Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Learning a lot!

The last few days have been VERY informative.  I have been exposed to a lot of Japanese culture.
Monday I met Pam, at City Hall to register.  Pam speaks Japanese and is very knowledgeable of how the Japanese work.  I had received a card from immigration when I flew in and I had to take that to city hall to get them to write my address down and stamp the card.  It took about an hour plus.  The interesting thing there was that the Vander Haaks are the head of household and mail would be delivered here, but the postman would not know what to do with mail that was addressed to me.  Here the address does not specifically identify the house, but a neighborhood and with two different names with the same address could confuse the postman.  To resolve the issue, we agreed that we would put my name on the mailbox to the postman will know what to do with my mail.
  This is Brian and Bette's present mailbox.  They will have to add my name to it at some point. If you would like to know my address, send me an email and I'll let you know.
After the visit to city hall, I went with Naoko (whose son I will be teaching this year) to the Resona Bank to open an account.  I found things are very precise.  I have been writing LANGELAAR WINNIFRED DIANE on many a document, including at the bank.  What was really interesting is at one point I had to write my name in Katakana, which is one of the alphabets used in Japan.  This is what I had to copy onto the application form at the bank.  ランゲラア ウィンニフレド ダイアン  They wouldn't allow the person who was with me to write it. The one thing is they are very meticulous and check every single letter.  I had to write my full name every time because that is what is on the passport.  I love it that I get all these brochures explaining how to do things, like telephone banking, internet banking etc. but they look like this...

Any volunteers to help translate that for me?  I did end up with a bank book and will get a bank card in the mail sometime soon.

After completing all that, and heading back to the school, I went out for lunch with Brian and Rita (a fellow Canadian).  When we went I decided I wanted to try out eating with chopsticks. We went to Manshu and I had some cold noodle dish with seaweed, pork, and sprouts.  I did ok, but had some sort of dumpling as well, which was difficult to manage with chopsticks and I cheated, using a fork.  By the end of the meal though, it seemed like the fine motor skills were coming back to me and I was able to work the dumplings.  It probably was painful to watch me, but at least I am practicing.
Today was the day Jimmy (a person who works at the school) came with me to translate while I got my cell phone.  That only took two hours!  Again lots of forms, filling in full names.  I didn't have my name written in Katakama today and they were working through my name trying to figure out what characters to use.  It was a bit humorous listening to them trying to sound out my name.  Bette and I both had smiles on our faces.  I'm sure they will be smiling just as much when I try to speak!
By the time we were finished, it was lunchtime and we went to Saizeria, which is an Italian type of restaurant.  They didn't even have chopsticks, but the full set of cutlery.  Yes, I opted to use the fork.  :)
On our drive home from CAJ after lunch, Bette stopped in the Daiso, which is like a Dollar Store.  It has a wide range of things to purchase.
Inside the Daiso

Some items in The Daiso

This afternoon I took Hana, the Vander Haak's black lab, for a walk.  I was able to go down to the river and watch some of the older men fishing.  Sorry, forgot my camera.  I'll catch it next time.
For those of you who don't have Facebook or Twitter, I plan to upload more pictures on Flickr.  You can check them out here.  www.flickr.com/photos/wlangelaar

No comments:

Post a Comment