The following are from the countryside in Chiba, Japan. Just enjoy. * Play music at the bottom of this post before going through the pictures for an awesome experience.
Hello Groovy People.
This will be a multipart blog series about Japan and all things Japan related. Since I lived there for a year, I have discovered many things that may help future travelers. Each section is about different things one may encounter while living abroad in the land of the rising sun.
Getting around in Japan can be easy depending on where you are. If you were in a rural area, or countryside, going places requires a car. If you live or vacation in Tokyo, then you are in luck. All the hot spots are just a train stop away. The best part is that it’s really cheap. For example, my former town was Futako Tamagawa. To go to Shibuya, Roppongi, or even Mitaka, cost less than or about 10USD roundtrip. I guess I can compare traveling from Maplewood New Jersey to New York, which costs 15USD roundtrip. The best thing about the trains in Tokyo, is that round trips are very cheap, even if the destination is 10 or 40 minutes away. You basically get more for your money.
The Japanese are known for their attention to detail and punctuality. Most people in the world like to be one time. The trains in Tokyo are always on time. I mean always on time! It is rare when they are late, and even so, they will apologize to make up for it. There’s also no guess work about where you get on the train. The doors always open in designated spots, which are marked, on the station floor. If you are running late yourself, then there will always be another train ready to take you within minutes. The massive system that is Japan Railways, is the most organized system around. I would compare it to the Metro in Washington.
Japan, like America, has many small stores such as 7eleven. However, while most shops have candy bars and very limited food, Japan’s stores have an abundance of yummies that exceed any other in the states.
Japan has 3 convenience stores that I frequent during my stay. There was 7eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson. There are many more, but for now I’ll only speak about the ones I went to. Each of those 3 stores had delicious, and healthy meals. They served perfectly portioned bento boxes, which are lunch boxes. Not the type your mom used to make with the cartoon characters on the side. These are meals that can vary from rice, meat, and vegetables, or soup bowls, which can include noodles. There are different types of noodles you can eat. You can have udon (thick noodles), soba (which is normally eaten cold), or thinner noodles (like ramen). These soup bowls come with vegetables and/or meat, such as seafood. There’s normally a sauce or broth that can be heated up by the store clerk at the counter. They will even ask you if you want your food heated up. This will be in Japanese, but the sentence is “atame masu ka”. If you are quick to eat it, then say “hai” which means yes. Or if you don’t need it heated up, you can say “daijoubu” or that’s ok.
The best thing about convenience stores, is that they all sell similar foods, and many other different ones. Rice balls are a great lunch or snack. There are many kinds, like shrimp, salmon, salmon roe (fish eggs), natto (fermented soy beans), and much more. The variety at these stores is endless, and I only mentioned 3 that I went to. Trust me when I say there are many more that sell even more yummy options for food. Did I mention they’re not that expensive?
If you are lucky enough to find one of these, then you must go inside! Daiso is what a dollar store should base their existence around. They sell anything you need for the house. You need a small garbage bin, Daiso has it. You need garbage bags? Daiso. You need a belt? Daiso. You need picture frames and a yoga mat? Daiso. Markers and other stationary for work? Daiso. Cups, plates, mugs, bleach? Daiso.
These are just some of the many things you can buy at Daiso. The quality is very good, if not out of character for a dollar store. While some items like a belt may be 2 or 5 dollars, most of the items I mentioned are only 1 dollar. I bought many things for my apartment from Daiso. Daiso is what you need for life and yes, you must go.
Have you ever looked outside a restaurant and thought, can this be a good place to eat? Then you get inside, sit down, and realize, you hate the food? Don’t you wish you could see what they are selling like a display window for clothes? Then Japan has you covered. Japan has a great way of letting you know what you are getting even before you step inside a restaurant. There are always wax replicas of the food, usually along with the price. That way, you can see the portion size and cost, in case you are the frugal type. Even if you aren’t, reading menus in Japanese can be difficult. So seeing the food, will let you know what’s inside, and if it’s worth the money.
Japan is a wonderful country. Not perfect, but the list of convenient things are just breathtaking. Stay tuned for more information about Japan. If you want specific blogs about certain things in Japan, please message your comment below.
