A completely disorganized first big Japanese post

This is going to be a big one, folks. Assuming, of course, that I don`t fall asleep first.

Before I go into the LJ-cut, and the ramblings about being in Japan, I just have one thing to say: There is a higher proportion of hot women in Montreal than Osaka. The simple reason is variety, the complex reason may show up somewhere in the following words...

The logical place to start this whole post seems to be on the subject of jetlag. In my opinion, jetlag is not nearly as bad as people would lead you to believe. It took me about two days to adjust to a 13 hour time change. The only reason that I`m tired right now (7PM) is because of how fucking much I`ve been doing over the past couple days, not because of jetlag. Last night, I slept from about 11:15 until about 8:30 this morning. While that may be a big shift from my old schedule, it is perfectly acceptable in every way. So, I repeat: jetlag is not the reason I`m tired; I`m tired because I`ve been so active today. It`s amazing how much you can get done when you are up and out by 9AM.

Now that I`ve gotten that out of the way, I should mention how great this place is. Right now, I`m sitting in an internet cafe which is about a 15 minute walk from my apartment. There are bookcases of manga everywhere (not really my thing, especially as my Japanese reading skills are nonexistent,) I`m listening to Bob Dylan, and writing a post. This is costing me $2 for 30 minutes and I can have all the drinks (tea, slushies, coffee, hot chocolate, etc.) and munchies (soup, and various snacks) that I might want. I have chosen the blue slushie for this post. I think I chose well.

Okay, so now that I`m on my 5th paragraph, I think I`ll go back to the beginning. The flight over was pretty well uneventful. I was smashed between a window and a sleeping Japanese couple for the 15 hour flight over. Planes in general are not designed for men my size. This plane was no different. I napped, I read, I wrote, I watched X3 and Cars, then slept through Garfield 2. Right off the plane in Osaka, I met Nathanial, who is a strange combination of Homer (of Mr. Mike`s fame) and Napoleon Dynamite. He and I made our way through the airport together and it turned out that not only will he and I be working in the same branch, but he lives one floor below me in our sweet pad of Forest Kuwazu.

My apartment is in a working class area of Osaka, and is surrounded by schools; so, all day long I see schoolgirl outfits and tiny children wearing yellow caps. It's very amusing. My apartment is between a fairly high traffic road and an el train. It's bigger than I expected, but not big at all by North American standards. Luckily, the previous tenants were women, so the apartment came pimped out with extras that I was told would have to be bought. Also, I had been told that I would be on my own in the apartment, and apparently, so was my roomate. I cannot even begin to express how lucky I am to have Chris as my roommate. He is exactly what I hoped for in a roommate: a cool, fairly geeky guy who can speak and read enough Japanese as to make the transition into this country infinitely easier.

For the most part, the last couple days have been made up of wandering, wandering and more wandering while trying to get paperwork and essentials (aka banking) done. I don't want to go into boring detail on any of that, suffice to say that Chris has been a lifesaver, and I'm going to have a great time exploring this city.

On a side note, I am absolutely loving the differences between this country and America. Firstly, people here are, by-in-large, nice people. Just friendly people. I've always known that Americans are jerks, but being here just makes it that much easier to see. There is very little crime here as well, partially due to the cultural niceness, but also due to the extremely strict laws. In America, we're always taught that "crime doesn't pay," but that's not really true in America, because if you're good at it, crime pays very well. Here, crime truly doesn't pay, because of how strong the laws are. Also, I just like the small pieces of life which are more carefully designed than in the States. For example, I had been warned about high tech toilets (seat warmers, etc.), but that also means that they are just much more well designed. The simple difference of having the choice between a big flush and a small flush makes me wonder what the fuck engineers in America spend their time on. The same theory applies to cell phones. In America, the big push with cell phones (as with most electronics) is to make them as small as possible, whereas here, the push is to make them have as many features as possible while still being stylish. I've only had the phone for a day, but I could care less that it's kind of chunky because of all the sweet features that come out-of-box. It's a perfect balance between being feature-rich and stylish. Of course, America has always been a bit preoccupied with looks.

