It’s been over a month and I still don’t know how to navigate the grocery store

Hello friends! It’s been over a week since my last blog post and over a month now since I landed here in Japan and began calling it home. I believe that this occasion deserves it’s own blogpost where I can discuss some things that I have learned and maybe have not learned yet. Not a super comprehensive list, but you get the picture. Enjoy πŸ™‚

List of things that I have learned:

Fresh fruit and vegetables are expensive. I’ve resorted to buying more seasonal fruits which is different from living in Canada where they outsource a lot of their fruits from faraway countries. Where I live, I bought a full watermelon yesterday for about $7 which Tori and I will split. That may sound expensive, but that’s more than 50% off some other prices that I’ve seen. Apples are $2 each which makes me a bit sad since we’re approaching apple and pumpkin season in Toronto where we normally get bucket loads of apples. A package of 5 bananas is usually reasonable at about $2-3. In addition, I’ve purchased more frozen fruits and have been enjoying them more because they don’t go as bad quickly in this humidity. Previous purchases include asparagus, green beans, mushrooms and broccoli. It’s easy to steam them and just eat them like that. Groceries are expensive in general… thanks mom and dad for feeding me when I was at home!

Drivers in Canada are bad? So are drivers in Japan… No matter where you go in the world, there’s bound to be at least one aggressive driver…. or grandmother biking down the narrow alleyway where you have a huge blindspot behind the building and even though you’re slowly pulling out of the driveway she whips past you and you have a heart attack. I’ve had my fair share of bad drivers in parking lots here where they see you pulling out and just cut you off. GEE THANKS. I’ve learned just to take it easy, use the huge mirrors they like to place at corners and be cautious for aggressive cyclists and moms driving to Daiso.

Teachers and students are at school for a long time. Teaching and going to school in Japan is no joke. Students are involved in all sorts of after school activities ranging from sports like volleyball, baseball and basketball to music groups such as chorus or the art department. I’ve seen some students go home at 7 pm and I shake my head in wonder. Many of the teachers drive from Oita City to here, which is about an hour every morning. Some of them have children that go to highschool in Oita city, yet they live here, prompting for an extra early morning to help them catch that first 6:10AM train. The teachers will also stay past 6PM many days, planning for the next day or grading papers. and are so useful to purchase items. You can purchase so many international brands on iherb such as Emergen-C (because I just keep getting a cold ugh). Amazon has some things that are cheaper than in store but I don’t like wasting packaging or fuel costs when I could probably find it in the store. I’ll probably buy some english books from them soon… so if you have any recommendations for books please let me know πŸ™‚

It gets lonely sometimes. But that’s what having a neighbour is for (Hi Tori!!!) and you can lie on their floor speaking in a faster than normal English pace because you’re tired of speaking so slowly all day . I also fill my time with hobbies such as growing plants, watching all the TV I missed out while in university, learning Japanese, cooking etc. On the weekends we’ll sometimes hang out with other ALTs from the surrounding towns. Thank you dad for teaching me how to drive so that we can get to places!

It takes about 2 weeks for regular mail to arrive. It takes about 2 weeks for a letter from North America to arrive here in Oita. I sent a larger package out earlier this month using express shipping and it only took 3 days for 2000 yen which isn’t terrible. I love sending and receiving mail. Please send me mail and I will send you mail back!

It rains a lot during this season. Get over it.

List of things that I have not learned:

It’s freaking hard to navigate the grocery store. I have no idea which soy sauce to buy because there are 30 different types. I’m intimidated by the fish and meat section (so I’ve gone almost vegetarian) because I don’t recognize any of the fish and am not sure what is what. I’m also annoyed that I can’t read the signs for each aisle, thus when I need to find a bottle of pepper I have to scour every single aisle.

How to manage my time better and not procrastinate. I really want to learn Japanese but I’m still trying to figure out a better schedule and method for myself to sit down and learn. My attention span is really short and I’m having a hard time scheduling in time and not procrastinating when trying to finish online modules etc. How do you self-teach a language? Please help!

Rules of the road. There are still many times when I second guess myself if I am allowed to take a right turn into a parking lot from my position on the road or what a sign means. Maybe I should read a rule book…

β€œosaki ni shitsurei-shimasu” (please pardon my leaving earlier; γŠε…ˆγ«ε€±η€Όγ—γΎγ™) I awkwardly leave the teachers room saying “Bye!” in English because I still have so much trouble memorizing and pronouncing the above phrase. otsukaresama deshita, which is the response to the phrase is so much easier to remember.

The names of students. To be fair I have over 300 students spread between 2 schools. It’s only been just over a week and a bit and Japanese names are harder for me to learn. I’ve learned maybe 15 names because some of the students are super insistent of me remembering their names…

It rains a lot during this season. Still can’t get over it. Why must we get sandwiched by typhoons. When will the rain come? When will the rain stop? Will we ever get a break? I suppose only time will tell… If it’s raining next weekend I’m going to do a hike fuelled by passionate anger…

Well, those are some of my lessons learned and not learned so far. I have so far managed to sustain myself and cook, clean and bathe at regular intervals so yay adulting. If you have any fun activities that you do to kill…. I mean be productive with your time, please let me know I’d love to hear them.

Until next time!



One Thought to “It’s been over a month and I still don’t know how to navigate the grocery store”

  1. Jasna

    It sounds that you have so much fun over-there. Next year we will go apple picking ….
    As an old fashion lady, I suggest knitting in the rainy days like these πŸ™‚

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