Until next time…
Hello groovy people. It has been a few weeks since I came back to New Jersey and I am busy! Between working on personal things, I am also trying to find a job. I started my Kickstarter project, but have very low expectations. I have been looking at a few editors and places to work on my book. However, things are at a weird standstill. Nothing is set in stone, and I’m bored. Life in New Jersey is very different from Tokyo.
In Tokyo, everything was accessible. The train station was a five minute walk from my apartment, and it was very cheap to go to any of the other towns. To get to New York cost $31! There is literally nothing to do in my current town. I find myself sleeping more, which is triggering old issues I’ve dealt with in the past.
Overall, I am trying to stay positive, but it is hard. Although I am lucky to live with my family, and they are supportive, going from an independent woman, to a jobless mooch is hard. The transition was not easy due to my last week in Japan being a perpetual hell. Regardless, I will keep making myself get out of bed and complete all of my tasks.
Good news though. I have recently started working on my fourth book. It is more science fictiony. A separate post will be about that book soon.
Until next time…
Oh wow I haven’t written anything in weeks. I’ve been adjusting to many things while living in Japan.
We are starting the hot summer months and it is quite humid here. Being from NJ I am not oblivious to heat or humidity. We get our fair share of wet days in the summer months too.
I must note that despite coming from a climate that is similar to Japan, I still hate the heat. It’s not fun and there is no way to relax except for the breeze of an air conditioner.
The Japanese however have made efforts to combat such heat in the form of food. My friend Naomi had taught me how to make Somen (sow men). It is a cold noodle dish that is best served with a dipping sauce littered with ice cubes.
This dish is amazing and something that is easy even for me to make.
A great side dish to go with this meal is a fish roll called Chi-Ku-Wa. Having vegetables with it is also a plus as it will only complement an already healthy meal.
It has been a long while since I’ve posted anything. I am in the middle of Golden Week here in Japan. I’ve been spending my days hanging out with friends and enjoying my time away from work.
I’ve gone to Harajuku, aka the fashion hub for all the eccentric. There I went to the Monster Cafe, which is a few minutes from Takeshita Street. At the cafe there are 4 themed rooms. Every hour, the “monsters” perform a dance on the moving carousel. They went to my table and greeted us! I was star strucked LOL Even I don’t know why. haha
Another day, I went to Roppongi, aka the foreign hub for all things outsider. There I was able to get a perm! Yay!
Today, I went to Shibuya to make a parfait candle. This is for my mum as she does like the color blue. I also like the color blue. LOL I think I will keep this new hobby.
So a few weeks ago I came to Japan for my job as an English language teacher. For my free time those first few days, I hung out with my fellow English teachers to a few places like Kyoto and Okayama. Let’s just say it was so much fun connecting to so many wonderful people. This kind of support makes living in a foreign country a bit easier.
I’ll try to upload more pictures and write more posts when I’m not too busy. Working is very busy and now that I have a social life, I find my time for me dwindling. Finding balance is my goal at this point. Hahaha
So now is the time where it is starting to sink in. I am about to leave and work for a year in Japan. Wow!!
I have decided to perm my hair. As much as I would love to keep my naturalness, my hair has become psycho curly since my last post, and I have enough to deal with at the moment. By the way, I also have a throat infection. Great 😦
I am pretty happy and recently went to NY to apply for my visa. It was very efficient and only lasted 20 minutes. haha. I am eager to enjoy my last 2 weeks, get my hair permed by my mama, and eat myself into an oblivion. haha just kidding about that last part.
I hope to post a few more things before I leave, and start my youtube channel in April.
I haven’t written anything as of late(referring to my novels). I was working briefly as a preschool teacher, which was how I got sick. haha. Children, the gift that keeps on giving. 🙂
To be honest, working as a prek teacher was a great way for me to get back into the mindset of a teacher before I travel to Japan. After all, I haven’t taught from December until February. That was a long time of doing nothing and just vegging out.
Oh and if you haven’t subscribed to my youtube channel, just go to the tab “When In Tokyo” and subscribe!