Last updated 6/18/09

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Groundwork

So I've been finding out a few things about my placement in Japan and my future residence. My predecessor, that is, the JET I'll be replacing in Japan and taking over at this apartment/school, seems very nice from our email correspondence. He's also shared some info that makes me slightly apprehensive and slightly intrigued/excited (I guess at the prospect of being challenged). Let me share some snippets of what I'm talking about:

Him: So I was talking to your go-between (every ALT is assigned an English teacher to help out with anything needs) and it looks like you will arrive in Itami on the 30th. She'll pick you up and take you to yourhouse. I have a presentation to give that day at my University so Ican't meet up, but I was thinking of coming by the next dayto show youaround and show you how to use the stuff in the house (the bath is especially complicated, as there is no running hot water and you haveto use a special heater if you want a hot shower), assuming that's cool with you.

Me: the no hot running water thing just for the shower, or is it in the kitchen, too? Heh, sounds fun.

Him: Yeah the hot water is lot of fun. There isn't any running hot water anywhere in the house, but there is a gas faucet-thingy in the kitchen, which gives you hot water more or less instantaneously. The shower is a bit more of a pain. You have to fill up the bath and then turn on the tub heater until the water is hot. Then the shower is a pump that pumps water from the bath into a shower head. Not too bad once you get used to it, but it does mean you have to plan your showers about an hour ahead of time in the winter.

So there you have it. This is something that no longer surprises me, although it can still be frustrating. Japan - often perceived as the world's technological powerhouse, yet there are still many places (even in the urbs and suburbs) that do not have a developed enough infrastructure to have access to hot running water. Sure, you can get cellphone reception on a middle-of-nowhere island or on top of Mt. Fuji, but middle class people are crapping in holes and heating their bath water for an hour with gas.

Let me end this post with a clarification. I like Japan a lot - that's why I'm going back. But there are many things I see wrong with it. It's just as I love America but there are many elements of American society (especially politics and pop culture) that I detest. So I'll get some Japan-appreciative posts in here, but there will also be some criticism. And that is the major reason my identity remains anonymous here - because JETs have gotten in trouble with their employers in the past for negative material posted on their webpages.

Well, my situation could be a lot worse. I could be going to a country with no hot water period.


Jeff said...

This lack of gratuitous hot water will not stop me from stowing away snuggly in your suitcase, and sneaking with you to Japan. Even pooping in groundholes will not stop me. I want to visit the land that gave us ninjas, RPG's, and Hello Kitty hentai (and don't even act like you've never watched it).

Jeff (with a capital "J") said...

And another thing. I capitalize the "J" in my name every time I submit a comment, but this stupid website fails to recognize it. This outright disrespect towards my name will not go unpunished. Mr. Shoe -- punish this website. Go!

Blue Shoe said...

Seriously, the offer is open to everyone to come visit me. I have yet to see - my apartment may be a little cramped for two, but it's near an airport and two cities. I may have to work a lot, but I could always throw you on a train into the city and hope you don't get too lost. Contact me for details when/if you're considering visiting.

Jeff said...

Hmmm...that is seriously a tempting offer...

Ben said...

I despise Japanese pop culture as much as American Pop-culture, and Japanese politics are probably not as bad because no one under the age of 40 over there seemed to care. I guess the point is that I hate you.