So, the maelstrom that was Nova is finally over and the dust is beginning to settle. I've moved out of the Nova apartment in Abiko to a one-room (literally) place in Kashiwa. It's small by Canadian (and even Japanese?) standards, at a whopping 16.36m^2. It's probably smaller than those Marine Drive studios actually. But I like it. I'm getting some furniture delivered tomorrow so I'll be able to make this place feel more homey tout suite. I've got a kitchen that consists of a mini-bar fridge, one electric burner and sink with a 2 shelf cupboard above. I cooked dinner for the first time tonight and it took a lot of planning an maneuvering, deciding what to cook first. Beside the kitchen, next to the door, is a closet that is meant to house a washing machine, which I will probably never buy. Right now, it's where I chuck my dirty laundry and store my suitcase. There is a geta hako (lit. geta box; geta are traditional Japanese slippers) or shoe cupboard on the other side of the door, next to the shower room. It's a tightly packed bathroom, essentially. Everything gets a bit wet when you take a shower because there is no curtain (I should probably get a tension rod and curtain for that purpose). There's a bit closet that fits my clothes, extra futon (for guests) and assorted crap that I brought/accumulated over the last 3 months. It's on the ground floor, but I still get a balcony to hang laundry and survey the street. Even though I'm only a 10 minute walk from the station, it feels like small-town neighborhood Japan; what Japan should REALLY look like. I guess? That's what Andrew and Yvonne said. There is a convenience store on the next street, and a laundromat up the road so I'm pretty set. Anything else I could want is 10 minutes away. I haven't explore the area too extensively yet - I've been up to my eyeballs in errands and meeting people and running around. I went to one of the big malls in Kashiwa today and picked up some furniture (all I have to my name is a futon and plastic set of drawers) which is being delivered tomorrow. Pictures to follow tomorrow.
This month was going to be a bit of a holiday for me. My new job at IES wasn't scheduled to start until December so I got a few part-time stints teaching and a few private lessons and was going to sit tight. However, IES called me and needed a substitute teacher immediately for some elementary schools, at Y12,000 a day, so I jumped on it. Kept me busy, and got a feel for this ALT job (although, junior high will be different). That finished on Friday, so now I get a 2 week break before starting for real. It's going to be busy though: now that I've moved, I have to change my address everywhere, including city offices and get a new gaijin card and set up house. I've got a bit of training for the new job also to do, but will only be 1 day next week.
Yvonne came out this weekend to celebrate her birthday with me and Andrew. She's got a JET conference today, tomorrow and Wednesday, but came a bit early and we went to the Oedo Onsen Monogatari in Odaiba on Saturday night. An onsen is a Japanese hot spring, or communal bath. It was awesome! This place was decked out to look like the Edo period and everyone wore yukata. We didn't get to go to the outdoor baths, since it was too late, but we stripped off and tested out all the different baths. Unfortunately, there wasn't any co-ed ones, so Yvonne and I had to ditch Andrew for a while. We took ridiculous pictures, of course, making total asses of ourselves. On Thursday, Yvonne and I are taking a trip to Nikko. We're staying 1 night, and going to hit up all the sights there. It'll be my first real trip in Japan, outside of Tokyo. I'm so excited! It's only going to be about 100$, and right before a national holiday so we got a pretty good deal. I'll have loads to write about!
After getting back to Kashiwa yesterday afternoon, Yvonne helped me get a haircut since I was long overdue. The guy asked me if I dye my hair because he said it looked damaged. WTF! This is the first time in years that I actually don't have ANY dye in my hair so it should be healthy as a baby's bottom. But hairdressers in Singapore used to say that to me all the time too, "Your hair feels dry". I think he was full of crap. And besides, how many white customers does he work on? Fool doesn't know what he's talking about.