This week, I would like to talk about my life here in Kagoshima. I am going to talk about small details that may seem trivial to some, but is very interesting for me. These would include, among others, my apartment, my way to and from the office and even the food I eat. This way, I hope you can get an idea of how my ordinary day in Kagoshima would look like.
I normally would wake up at 8:00 AM to the sound of my mobile phone’s alarm function. My phone’s alarm sound is really something. It sounds like a fire alarm. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of my neighbors would budge into my room thinking that my room is on fire. Nevertheless, what’s important is that it does its job… it wakes me up.
From 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM, I would normally do nothing but think. However, during some rare occasions, I would wash the dishes or clean my apartment. At 9:00 AM, I would take a bath and take note… in my private bathroom (very different from what I used to have in Nagano… a public bathroom).
However, there is something strange about my bathroom… It has a rather big window that leads to the corridor. Although it has smoked glass, I suspect that when the lights are on, people passing outside could see a silhouette of my naked self. Maybe, I should buy a curtain someday. Hmmm.
After around twenty minutes of bathing, I would fix up and walk to the office. Oh, before I forget, part of my daily routine is to pass by a nearby convenience store to buy my breakfast. My breakfast is one of those triangular shaped rice-food, sometimes, with tuna and at other times, with small slices of chicken. It’s surprisingly tasty and much better and more practical than if I do the cooking myself.
I would normally arrive at the office before 10:00 AM and almost always, I am one of the first ten to arrive at the office. The other employees arrive much later. The first thing I do after arriving at the office is to check my mail. MS Outlook is always the first program that I run. Being a member of at least three active yahoo groups, I receive a lot of mails every day. You’d be surprised how much email I receive.
After the usual “Ohayo Gozaimasu” (“Good Morning”) to everyone I see, I would work on my daily to-do list, which I religiously follow and later on, brush up on my Nihongo. My to-do list would include tasks that I need to finish for the day, mostly concerning my projects at work. For my Nihongo self-study, I try to master a few new kanji’s every day. I have two notebooks, one for my to-do lists and another, for my Nihongo.
Then at 12, T and I would go out to a nearby department store to buy some bento food (packed food) for lunch. Sometimes, I would pass by a nearby bank or a nearby post office to do stuff but normally, we would go straight back to the office and eat our bento food there.
During this crucial period (lunch until 12:45 PM), I do nothing related to work. I just browse the net, do my emails and occasionally, talk with people. I said crucial because this is the time that I update myself with what’s happening in the Philippines (www.inq7.net), I send texts to my mother (www.unimobile.com) and reply to some of my mails, mostly from the Yahoo Groups. At exactly 12:45 PM, fun time’s over.
During Mondays, we would normally have a short meeting (where I don’t understand a thing they’re talking about because it’s in Japanese) but on days other than Monday, it’s back to work for most of us. After lunch is when I really do most of my work.
One by one, I would try to complete items I’ve written in my to-do list and if I can’t, I just postpone them for the next day. Occasionally, I would take short breaks. I would drink water or just go out by the river to get some fresh air. In case you don’t know, our office building is just beside a river and just across the bridge is a small park.
At exactly 7:00 PM, I would fix my things and leave the office. Of course before that, I’d have to say “Osaki ni Shitsurei-shimasu. Otsukaresama deshita” (“Excuse me for leaving before you. Goodbye and thanks for your help”) to everybody I see. That’s what they always say when they leave so I guess, I have to say it too. Besides, when in Japan, do what the Japanese do.
Sometimes, I would pass by a nearby department store or maybe, eat dinner at a nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken. Most of the time, however, I would go straight home and prepare my own dinner.
Now, the hard part… preparing for dinner. I am not a very good cook. I’m not even a good cook in the first place. Thank God for the rice cooker, I have no problem with rice. For my viand however, I am limited by the dishes I can cook. So, my dinner would normally look like breakfast. You know, fried hotdogs, fried bacon and fried ham. Recently however, there had been some improvement. Now, I have mayonnaise to go with the fried dish.
By the time I finish my seven-month stay here, I would have probably fried everything there is to fry. It’s a good thing I have Filipino friends, who cook extremely well. During weekends, I can have a taste of good Filipino foods… pinakbet, sinigang, tinola, adobo. Name it, they can cook it.
After a good meal, I would almost always take a rest and watch some Japanese TV. It is really interesting watching all these shows. Even if I don’t understand much of what they’re saying, I can understand what’s happening by their actions. Besides, I can practice my Japanese because most shows have Japanese captions. I can compare what they’re saying to what is written in the caption.
After a short rest, I would normally do my laundry, iron my clothes or wash the dishes. After which, I would read some books or write to my family. At 10:00 PM, it’s back to the television for me because I always watch NHK News 10. It’s a good thing it is a bilingual show — meaning, if I press a button, I would hear only English… if I press that button again, I would hear only Japanese. Nice, isn’t it?
This way, I get to know what’s happening in Japan and also, I get to know the weather the next day. Their weather forecast is almost always accurate unlike in some country I know.
When the show ends at 11:00, it’s back to my books for me. I read and read until I get sleepy and after I sleep, I get up again to the wonderful sound of my fire alarm.