日本での一年間

August 31, 2010

My Neighborhood

Filed under: Inaka Life, seikatsu — myyearinjapan @ 11:58 pm

As I mentioned before, the area I live in is fairly rural. Unlike the states, for example, where rural means houses that are miles apart, a separation that gives people a lot of privacy, rural Japanese homes tend to be found in clumps. A group in homes may be surrounded by rice fields and hills without much else, but the people who live in each house are isolated from everyone else.

A view from my apartment. There are several houses by my apartment and just past them, tons of rice fields.

A view from my apartment. There are several houses by my apartment and just past them, tons of rice fields.

A bus stop and a mailbox

Near my apartment, a cute little bus stop next to a mailbox that's almost the same size.

Rice fields with the hospital in the distance

Rice fields aplenty and in the distance is the hospital.

A rural vending machine

Even in the middle of nowhere, you can live with convenience. The red box in the lower right corner is a vending machine.

Field

Not just rice, but veggies are also grown near my apartment.

August 20, 2010

My Apartment

Filed under: Inaka Life, seikatsu — myyearinjapan @ 4:14 am

The apartment has 3 rooms, plus a kitchen, plus a bathroom/laundry room, plus an entrance way area. In other words, I live in a palatial residence compared to the closet I lived in in Tokyo. I now live in an apartment so big, it has it’s own closet.

Anyway, before I get to the apartment itself, let me briefly show you what the area is like.

アパートの外から見える景色

This is the view from outside the front of my apartment and also the view I get from my kitchen window. Not too shabby, eh?

アパートの外見

My building. It has about 10 apartments in total.

玄関
The entranceway at my apartment. This is where I keep my shoes. No shoes inside please! (sorry that it’s blurry!)
寝室

My bedroom. I have not slept in here yet because this room has no air conditioning.

居間

This is the main room in my apartment and the only room with air conditioning or heat. I pretty much spend all my time here. The mats on the floor are called tatami and are typical of traditional Japanese homes.The three doors lead to the entranceway, bedroom, and my western wood floored room going left to right.

また、居間

This is the same room as seen when looking from the other side. Sorry for the mess.

台所

My kitchen! Where I cook things!

キッチンから見える湯室・洗濯機

Looking into the bathroom from the kitchen. I have a laundry machine and vanity. The toilet is in a seperate water closet and the shower/bath is a seperate room.

お風呂

This is the shower/bath. It's like a little closet with a drain at the bottom so you can spill water anywhere in the room and it won't get anywhere where it isn't supposed to be. The bath is really deep, but it's square so you would have to sit with your knees hugged to your chest to fit.

August 17, 2010

Back in Japan

Filed under: Events — myyearinjapan @ 3:00 am

Well, here I am again. I’m an in Japan once again and it is time to ressurect this blog.

I am no longer a student, but a working stiff, a “society person (社会人),” as they say in Japanese.

Another big difference between my time in Japan before this time: location. I was studying near Tokyo, a giant metropolis with 12 million people in the city itself and 35 million in the metro area. Now I’m in a “city” of 40,000 people that is actually made up of 6 sprawling towns that cover an area 1/4 the size of Tokyo. These 6 towns merged several years ago because their population has been shrinking at a steady rate. It’s hard to believe that Japan has sharply declining birth rates when you live in Tokyo (especially when you live down the street from a Toys R Us, as I did), but here it is much more obvious. The grocery store is filled with little old ladies with hunched backs slowly pushing their shopping carts.

Also, since most people here drive, they have a different sense of distance from people in Tokyo. Tokyo is a very big city and the downtown areas are not all collected in one place. Most Tokyoites tend to think of distance in terms of the train. They know how long it would take to get from one place to another on the JR train and the metro, but they have no sense of the true distance between these possibly far flung locations. Here, with very little public transportation, most people drive. They drive everywhere. And they think of car distances. When I asked someone where the nearest post office was, I was told it would be much too far to walk and might as far as a kilometer (in other words, a 10 minute walk). They’re just as lazy as Americans! And just as likely to leave their cars running to pop into a shop for a minute…

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