Some days here are just harder than others. Please don’t misunderstand…I am still excited to be living in Tokyo, and happy to be here. But… some days I just want to go home. Home to the familiar… home to my house, my kitchen, my garden, my pets, and most especially… my family. Yes… some days I just feel a bit homesick. The frustrations of dealing with a new country and a new culture, and the frustrations of not being able to communicate adequately, and clearly in this language just build up to the point I feel overwhelmed.
Yesterday — and carrying over into this morning — was one of those times. It hasn’t been any one major problem, but just a lot of little things that have been nagging at us for days. For instance… we finally set up an Amazon.jp account so that we could order some things that we need. We use Amazon all the time back home. It is my favorite way to shop, but we were not sure how we would receive packages in this high-rise apartment. We don’t have a full-time concierge in our building… if they deliver a package while we are out, it is supposed to go into a secure locker where we pick it up later. Well… the package we were awaiting arrived Saturday morning, and we were not here. The package, however, was too large for the locker, so they left us a re-delivery notice — in Japanese. So Sunday morning (no Easter Sunday holiday here!) we called the number, and very painfully tried to communicate with the delivery company.
Please don’t believe it when people tell you that all Japanese people are ready and eager to practice their English… It just isn’t true. There are lots of people here who don’t know any English, and we still know very little Japanese (but, we are learning!) Anyway… we finally did get the message across, and rescheduled the delivery of the futon set (future blog post…) for our spare bedroom. It arrived promptly, and without further issue… mostly.
As we were accepting the delivery at our door, another person came to speak with us about signing up for NHK service. We have been in this apartment for two months now, and no one ever told us that we have to pay a TV fee here. Weren’t the relocation people supposed to take care of these things? Who knew… In Japan anyone who has a TV, has to pay a fee to NHK — Japan’s national public broadcasting company. I know a lot of foreign countries do have television fees, but no one ever told us that Japan did… and our relocation people never mentioned it. The poor guy could not speak a word of English, and we were struggling to understand what he wanted… he finally handed us a brochure (in English) and left in frustration. I am sure we will be hearing more from NHK soon… Hopefully they can find someone who speaks English to help us set this up. I don’t have a problem with paying the fee, I just need to know how to do it. We rarely even turn on the TV because none of the channels have English. We mostly just use the TV for watching movies we brought from home. Anyway… another communication challenge.
So… feeling somewhat in a funk about these things, and then missing my home and family at Easter/springtime, just put me into a dark and dreary mood. Kind of like the weather here this morning. The kind of morning when you just want to hide inside and stay in your PJ’s all day. But… *sigh*… I have found that when I get into that kind of mood here, the best thing for me to do is to get out and walk. And walk I did! 15,000 steps according to my fitness band… roughly equivalent to 7.5 miles.
I walked north toward Tokyo Tower, and finally ended up at one of my favorite places here… Hibuya Park, and the Imperial Palace. I saw cherry trees (Sakura)!
I saw ducks and heron at the pond and in the waters around the Imperial Palace. The ducks were mostly sleeping. It must have been a dreary morning for them too.
There was something big going on at the Imperial palace… They had streets blocked off and lots of police. There were also a lot of tourists… huge crowds of tourists. I avoided the crowds. I read later that they had opened up another part of the palace grounds for viewing of the cherry blossoms.
Back again through Hibuya Park, I found a Romulus and Remus statue — not sure why that was there — and some stray cats nibbling at the tender green grass.
And… one last look at a beautiful Sakura tree in full bloom. After that, foot-sore and hungry for lunch, I hopped the subway back to Shibaura. Nice day, nice walk.
Yes… life is full of frustrations wherever you go. Some days are harder than others. But it all feels so much better if you just get out there and deal with it.
Life is good.