Random Observations As Of Late

This is just a random collection of my thoughts about recent happenings. Each of them is not really enough to make a full post out of, but I thought I might put them all together in one post.


– Yesterday I saw a gaggle of kids playing in the principal’s office during recess. This made me tilt my head and go… “What?” I can count on one hand how many times I have met the principal of my k-12 schools. And those times were for either having good grades or making the honor roll or some other goody-two-shoes reason. ^^;

– So this week I bought a box of tampons here in Japan. I kept hearing from my friends how interesting the experience was, so I was kind of curious about it myself. I went to the register, the gal rang it up, and began to package it in a brown paper sack. Like they do in America when you buy liquor. I knew this was coming, so I told her that no, I didn’t need my tampons gift-wrapped and disguised for me. She kind of looked at me and asked, “It’s not embarrassing?/You’re not embarrassed?” I assured her that yes, I wouldn’t be embarrassed if anyone caught me red-handed carrying a box of tampons. It is store policy here in Japan for the register clerk to wrap your feminine products in a nondescript paper bag or put it inside another dark-colored bag before they go in with your other purchases. This is so amusing. I felt like a bandit with my undisguised purchase. Haha.
Also, a side note: I haven’t bought tampons in many many years, but is it highway robbery to pay over $11 (USD) for a box of 32??

– Trains here in the north are like saunas. They turn on the heaters and the windows fog up entirely! I had to catch the train yesterday morning to get to my visit school. My journey includes a 25 minute walk after the train ride, so I was bundled up pretty well. I got inside the train and immediately started sweating bullets. It was so hot. I even chose a car with open seats and not that many people. I immediately had to strip off my jackets and fan myself. I don’t know how the guys next to me with their full-on jackets, scarves, and hats could handle it. I imagined them silently sweating too.

– I joined the expensive gym. So far the rules have not killed me yet and there are no 30 minute time limits on the cardio machines like at the other place. It just says to “use manners”, I think. But the thing that kills me is that I pay ¥6300 a month for a membership with these restrictions: 1. The club is only open from 10am-11pm on weekdays and 10am-10pm on Saturdays. So that completely ruins any sort of morning exercise plan. 2. I can only use the club for three hours in one day. 3. I cannot use the club on Sundays or national holidays (that is another, more expensive membership.) 4. The club is closed every Wednesday anyways for a staff holiday. I pay that much, but I can only use the club for 5 days a week, three hours at a time. Less if there is a national holiday that week. Man, the price I pay for my sanity. I joined in the hope that it will keep me sane during the winter. The one super plus to this situation is that it is less than 10 minutes walking from my apartment.

-  Speaking of winter, it has been snowing here quite a bit. After seeing the snow here and comparing it to my experience in Minnesota… I think the snow here is just prettier. The scenery is also tons better than “Minne-no-place” scenery. Beautiful Japan for the win! Here, have a photo of my view this morning:

photo (1)

This is just the beginning.

– I actually might make a separate post about this, but Kimberly and I went to the Kuroishi Apple Festival last weekend. We got to see some awesome shamisen playing, lots of apples, and eat some yummy mochi. Also in the Adventures of Kimberly and Stacy, we went to a little community thing at my work and got to pound some mochi rice into mochi. And we bought huge bags of delicious apples for ¥1000 each. Here is a picture of Kimberly showing that mochi who is boss:

photo (2)

– Last week was the Skill Development Conference for all JETs in Aomori. I did learn a lot at the workshops I went to, especially the Goal Setting workshop. Why did I not learn or pay attention to goal setting earlier in my life? I’ve always been bad at setting goals because of lack of confidence and fear of failure. It really inspired me to work on setting some concrete goals.

– Lastly, but not least… Lisa (a good friend from Lewis & Clark, my college days) came to visit me! The last time we had seen each other was actually in Japan back in 2009 when I was in Tokyo for my host sister’s wedding. It was awesome to see her and hang out with her again. We both agreed that it was really comforting to get to talk to someone “from the past” who you have history with. We talked of old things, new things, and it looked like she had a great time in Aomori. I was working during the day time, but we had a couple of really nice dinners, watched Pocahontas (she had never seen it!), bummed around Aomori City, tried lots of different kinds of apples, and took some purikura.

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3 Comments to “Random Observations As Of Late”

  1. Tampons are contraband in Japan. I think the person ringing up your purchase is generally more embarrassed, especially if they’re a man. The guy who rung up mine last time was really young and I was laughing a bit inside. And yes, it is completely highway robbery. I paid half that. :s
    It snowed here all day on Saturday but it’s pretty much melted now. I want it to come back ;~;

  2. Maybe they’re so expensive because you have to pay for the paper bag too ;) But in the end, it’s probably just as expensive to ship them from the states.

    It’s finally getting cold down here, but I guess I can’t complain after seeing your pictures of the snow. Keep warm! I wish I could take a heated train…..I just have my bike. *shivers*

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