(HUGE!!) Japanese Cockroaches

I may just die of a heart attack while I’m studying here in Japan! I just had my first experience with killing a cockroach, and it was huge! I had previously seen cockroaches while my family and I visited Jamaica, but I wasn’t the one who had to kill them that time! And, I have not visited Jamaica in about 15 years! I was about to make myself some food and noticed something out of the corner of my eye. I didn’t think anything of it, but when I looked in the general direction, that was when my blood ran cold!

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I noticed a HUGE cockroach taking it upon himself to come into my home, and he thought it would be a good idea to sit near my fridge! There were a million thoughts that ran through my mind, and as I quickly racked my brain on what to do next I decided to grab a small garbage pail and try to trap him! Little did I know this was a bad idea! So, I grabbed my tiny garbage pail and slowly tried to sneak up on this cockroach, but he noticed me and started to run towards me! I screamed, dropped the bucket, and hopped onto my bed for my dear life!! After I picked myself up off the bed from crying I noticed he had run underneath my bed. So I grabbed a shoe and moved my bed out from the wall. He was stuck in the corner. I took many deep weeping breaths and tried to hit him with my shoe! I thought I had got him, but he started to climb up my wall!! So I had to hit him off the wall, and I hit him with my shoe. He was slightly flattened, but I thought he was dead. So I congratulated myself, and sat back down on my bed trying to come up with ideas on how I would pick him up now. I went back to the corner of my wall, and noticed he had moved. So I found him again, and hit him with my shoe another 6 or 7 times just to be sure he was dead. (I found out this is why people don’t normally put their beds up against the walls in Japanese homes. Cockroaches are common here because the houses are made differently than in North America.) I have encountered a couple more cockroaches since this incident, but they weren’t nearly as bad. Thankfully, I haven’t had to deal with any for a while because the weather here is getting cooler, and they don’t like the cold so much. I don’t like bugs, so this was quite a daunting experience!

The Other Side of the Pacific Ocean

I ventured down to the Pacific Ocean today after being told by many that I lived really close. It is hard to find accessible Wi-Fi in Japan because most networks are locked. (Oh, the luxuries we take for granted in Canada, sometimes!) Since I haven’t got a clue where I am most times, I decided to look up the route to the ocean on my phone’s GPS. I left my apartment, took some deep breaths, and prayed that I wouldn’t get lost!

I was nervous at first because the streets here are much narrower, and they don’t really have names. It is much more difficult for people to navigate here, as people usually get around by mentioning certain buildings or main roads! I think it may also help if one can, you know, speak/read Japanese. Fortunately, the ocean is only about a ten minute walk from where I live! I feel very lucky to be able to see this beautiful water up close!! Especially this side of the Pacific Ocean.

I can now cross that off my bucket list!!

See the western side of the Pacific Ocean, up close and personal!!

Lending a Helping Hand

I’ve met some new people, and made a couple new friends today. It was a nice day, and I had a new class today as well. I like my teacher in that class. She seems really nice. The people at this school have been so kind and accepting of me, I feel like they really care about me. I had a class during 3rd period, and the students in that class have to speak English. I realized how easily English can come to me, and how much work it does take to speak a language correctly. The students in my class are mostly Japanese, and a lot of them were having trouble speaking English, but they were all so dedicated to it that it made me happy to see them try! I always try to be as helpful as possible. After school, I went to a supermarket to buy a few things. I went with a girl who is from (I believe) Russia, and a girl who is an exchange student from Vietnam. The girl from Russia speaks very little English, but she can understand it better when people talk to her, rather than when she talks to them. The girl from Vietnam speaks English very well, so she was almost like a translator for us! We went to do some shopping. This supermarket is close to our school, and then we went to another store beside it. I had run out of money, and wanted to buy a few things, so the girl from Vietnam offered to pay for me. She said she does that with her friends. It felt nice that she would do that for me, and I kept asking her if that was okay. She didn’t mind at all! This is just one of the many ways that the people here in Japan have helped me. She then offered to walk me home because I was unsure of how to get home from where we were, which I thought was really sweet of her to do.

Feeling homesick

As much as I’m loving Japan, I am starting to get really homesick. I have noticed that the products in Japan that are “American” do not taste the same. I tried some Mountain Dew today, and I was excited to have some, but when I tried it, it tasted completely different. I am not trying to say that it wasn’t good, but little things like that make me miss home. I miss my family, and my friends, and how familiar everything was. This is my first time travelling abroad, so I was not sure what to expect. I knew that I would get homesick, so I’m going to push through this. I know it will get easier when I start to make myself at home more. I want to have an open mind to everything and make the most out of this amazing opportunity. I feel very fortunate to be able to live here in Japan, and I want to do the best I can in this situation. It gets a little overwhelming at times when I don’t know the language, and can’t talk to others when I’m out and about. Hopefully, it will get better.

