Unfortunately, this day is going to be rather poorly documented. I didn’t take a lot of pictures today, and WordPress decided to throw out my first attempt at writing this blog. This is definitely the “むずかしい” blog entry.
This day began rather quaintly with Bianca and I waking up around 7:15 and heading to school like yesterday. We’ve really gotten the hang of the train system now. It’s not quite as bad as we (Bianca) thought it was. We had more orientation today, so when wer arrived we were prepared to zone out through another four hours of presentations, but today was a bit different. Today we were forgotten by KGU.
This orientation was to introduce us to our “GS Network Student” which is a Japanese KGU student who is meant to help us adjust to life in Japan. They are also supposed to help us register our addresses at our respective city halls. However, Bianca and I did not receive a GS Network Student. This was perhaps because we chose to do a self-arranged living option as opposed to the dorms. When we asked what we should do, no one knew and they quickly forgot about it. This was a bit discouraging. Thankfully for us, our friend Jay was doing the homestay option and had gotten a GS Network Student. When we started talking to Jay and his new friend, Kaoru, we quickly became friends. It turns out she’s practically a saint. Kaoru offered to help us to register our address as well as Jay’s address. A process that we could certainly not have done ourselves.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a good picture of Kaoru. The best I have is one of Jay when we all went to get some lunch before registering our addresses, with half of Kaoru off to the side:
After we ate some lunch, we went on to register our address at the Umeda city hall. The process was actually quite smooth. Because in the US I would often hear that Japan has a lot of red-tape and bureaucratic nonsense, I expected the process to take a long time. I don’t think we could have done it without Kaoru, as she explained everything we needed to fill out, but if we were natively Japanese I would not expect the process to be difficult. We were there for maybe 20 minutes including the wait to get our ticket called. It was a lot nicer than the DMV. I didn’t take any pictures there because it was a scramble to make sure we had everything in order. I was also unsure if it was okay to take pictures of the government offices.
Once that debacle was sorted, Kaoru offered to take us to eat in downtown Umeda. She drove us to a great little crepe shop that served a variety of different crepes. They were mostly savory crepes, which are basically thin pancakes wrapped around meat and vegetables. It was extremely delicious. We also learned a new bit of Japanese (or, at least, Osaka) culture, which is how to get the attention of a server. In the US a waiter or waitress is expected to drop by and ask how everything is every so often, but in Japan the wait staff will often ignore you until you call for them. How do you call for them? By shouting “すみません” (or, excuse me!)! Perhaps shouting is a bit over the top, but exclaiming it loud enough for them to notice is required to get attention.
The food was great, and Kaoru saved our butts. This was definitely a difficult day, and this blog has been trying my patience a bit. However, I am extremely grateful to be here still. Everthing in Japan is still amazing me. Umeda has a wonder to its towering buildings and infrastructure. I’m looking forward to living in Umeda. I hope it’s as nice as Yodogawa is!