I suppose that's a pretty solid transitional sentence to bring me back to my earlier comment about the hotness of the women in this city. I will not be an idiot and say that there aren't hot women in this city, that's just a silly comment to make about any city. But (as many people, including my best friends, still don't believe about me) I do not have an Asian fetish, so simply being in Japan is not going to make me pass out from too much blood flow to my crotch. In fact, I've been a bit disappointed with the amount of hot women here, especially in comparison to Montreal. Montreal wins mostly on variety. Hot women (mostly dark hair and dark eyes, playing to my preferences) of all shapes, sizes, and races. You simply cannot beat that with a city (and likely, country) in which there is no variety. A hot woman here looks like every other hot woman here. I was told once by my sister's friend Juan that Jennifer Lopez isn't anything special, because every woman from Puerto Rico is just as hot if not hotter. Now, I see what he meant.

With that, I'll jump topics to the people I've met here, all of whom are teachers at Nova. So far I've met two guys from Michigan (Nate and his roommate), one from San Fran (my roommate), an Aussie, a Kiwi, two Brits, two Canadians (one from Edmonton, one from Toronto,) a Texan, and a girl from Florida. The majority of those were people we (aka me, Nate and Chris) met our second day here. After a long day of walking around, Nate's roommate passed out (he's not much for being active.) Nate and Chris both went out (separately) for rides on their new bikes, and I was sitting around the apartment, resting a bit. There was a knock on the door. It turned out that Nova had called this guy Steve (the Edmontonite) and told him that Chris had just gotten into town and he didn't have a roommate, and asked if he'd drop by to see how things were. Steve came by with Joy (the Floridite) to find me, and no Chris. Steve and Joy came in and we talked for a while, eventually Chris got back, then Nate got back and the five of us went out for dinner, which really meant beer and snacks. While out Liz (the Texanite) joined us. I can easily see hanging out with this bunch quite a bit. They are a hell of a bunch. After snacks and beer, we ran back to the apartment so Chris could get the delivery of his luggage, then we all went back out for more drinks and met up with Ben (the Kiwi) and Jacob (the Aussie). At that point, tiredness hit me (making it to midnight after getting up at 6AM and having a full day running on 4 hours sleep is a hell of a thing) and I headed home to pass out.

Today, there was the pseudo-official new recruit meetup for Nova, at which Chris, Nate, Nate's roommate and I met the Torontite and the twoi Brits. Chris ditched out pretty quickly, which was a good idea as the Torontite was a freakshow geek (who ended up connecting very well with Nate's roommate,) and one of the Brits was fairly useless. Anyway, the remaining group of us ended up wandering through some craziness of Osaka. We started out going through a long, pretty cool underground mall, then coming up to find ourselves in a crazy area that was part pedestrian mall, part carnival, and all Japanese style. Nothing but flashing lights, dragons, and food. We wandered for quite a bit. Nate, Helen (the cool Brit), and I leading the way while Nate's roommate and the Torontite geeked out, and the other Brit bitched about being lost from behind us. (She never really grasped the concept that simply because you didn't know where you are doesn't mean that you are lost. Lost means that you don't know how to get home. Wandering aimlessly and not knowing your surroundings in no way make you lost. There was no time at all that I was afraid of not being able to get home.) Eventually, we ended up in Denden, which is a shanty-town/strip mall area of Osaka that is made for anime/manga/tech/video game geeks. I had wandered Denden yesterday with Chris when we got our cell phones, so once I saw it, I knew exactly where we were (though this didn't matter at all to the stupid Brit), but knowing where we were didn't help much because by that point most of us were hungry and tired, but Denden is made for geeks, and doesn't bother wasting space on things like restaurants. Luckily, we found a small place that had awesome food, huge portions, and it was super cheap (the triple win.)

Oh man. I've been sitting here typing for almost an hour and a half. My head is fuzzy. I can't keep going. I think I've told a bunch of the good parts to the story. There is more, but I'll just leave it at this: I'm having a great time. The simplest way to say it is that it feels natural to be here. No real culture shock, no worries, just good times.

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a cell, and short messages can be e-mailed directly to that, but it has come to my attention that I should also be able to get free incoming calls, so if anyone has the interest (and money) to drop me a line, my number is 090-1953-MIKE. You're on your own to find out the Japanese country code and all that jazz. Just keep in mind that I'm 13 hours ahead of the majority of you all (aka the Eastern time zone).

That's it for me for now. Time to keep on keepin' on.