guy.
2. Japanese toilets are a species set apart from all other bathroom technology. No wiping is necessary for many of these contraptions because they will clean you, dry you and from what I understand, sometimes spray your behind with perfume. I knew all of these things before coming to Japan and once again my pride was cut down by the Japanese culture. All the other bathrooms were occupied at this restaurant called “Yeast Paradise,” so I decided to use the handicapped bathroom. After all, there were no handicapped people in line! I would have considered the bathroom visit a success until the very end when the time came to flush. There was no handle to push… and no visible button. All that existed was an electronic key pad with a bunch of similar looking options all written in Japanese. I chose the biggest option and pressed the key only to set off and alarm! The toilet was calling for assistance for the handicapped guest (me) who apparently had notified the restaurant staff that he couldn’t get up! At that point I knew I had to get out of there fast! I ignored the gift that I left in the toilet and ran out of the building acting as if nothing had happened! Strike two for foreigner!
3. I live by myself in an apartment situated on the third floor of the building. Since I don’t have a roommate, I feel no qualms about walking around in my underwear. Don’t judge me! You would too if it was this hot in you kitchen! You’ve got to cool off somehow! Either way, I am not used to living in a big city… where people can just see into your windows. I looked out the window to see a few children pointing at my window and laughing… it took me a few seconds to realize that they could see me standing there in my undees! I have learned to close the curtains! At least I wasn’t dancing to the music I was listening to!!
Not all of my actions have ended in failure! Just the funny ones! School starts this week and hopefully the gospel choirs will be up and running soon as well! I will update about those things as soon as I can. Hope you all are well! And thanks for your prayers!