15 April 2013

Guest Posting!

Hey dudes and dudettes,

I'm guest posting over at Allegra Stein's blog today. She's an awesome relocation coach who helps people as they gather up their courage to move across the world (or chats with them when they have already moved across the world, and then face the inevitable WTF moments). I like her a lot, and I think you will too.

Hmm, what else is going on around here? Well...

1.  My Japanese dryer takes 3 hours to dry a load of towels. Yeesh.

2.  Amos turns 30 today. We met on his 22nd birthday and surreptitiously made out in the backyard, next to the tennis flip cup table. BAM. We decided to class it all up and get married, but you can never run from your first kiss, right? Right. Ours was drunk. And happy.

(Did I just post #2 on the internet? Yes, yes I did.)

Google Reverse Image search was no help -- if you know the source, please shoot me a message. Thanks!

08 April 2013

Japan-niversary at Nabano No Sato

In my Niseko post, I offhandedly mentioned that, as of February 5th, Amos and I have been in Japan a year. I played it off all cool at the time, but on the actual day it was more like, "EWMAHGAWD, WE'VE BEEN IN JAPAN A YEAAAAAARRRRRRR!!!!!"

Then we got hot cocoa and toasted. That was the end of that.

It feels really big to have been here a year. At the same time, it feels completely regular and small. It's been a year, and every day that we're here, what was once strange and exotic becomes rote and routine. The heated toilet seats, the bikes, the fish market, the travel, the copious amounts of mayo, these are all baseline. We have our rhythms and face fewer puzzles than we first did. I have gotten used to understanding 35% of what is going on at any given moment. I sign documents and contracts I cannot read without blinking an eye. I no longer believe in matching clothing and now assume the more colors, the better.

In March, I went with a couple friends to see Nabano No Sato, a huge light exhibit just outside of the city. Amos and I went last year when we first arrived to Nagoya, and I didn't manage to blog about it. This year, for the love of all things holy, I swore I'd write about it.

Nabano No Sato (なばなの里) is a outdoor park that strings up thousands of Christmas lights all over the buildings, trees, ponds, and walkways. It's incredible. Since the Japanese don't believe in limiting Christmas things to December, the lights are up from November to March. Last year, I was awestruck by the number of lights and the intricacies of the displays. There was a a space-ship orb that floated up and down, a pond filled with lights that flashed and moved like waves, and a tree that would change lights to reflect changing seasons. There was a tunnel of little white lights shaped like flowers to enter the park, and another tunnel of little pink lights to leave. There were stalls that sold sake and beer and vending machines that disbursed hot cocoa and ice cream. This is also when I first learned that corn dogs in Japan are called America Dogs. (Blurg).

This year? I was impressed, but I wasn't blown away. It's amazing how 'normal' changes in a year. I am used to dramatic and detailed presentation. To foods and drinks available. To hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights in March. To the intricate social mores and the 'Japanese way.' To mayo in a burrito. To things that are so, so, so different from home.

It sounds silly to say, but I think it will be weird to no longer live here. We will move home and, just like that, we'll be able to be able to read all the signs. To understand things 100%. To say goodbye to cheap tuna and hello to cheap black beans; to bid adieu to purikuda booths and Lolita Goth clothing stores.

Maybe that's just it -- life is always, at its core, weird. It's just depends on how used to its weirdness you've become.

I will miss cell phone camera pics. Always appropriate in Japan. Always.

{I feel like I should apologize for the iPhone quality pics, but that would hint that I was going to one day photographs from an actual camera. HAHAHAHAHA. Nope.}

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