Thanks to Mom for the subtle hint to update my blog. Yes, I'm an American living in Japan, and yes, most Westerners think of living in Japan as something quite exciting or exotic or strange, and yes, they'd be somewhat correct, but really most of that wears off after a few months and one's life quickly becomes ordinary. Our lives must become ordinary—our brains require it, I think, and without ordinary life we'd all become somewhat mentally ill.
The other day I came home at 8:30pm and thought to myself, Wow, I bet I could do TWO loads of laundry before ten o'clock. And I did. And it was good.
Such has become my life.
I've just returned home from eating out with Rebecca. We had dinner at Minari, a restaurant in Minari (they're not really the same name; they sound the same, but the kanji are different), which is the village in Nita where I live. I know the guy who owns the place (see the beginning of this post), and he gave us free ice cream at the end of our meal. It was funny, really: we'd finished eating and had decided we'd go to Poplar (the local convenience store) for ice cream when our dinner was half-digested, and after sitting around and talking for about an hour, we were just shifting our weight to get up when Ko-chan brought us two dishes of black sesame ice cream. Lucky!
The recontracters' conference in Kobe the other week was good. Those of use who live out in the sticks welcomed the opportunity to spend some time in a large city. It's different living in a city. You can ride the train for fifteen minutes, get off at a stop near the center of downtown, then think, How shall I entertain myself? Walk five or ten minutes, and entertain yourself, then walk another five or ten minutes and entertain yourself some other way. It's nice. Living in the sticks requires more planning than that.
The people who were at this conference were the same people we were with in Tokyo when we arrived (at one of the post-arrival orientations), but as Mabel pointed out, it was very different. At the recontracters' conference there was no mention of how weird Japan is or how scary it is to be living so far from home. Nothing about natto or whether Japanese toothpaste contains fluoride. In short, we've all sort of gotten the hang of it. And that's a nice feeling.