Butters in Japan
So I guess I've taken a long enough hiatus from my blog. So without further ado lets just jump right in...
As many of you know I moved to Kyoto, Japan a few months ago. After a very anticlimactic and sombre experience living in Hiroshima back in 2012-2013, I decided to give life in Japan another shot. To sum up my experience in Hiroshima in a few words... It was not what I was hoping for. There are many reasons that it was not a great experience, but that is all in the past now. So lets get on with present.
Life is SOOOO different here in Kyoto and I couldn't be more proud of myself for deciding to take the leap of faith once more. Everyday presents new challenges and obstacles to overcome, but this go around I see them as learning experiences and not as annoying speed bumps. Since I always like to end on a good note, lets start with the nitty gritty:
Almost every time I go to a Japanese restaurant they automatically bring me an English menu. Even though first thing I do when I come into the restaurant is speak to them in Japanese. Sure, sometimes I would like the English version, but 95% of the time I don't. Not to mention that's pretty racist, but I understand their intentions are good so I just brush it off.
Then sometimes if they speak to me in Keigo, which is VERY polite Japanese, I don't understand and I just sit there feeling incredibly defeated. Having studied the language for a while now, I still feel so frustrated that it is so difficult and sometimes have moments of self doubt.
Anytime I use chopsticks Japanese people feel the need to express to me how amazing I am at using chopsticks. Is this really such a admirable skill? I think not... So that's just a small annoyance, but still a bit silly that it's brought up so often. Lots of my friends in America can use chopsticks and that's completely normal.
Dealing with bills and daily errands can be unpleasant. Even the most mundane and simple task becomes a small battle and so learning to be okay with asking for help is a must, "how do I do this?", "where should I go?", "what should I bring?", "how do I say that in Japanese?" and the list goes on and on.
4) Rock Climbing
I wont spend too long on this one.... The gyms are super expensive and without a local climbing "crew" I haven't had the chance to climb super often inside or outside. I did recently receive training gear from a company called Three Ball Climbing and now I can train on my own. So now I feel like I'm really starting to find my rhythm again.
Now for the good points...
Food in Japan is amazing and I've only had sushi I think two or three times since I've been here (try more than just sushi and ramen if you visit)! Japanese food really does deserve it's own blog post in my opinion. So I'll keep this short and sweet. Japanese food is good, like over level 9,000 good. And you won't find authentic Japanese food unless you come to Japan. Trust me I've tried to find it in the states and it's just not the same. So come to Japan. Eat all the noms. That is all.
Kyoto is an amazing city and the most popular place for tourists. "Why?", you might ask. Well, because Kyoto was Japan's original capital. This city has so much to do you really won't ever get bored. From temples and shrines to rivers and monkey mountains there is always something to see. Not to mention the location of Kyoto is right in the middle of Japan so making day trips to most locations outside of Kyoto is possible. Everything is just a train ride away.
3) Public Transportation
Trains, bullet trains, subways, trolley cars, buses, boats, rickshaws, magic carpets... If it exists, Japan will have it. And not only will they have it, but it will almost always be on time. Sure, I do miss having a car, but I get along just fine without one in Japan and that's thanks to the public transportation system. No car insurance or paying for gas... I could get used to this.
While the language is a bittersweet experience for me, everyday I learn something new and hearing it all around me has really improved my skillzz ^_^. When I first started learning Japanese listening was the most difficult part of the language for me and it still is difficult, but it has improved so much. Now the only reason I can't understand is because they speak way too fast or I simply just don't know the vocabulary, which I still don't know a lot so sometimes I get completely lost.
Recently though I've noticed lots of people who can speak multiple languages always think it's a contest about who is better and it's a bit infuriating. Especially comparing languages that aren't even of equivalent difficulty makes me "facepalm". Japanese is in the top 3 hardest languages for a native English speaker to learn. On top of that everyone's experiences are different. So I wish people who had no idea about how hard Japanese is would just calmmm down... Haters gonna hate, but I digress. Either way I am improving a lot and with each passing week I feel that I am even better than I was before. So that makes me really happy ^_^.
Well I just wanted to update those who are interested about my life in Japan, but might be too shy to ask or too busy to keep in touch. Work is work. Play time is play time. Food is amazing. Futons are not super comfy. My Japanese is improving. All in all life in Kyoto is fun, lonely, but also not lonely, interesting, challenging, tiring, exhilarating... Really the list could go on and on, but everyday is different. I want to make my time here worth my while and staying busy is key. And so far I'm giving this experience my best shot!
To all my peeps back home in America I miss you and hope you are doing well. And to my man-cub Kiba, I miss you errday and can't wait till we can play frisbee again together ^_^.
And with that, I'm out....