I just finished my last bite of nattou (fermented soybeans) and Japanese brown rice with dried seaweed and pickled eggplant along with wakame, tofu, and konnyaku (devil's tongue jelly) soup. That may sound crazy but I'm thoroughly enjoying the common things here that are rare commodities in the states! First about my job: I work for a retail consulting company that helps major brands come into and spread in Japan from finding locations all the way through store opening and merchandising. I can't, but I wish I could be more specific... I had no idea they were behind many major stores in Japan!
Day 1 and 2: the project manager and a coworker were discussing changes to a design they received for a shop to discuss in a meeting the next morning but couldn't draw it...then remembered I studied drawing and painting, called me over and explained what they needed. I redrew it, gave suggestions, and today the manager said it was effective in communicating their changes during their meeting so she was very pleased. I've been translating website pages, a contract, and researching and putting together a Japanese trend report calendar for a client opening up a shop next year. I had no idea that I would be able to dive into it...usually the new people are more like bellboys and baristas. It is a really unique company where teamwork is an assumed part of accomplishing tasks, lunchtime is encouraged, and overtime work is minimal. If I could hide in an underground hole and work all day, sending my work up by a mole-delivery service I would be fine, but I'm in Japan. Japanese business etiquette is important so it terrifies me to answer the phone or intercom because one mistake will reflect on the company. Think of formal Japanese as a dialect...yes I can understand it and use it if I think about it but not flowing conversation on the spot! My coworkers, even Japanese ones, said it took at least a month to get comfortable answering the phone. It'll come with time but until then my heart beats a little faster when the phone rings twice and no one has answered yet.
The commute is a whole different story. It's a solid hour, so I leave at 7:50am and get back at the earliest around 7pm. After 3 separate train lines, pulled hair, human bumper cars getting on and off, smelly breath, and a sardine-can situation...even after a happy work day I'm pretty exhausted! Since people in Tokyo have been doing it and surviving for so long I'm positive I will also adjust.
Now for the curry buffet down a random side street... Would you go in?
I wouldn't either but the list of talk shows and articles it was featured in won me over. Japanese people are used to good food so places don't stay open, much less gain media attention unless they're pretty amazing. The inside:
Hawaiian/ tribal/ log cabin decor, lined with comic books (that part actually not uncommon here)...and SO packed, anyone bigger than I would have to bump people on both sides of them to get through and get seconds.
But the food was incredible. The depth of flavor in the different curries, neither Japanese nor Indian, meat so tender it melts (plate 2 which I didn't photograph), with "black rice," their Japanese tandoori chicken, great variety of vegetables sides, their signature curry udon with the perfect noodle consistency, rooibos tea ad coffee, for 1000 yen. 3 full plates including lots of vegetables plus yummy drinks and wifi made me a very pleased customer. This was a distinctly modern Tokyo type place so I added it to the list of possible destinations to take my boyfriend when he visits.
Unfortunately my apartment hunting has been limited to emailing (except visiting a place yesterday) because office hours tend to be the same everywhere...same as mine. In the past when I get a seemingly "delayed" situation, I see much later that it was in fact the perfect time like pieces of a puzzle coming together. I think this is one of those (not actually) "delayed" circumstances...
Psalm 31:14-15 But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hand.
In the meantime, "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word." (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)