Fifth Day in Kisarazu

31 03 2009

Today is pink bag rubbish day (every Tuesday and Saturday) which is burnable garbage. There is also non-burnable garbage (blue bag every second Wednesday), glass, cans and PET (green bag every Monday), plastic wrappers (yellow bag every Thursday), magazines and milk cartoons (brown bag every second Monday) and newspapers/clothes (grey bag every other Monday). There is a special hatch by the road behind our apartment block that every one puts their bags in and then shuts the glass lid.

We caught the bus back home to the Apita (shopping mall) from Kisarazu Station after using the internet and doing some shopping. It was 260 yen ($4.20) for a trip (about on par with Adelaide buses, I guess, and about as frequent with 1-2 buses an hour in this little town). It took about 10-15 minutes which was much more relaxing than a 1 hour walk back.

We applied online for fibre optic but it will take several weeks for the connection. 😦

We had roasted vegetables in tomato pasta sauce and spaghetti for dinner and hot chocolate for dessert.

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Fun things and strange things

31 03 2009

Fun things about our apartment
– heated toilet seat with a hand basin attached to the top
– clothes dryer function on the bathroom fan so clothes can be dried in there
– intercom doorbell with a video display
– working out the heater function on the air con
– auto fill of the bath to a set level and temperature (at a particular time, if, for example, you want to have a hot bath waiting for you when you come home from work at 6pm)
– sensor controlled opening of the main door when you walk up to it to go out

Strange things about our apartment
– no drawers and only one shelf in the bedroom built-ins – all hanging space
– no plug (that we can find) for the sink so dishes are washed under running water
– 6 different types of rubbish, collected on different days in different coloured bags

Handy things about our apartment
– 2 minutes walk to the Apita supermarket and shopping mall
– 2 minutes walk to the school bus stop





Fourth Day in Kisarazu

30 03 2009

Ran around trying to find out about Internet for our apartment. It’s turning out to be more difficult and time consuming that we first thought. We spent ages on the pay phone to the ISP and NTT (the phone providers), called Toshy but she was in Tokyo on business, tried to get Maya’s help but she was in bed with a fever…

So we went and had a look at the Buddhist temple that is across the street from our house.

buddhist_temple_2
buddhist_graves
temple_bell
temple_statue_2

We think we need our alien registration card before we can get a home phone or internet. So we will have to wait until Wednesday. Then it takes over a week for the connection as it is moving season and there is a back-log of connections to be done… oh well.

We had pasta for dinner and chocolate self-saucing pudding for dessert, made in our new convection microwave (which means we can have roast vegies, pudding, cakes, slices, biscuits and many other yummies that can’t be cooked over a gas stove top).





Third Day in Kisarazu

29 03 2009

We ate some dehydrated tofu for lunch and decided it tasted like eating a rubbery sponge. Maybe it’s meant for in stews and soups instead of stirfry.

We decided to go for a long walk in search of internet. One of the helpful school mums had said there was internet behind the train station. So we went for a long walk for about an hour to Kisarazu Station at the other end of the main street. We went into the shopping mall behind the train station and up to level 6 to the games level. After joining/becoming members we were able to use the internet in the ‘PC Gaming’ section, right at the back behind the table tennis, practice baseball, arcade games and so on.

We have now got a computer monitor, keyboard and mouse so Benno’s work computer is set up. However we don’t have a desk or internet yet.

We also ordered a second hand fridge that will be delivered on Wednesday to our apartment.

benno_walking_home

Benno walking home from the shops.

Fit’s brand of gum – there’s a TV in the supermarket that plays this jingle 24 hours a day.





Second Day in Kisarazu

28 03 2009

We don’t have any transport yet, but will hopefully get bicycles from someone at the school who doesn’t need their’s anymore. So we had to do some serious walking to the shops for some more housewares, a rice cooker and more groceries.

With the council elections only one day away there were candidates driving around in cars with loudspeakers on top, shouting out their election promises. One of the candidates is promising to make the toll on the Aqua Line (bridge to Tokyo) only 800 yen. We hope he gets in so it’s cheaper to go across the bridge.

Although the sun comes out in the middle of the day, the temperature is really cold – 4 layers plus a scarf required! Benno had to translate the remote on the air-con before we could figure out the heat function. Soon it was cranked to 30 degrees.

The Japanese bread is very strange. A loaf of bread can contain only 4, 5 or 6 slices. The bread is thick but full of air and no crusts are included in the loaf.

tanuki_waterhole

A tanuki (Japanese racoon dog) is on all the water holes in the streets/footpaths.

ume_blossom_2Ume (plum) blossoms.





First Day in Kisarazu

27 03 2009

We waited at the airport for Toshy who took us in her car to Kisarazu. We went straight to the school where we met Mr Matsumoto. He said our Certificate of Eligibility for the visas arrived on Thursday. Surprisingly, visas had been granted for 3 years for the both of us. Normally they only grant one year, so they must have thought that we looked handsome to let us stay for that long… Toshy will take us to the Chiba Immigration Office to apply for our visa, alien registration card and a bank account later in the week.

Toshy introduced us to the principal, Father Tagawa, who speaks only Japanese and Italian.

Then we went to the International teachers office; I saw my desk and collected some textbooks but there weren’t many teachers about as it’s school holidays.

We signed the papers for our apartment at the land agent’s office (Century 21 – Toshy thought it was a Japanese company?!) and got the keys so we could move in straight away.

The rest of the day (with help from Toshy’s friend Maya) we did some grocery shopping, got some homewares, a futon etc.

Being sleep deprived from the plane flight, we fell asleep at 7.30pm after a hot bath, and only woke up at 10.30am.

street_to_apita1View from our dining room window out onto the cherry-blossom lined street to the supermarket, Apita.





Only 2 hurdles and we will be in Japan!

27 03 2009

Hurdle 1: Getting out of the country.

We weren’t sure initially if we’d even be allowed on the plane as we only had one way flights. The check-in staff asked where was our return flight and we showed them the letter in Japanese saying I was going for a job interview. Then she asked us for visas, and we had none. So her manager was called over, he stared at the computer screen for a while, then decided that we were ok to go.

The plane didn’t want to take off the first time. The plane had a false start take off and had to turn around and go back to the start of the runway to attempt a second take off… and then we were off!

At least we had decent airplane food, a row of seats all to ourselves (the plane had about 10 free rows and wasn’t very busy at all) and on demand entertainment (Lara watched Twilight, Happy-Go-Lucky and Madagasca 2 while Benno played Zelda).

We arrived in Singapore and realised that we had about 7 hours in transit. While all of the official 2 hour tours had finished for the day we were able to clear immigration, get a stamp in our passport, register for a transit pass, catch a free shuttle bus into the city and wander around – we saw the F1 night racing track, the tallest “London Eye” in the world called the Singapore Flyer, the Fountain of Wealth (a fountain with a water/lights display at meal times), Suntec City shopping centre and Raffles Hotel.

Hurdle 2: Getting into Japan.

In one day we went from 25 degrees and sunny in Adelaide, 30 degrees and humid in Singapore to 1 degree and windy in Tokyo.

The plane landed at 7am and we knew we only had one more hurdle before we could relax – Japanese immigration. We went up to immigration, he took our immigration cards and passports, we had a photo and fingerprints taken and we went through with no questions! After collecting our luggage we went through customs, again with no questions. We couldn’t believe that it was harder leaving Australia than entering Japan…