After my first trip to Namba, things started to slow down. I started to focus more on getting my place furnished, which consisted of many trips to Nitori. The ladies there basically know me and I started doing advanced things like getting a Nitori card and having stuff delivered to my place. It sounds stupidly basic but when you’re in a foreign country and you barely can speak the language, it’s a huge step in the right direction.
We also met Tracy and William for the first time; they are both JETs transferring from different areas of Japan. They both seem like very cool people; Tracy taught in a bad junior high school where the kids would do just about anything. The kids themselves were very friendly with her, just not with anyone else. I think she should have it easy here. We only saw William briefly, as he was going through some surgery.
Andrew once again showed us a bit more of Sakai after Tracy arrived. This time, he showed us the Japanese equivalent of Home Depot, the local cinema and a cool manga/game store. The shelves were jam packed full of manga, it was crazy to see how much there was:
After touring the place, we decided to have some lunch at McDonald’s. McDonald’s actually taste pretty similar to the States, so I was happy to have some American junk food. Andrew was telling us that in Japan, McDonald’s has U.S. themed burgers sometimes, which are very, very good. For example, the Idaho burger would involve some sort of potato on the burger, etc.
As we were ordering food, a middle-aged Japanese guy started talking to us in English. While some of the girls were creeped out by him, I wasn’t really offended. After all, we were going to encounter these kind of situations pretty often so I figured, why not? He did do a couple of weird things though, like pat my tummy and said I ate a lot. Tracy said that’s considered a compliment here, so whatever. He touched Dawn’s hair, to see how it was “different” (she’s African-American). He also kept asking me about stuff about Peru, like how we did in Copa America, and about ex-President Fujimori (which was extremely awkward). After awhile, he said goodbye as he had to catch Transformers 3. A bit odd, but not a terrible encounter. I’ll admit though, I did get sensitive about my stomach afterward. After that we called it a day and I continued to make my apartment look decent.
After a couple more days, we got the rest of the new JETs and we decided to try to get our cell phones again at Softbank. I felt really bad because Ohashi-sensei read one of my Facebook statuses about wanting a cell phone and decided to get the Education Center to help us out by calling in advance. He really is an awesome supervisor…I just have to be careful what I say on Facebook now! Also, one of his former student was managing the place that day. The Softbank guy I was talking to was really cool because he kept making jokes to Andrew and I. It was nice of him to make light of the situation as we waited a total of 3 hours in the Softbank for all of us to receive our phones. As Andrew would put it, “this was a process”. Also for some reason, he thought my signature was really badass. “Aa, kakkoi desu (That is really cool),” he would always say when he saw me sign stuff. He asked me how I came up with it, what each letter represented, etc. If you’ve seen my signature, it basically is a D and a halfassed S, followed by a bunch of random scribbles. Then he told me, “Write my name in your style,” which was basically impossible to do on the fly, but I tried anyways. He seemed happy with it and after awhile, I got my white iPhone. Overall, the iPhone 4 is pretty cool but I think I still prefer my Nexus One over it. I saw the Softbank guy a few days later on the train when Dawn, Tina, and I were going to Namba to get some cell phone covers, which was rather amusing. He approached us and said hello, talking briefly to us as his stop was next. As big as the city I live in is, I encounter people quite a bit. Btw, I got an Evangelion iPhone cover. Yep, I am a nerd, but I couldn’t resist. Asuka’s was the only decent one available so I got that one:
Anyways, back to the story!
After we got the cell phones, we were going to go to the Osaka JET meetup in Namba but everyone basically wussed out because it had been already 2 hours since the event started. I figured since it was taking place at a bar, it would still be lively at 8 PM. I was correct; by the time I got there, mostly everyone was still around. I talked to Kris and a few friends of his, as well as other official JET people. It was quite fun as everyone was at least buzzed. I had a few beers which was more than enough as I hadn’t eaten anything since noon. I’m really glad I went because I got to meet a lot of new people and reconnected with others from Tokyo Orientation. Around 11, people started to take off. I had to do the same as in Japan, the last train is usually around midnight but for my train line, it’s 11:30. I wanted to give myself some time as I did get lost while trying to find the bar and I figured I would again on the way back. I was right, I wandered around for at least twenty minutes until I used the map function on my phone to locate my station. I caught the last train just in time, otherwise I would’ve had to wait until 5 AM or so for the first train. Overall, it was a fun night! According to the people I was talking to at the bar, the Izumi JETs are known for not going out and just staying in their area. I’m going to definitely to try to change this.