Thursday, March 18, 2010

The speed of sound

So much has happened over the two weeks since I last blogged that I don't know where to start, the main thing of course being that I moved out of a single shoe-box sized room in a hotel, and into a Japanese "guesthouse" full of Japanese people and me. I won't go through the gory details, but basically despite the fact that it smells, its more expensive than a sharehouse, its a longish walk to the closest train station and I'm not allowed to eat/drink/hang my clothes out in my room, I actually like this place. Its got character due to the resident artist's crayon-like doodles over all the walls, and more importantly it has people. And even more importantly, those people spend time together, just hanging out, eating meals together, and generally being really welcoming.

Since I moved into this guesthouse last Monday, there have been at least 4 occasions where 7 or 8 people have just sat around the Kotatsu (a japanese table with a heater underneath and a blanket to put your legs under) and eaten dinner together. A lot of the time dinner is even cooked right there with people sitting around and talking. Its not uncommon for different people staying here to cook for everyone, and different people return the favor. I guess it must be partly because the people staying here aren't actually from Nagoya, and even if they stay here a whole year most of their friends are probably the people living here. But nonetheless, there seems to be a sense of community about this place that has been a stark contrast to the week I spent in my shoebox hotel.

I guess what it has taught me is how important it is to be around other people. Not understand most of what is going on around me is still incredibly hard, and even harder is learning things like the fact that you should chopsticks to eat the pizza-like thing (okonomiyaki) because it is on a plate. The fact that walking around the house without a pair of things on is considered unclean was a bit weird as well, but perhaps the funniest thing is that even though you need to wear thongs walking around the house, sharing bottles, chopsticks and shisha-hoses (I don't know the actual name) is fine. Things are never going to be easy when you're in another country, but so long as there are people to laugh with, things are better than being alone.

No comments:

Post a Comment