Today, I had to make my way to a town on the Sea of Japan called Maizuru. Since my visa expires next month and I am planning on staying at least another year, I had to go to the immigration office and apply for a renewal. As long as you have the correct paperwork, the visa renewal process is pretty much a formality. It is just one that requires a lot of paperwork. Since Maizuru is about an hour and a half away from Fukuchiyama, I do not want to keep having to go back and forth. Fortunately, all of my papers were in order and I will only have to return once more to get my actual visa stamp. After that, I have to go to my city hall and have my ARC card changed to reflect the new visa information. The process of extending my stay is an easy one, I just don't like dealing with all of the bureaucratics of it.
I was able to talk Maya into giving me a ride to Maizuru today because she teaches there and it was on her way. Good thing too, the immigration guy knew absolutely no English and Maya was an asset as a translator. After submitting my paperwork, she dropped me off at the train station and took off to class. Upon getting my ticket, I found that a direct train to Fukuchiyama was a couple hours away so I explored the area a bit. I went to a department store and then I stumbled upon a very good Indian restaurant named, Karachi. Anytime I can get Indian food, I am happy, Anytime I can get Indian food and some donuts for dessert, I am very happy. All in all, the trip went pretty well and it was a good outing.
This week I am in Miyazu so that means it a pretty laid back week. My Japanese lessons are going well but Maya is pretty hardcore about them. She bought me a new textbook and the accompanying workbook and has me reading outloud from it. I am kind of uncomfortable doing this because it puts me in a position in which I must correct mistakes and figure things out on the fly. It is also going to pay off dividends for those same reasons though. She also has me practicing writing kanji as well as reading Peter Pan. She also give me homework to be completed by the next lesson. For ten bucks and hour, I am getting a smoking deal.
Now on to other news that, while not important to some of you, will be very helpful for others. Since I have started this blog and come to Japan, I have attracted readers that are also considering jumping ponds and hanging out over here for a while. I have been asked for websites that I use here that would be helpful for newcomers and after a bit of thought, have come up with three.
The first site is the page that will tell you train times and fares in English. It is run by Jorudan and I use it at least once a day if not more. Simply, input your station of origin and destination and when you want to leave or arrive, it does the rest. If you have to use this site, one thing to remember is if you input a trip and it gives you back several possiblities that will work for you, always look at the price. The trains with weird names like Thunderbird, Tango Explorer, Nozomi, Hikari, Max Toki, etc, are all limited express trains or shinkansen and will cost you a lot more money than the local trains. They may get you there faster but they will cost at least double what a local train would. Anywho, here is the link:
Second, is the Japan Meteorological Agency's English website. This site will give you weather forecasts, typhoon and earthquake information, and any other advisory that is weather related. What I like to do is go there after I feel an earthquake and see how many stations felt it and how strong it was. The information is displayed in real time and can be pretty interesting. Here is the link:
The last website is also the least important but the most fun. It is the MSN-Daily Mainichi Japanese News site. It is all in English and it is all of the headlines from throughout Japan. I like to know whats going on and this is a good site for that. My personal favorite section of the site is called the Wai Wai section. The Wai Wai is comprised of strange articles about Japanese culture, usually sex. Some of the stuff that gets printed in this section of the site would make most Western news editors blush but its usually pretty entertaining if not somewhat disturbing. At this moment, there are articles about hymen restoration surgery and some college girl that decided to make a porno out of her fisrt time. Anywho, for your Japanese news needs, go here:
I hope you find these sites useful, the train one is a definite must have. As usual, for those of you with questions about life here or anything else, let me know via the "comments" section and I will do my best to help you. I am glad you found my site and I hope you find it entertaining and informative.