Settling in and ‘acceptance’

Beginning to settle into Japanese life now. Having an apartment for a few days means not having to lug the rucksack around too much and we can explore Kyoto.

My first thoughts weren’t much. Big city, big station, some very ugly buildings. Quite westernised in that respect. Exploring Kyoto and visiting the places on my list allowed me a chance to quit stressing and just be. The temples certainly helped too.

It is high season here and as the autumn leaves are now out the streets are busy. Something I have started to accept. I have also began to accept that I won’t know what certain things are until I try them. I know not to trust my eyes or my pre-judgments. I ate what I thought was a cheese roll. Turned out to have a hot dog and possibly a boiled potato hiding inside (still not entirely sure what it was). I also now know that a soft boiled egg… does not mean runny inside but basically not cooked. Thus not great for eating on the go! That was a rather messy realisation…

So I suppose I am moving to a stage of acceptance. Accepting that I won’t be able to read most signs, posters, labels or menus. Accepting that I probably am going to be eating some strange meat or concoction that I wasn’t expecting. And accepting that the rest of Japan plan on going where I’m going at that minute.

A big struggle that I’ve had has been adapting to the different cultures (of course). I got so used to the few phrases of Indonesian I knew and to use prayer hands when greeting or thanking people. Stopping the prayer hands and trying to bow has been hard! My head knows how to bow but the rest of my body gets all confused. The language is just difficult. Oh and slurping! I knew about slurping before coming as I read up on social etiquette in Japan. I cannot stand slurping back home, I can’t be in the same room as anyone eating soup. But here I have a true acceptance for the slurping. But that doesn’t mean I can do it. Its as though the irritation caused by slurping has made me unable to do it, I can’t slurp properly at all.

This has all come at the right time I suppose because tomorrow I will be getting a night bus to Tokyo (a ladies only carriage “to support my beauty” apparently!) and Tokyo is bound to be like nothing I’ve experienced before. If Hong Kong caused me headache… I’m in for a shock I think.


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