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And the Adventure Begins

Though not necessarily a gastronomic adventure, an adventure of another sort starts taking place in less than 24 hours.

We’re catching a flight to San Francisco tomorrow morning where we’ll spend the night with friends (with some shopping and eating thrown in for good measure) before catching a Sunday morning flight from San Francisco to Tokyo. We are scheduled to arrive in Tokyo on Monday afternoon (between 10.5 – 11 hours later…yawn).

After Randy registers with the ward office (the local city hall for the Minato-ku district of Tokyo) on Tuesday morning, we’ll go into hardcore apartment hunting mode on Wednesday through Friday. I’ve got my eyes set on a few particular buildings that I hope still have availability. My top choice has fluctuated from a building just a block or two from Randy’s office to two others buildings a bit further away, mainly because the building near his office doesn’t appear to have operable windows. The building looks to possibly be the nicest, but I’m not sure how comfortable I would be in a building where I can’t get fresh air.

What if my cooking stinks up (or smokes up) the apartment? For the record, I’m a horrible cook. It’s rare that I prepare anything on the stove that doesn’t cause our fire alarm to go off. Besides, effective this weekend the last of Japan’s nuclear reactors is going off-line as a result of the earthquake last year. That means they have 30% less power available to consumers, and a higher likelihood or rolling brown outs during the summer months. I’m not sure I can handle no ventilation at all in a city with an average high of 89 degrees and high humidity.

The other buildings offer windows that open and even have balconies. One even has a British pub on the ground floor (yay – comfort food). The other has a market across the street. Decisions, decisions.

Next weekend, we’ll take the train to Costco and IKEA to see what necessities we can pick up for the future apartment. We need to determine what items are more cost effective to ship versus purchase new, like cookware, silverware, vacuum, fans, linens…even spices and such.

Oh, and then the scary part: on Monday I’ll interview with my top choice for a Japanese Language School. Yep, I’ll be taking a course to learn Japanese while I’m there (partially to make living there more manageable, but mostly because it’s the only way I can secure a visa since the country won’t recognize me as Randy’s spouse). This does concern me, I must admit. As a kid (8th grade through 12th grade) learning a new language wasn’t difficult for me. But studies have shown that learning a new language as you get older is more difficult and that the best time is actually elementary school. Japanese is often considered the most difficult language to learn so I fear I’ve got my work cut out for me. Hell, I took French at Harvard Extension School a few years ago and found it much more difficult to grasp than I found it in 8th grade when I last took a semester of French. And the French conjugate their verbs and have similar sentence structures as we do in English.

At least I don’t think my visa is contingent upon passing.


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