Getting Settled in Japan: Nanzenji

The text of this post was originally written in April, 2004 as part of an online diary I kept before I actually started my blog. I'd forgotten about it until I ran across it in February 2008. I inserted it into my blog then, assigning dates appropriate to the content instead of to the time I actually added it. Thus, these April 2004 posts show up as my “first posts” in my list of posts, even though I didn't actually start a blog until a year later with my first post about buying a car in Japan.

There's nothing here of interest to anyone but me; I insert it here so that it's together with my other posts (which are also of little interest to anyone but me :-)) Any comments I add while posting this to my blog in February 2008 appear like this.

This was originally written just after we moved from California to Japan, so our days were dominated by jet lag, and trying to set up our life and newly-acquired apartment. Anthony was 18 months old.

Anthony slept fitfully, and got up at 5:20 or so. Fumie and Mom (who spent the night) were still sleeping, so I took him out for a stroll. I just sort of wandered aimlessly, passing by and through a multitude of temples whose names I couldn't read. I ended up at one whose name I couldn't read, except it's big enough to have information in English posted. Called Nanzenji, and quite famous, it dates from the 12th or so century.

We came across a big wooden gate, and it was just in time, as it started to rain. It had been overcast all morning (by this time, it was probably 6:30am), and just as we arrived, a few drops started hitting. The picture is way overexposed, because it was so dark, but anyway, to give you a feel for the size of the thing, each of the columns in the front must have been three feet thick. Here's another view.

I let him out of the stroller to play around under the roof, while it rained outside. It was a nice time.

Later that morning, the guy came to finish installing the air conditioners. It took quite some time (four or five hours), but in the end, they all got done. They have some ugly piping running along the walls — I guess that's just the way it's done here.

I'm writing this on Friday, so I forget most of what happened as this week flew by. Fumie got her bike delivered, so we've been able to be mobile locally, which has been nice. Also, I've done a lot of driving (still borrowing Fumie's folks' car), and I've gotten quite comfortable at it. I'm now quite adept at Japanese driving, including driving for long distances straddling two lanes, cutting people off with only the slightest whisker between us, parking in the middle of a driving lane, etc.

The only thing I haven't been able to make myself do is to run red lights. Were I to really drive the Japanese way, I would be able to run a red light a good 10 seconds after it turned, so long as my (and others') running it was able to keep cross traffic from getting in our way. Alas, I guess I'm American at heart, at least WRT driving, because I find myself actually slowing down and stopping at a yellow light. Heck, maybe that's not even American (at least not Californian). It must be the Midwest in me.

Sometime along the way (Wednesday?), the internet connection I signed up for became valid, and, of course, filling the void of a week without reliable internet access kept me awake way too long. It also allowed me to hook up my Vonage IP phone. It's pretty cool – you can call me at my old Cupertino number and it rings here in Japan (and costs nothing – incoming calls are free). Well, to be clear, it probably doesn't actually ring, since we'll have the ringer off when we (or Anthony) are sleeping. It goes to voicemail after about 10 seconds. If you want to call but don't want voicemail, you'll improve your chances of reaching us by remembering the time difference.

Continued here...

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