My First Week in Japan (Part 4)

Thursday September 17

I can’t really remember what we did on this day that much. Em and I went out for lunch, it was raining and she drove us to a place that had some really good noodles. I don’t know what the place was called, but it was pretty cheap, and tasted so good! We went back to the school after wards, and talked about my courses more, and then I went home. I can’t really remember what else we did that day. My courses were chosen for this semester, and I met some people I will be working with this semester as an intern. I also got really lost!!!!on my way home from school. Even though it was only supposed to be a half hour walk, it took me longer. I took a couple wrong turns, in what I thought would be a short cut, but I have my route mapped out now, so hopefully that won’t happen again!!

Friday September 18

I didn’t do a whole lot today. I can’t really remember all of what I did. I’m not used to writing about my day. Hopefully I can keep writing in the future. I want to keep this journal, so I can look back on this when I get back home to Canada.

Saturday September 19

I went to Mito with a couple people who live in the same apartments I do! It was a lit of fun. It was a little overwhelming, but we went to a restaurant that was on the tenth floor, that allowed us to see a lot of Mito from the window. We were there almost all day and I just got home a couple hours ago. It was a lot of fun!

My First Week in Japan (Part 3)

Wednesday September 16

I had to walk to school by myself today, and I got a little bit lost, but I made it to school finally. I was a little early, and waited for everyone to arrive. After that, we walked down to one of the stores on campus, and had to sign up for insurance. When waiting for that, we were given a tour of the campus. We were shown the library, the student lounge, the English building, and some other buildings. One of the buildings on campus has really large windows, and we were told that we would be able to see the Pacific Ocean from the window. We went up to the top floor and looked through the window, and could see the ocean above the houses. It was so neat! I had to take a picture of that! After the campus tour, we went shopping at the 100 yen shop, and went shopping for cell phones, and I had to buy a wireless router. A very nice lady drove us around, I’ll call her Em. She helped us with translating, and she helped us pick up things that we needed. I bought a few things, and we got to stop off at Starbucks. The city I’m living in right now does not have a Starbucks, or any fast food really, so it was nice to be able to stop in that city. It was sort of cloudy that day, and Em offered to give me a ride home after we got back to the school at around 5. That was a really fun day!

First Week in Japan (Part 2)

Tuesday September 15

I finally got to meet the woman I had been corresponding with for months before I made it to Japan on this day. She is a very nice lady, and has helped me a great deal so far! I went to apply for a residence card, and I also went to create a new Japanese bank account. I cannot believe the amount of walking that we did this day! I’m just not used to walking quite so much. I used to walk a lot when I lived in Canada, but the city I lived in was not so small that we would be able to walk everywhere. In this city in Japan, it is a much smaller town and the bus is never taken. I became more acquainted with my school, and met some new people. There were two girls who were showing us around, and helping us with getting all our information together, and they have been so helpful and kind to us. I also signed my apartment contract and payed my landlord the money for my first month’s rent. He came to my school and since he doesn’t speak English very well, she helped to translate what he was saying. After that, we went to the supermarket, and did some shopping. The way the registers work in Japan are pretty high tech, not much talking needs to be done, because when paying it is usually done by machine. I don’t know a lot of Japanese, so it’s been helpful being able to go shopping with other people.

First Week in Japan

Monday September 14

I arrived at Narita Airport on Monday. Two kind Japanese people from my school picked me up. They waited for myself and another girl who had arrived before me. i was waiting for a while in the airport, and then realized they had been waiting on the other side for me. They introduced themselves, and we made our way to the van, and placed my bags in the back. We drove for about an hour and a half, to the city I’m residing in. I noticed on my drive that there was a large buddhist statue standing in the middle of fields, and was told that a buddhist temple or shrine was built near that. When we arrived at the school, they allowed us to call our parents to inform them that we arrived in Japan, and that we were okay. The girl who I was picked up with does not speak English, she only speaks Japanese. After our phone calls to our parents, they dropped the girl off in the dormitories, and then drove me to my apartment. The landlord showed me through my apartment; it is small by American standards, and had thought I had prepared myself. I am adjusting to it more and more each day. After I was shown my apartment, the two Japanese people (who I want to remain nameless) took myself and the other girl out for dinner. We went to a Udon/Soba shop near the train station. It was really good! I learned a lot of new things, and they were impressed that I could use chopsticks so well! The first day was a long one, but I felt very happy to be in Japan!

So excited to start my adventure!

I am very excited to be going to study in Japan next month! I have been planning this since last February, so it feels surreal that it is going to be happening so soon! Less than a month away, and I’ll be in Japan. I want to document my trip and talk about the new experiences I will be going through. Japan has always been one of the top five places I have always wanted to visit, so actually getting to live there for five months is so exciting to me!