Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hooray for Japanese bureaucracy!

Today was a pretty, pretty, pretty good day, although I suppose any day that doesn't involve lugging heavy suitcases across Japan is a pretty good day.

But seriously, today was a good way in a lot of ways. I managed to apply for my Alien Registration Card and the National Health Insurance system in the same day -- and I say hooray for the Japanese bureaucracy because when questions arose regarding how I should deal with my health insurance when I move from Aichi Prefecture to Kanagawa Prefecture next month, the officials at the city office were able to answer the question and acted quickly to process my applications. After having dealt with the US Postal Service and the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles, it was odd to have a pleasant experience when dealing with civil servants.

The other thing that made today so good was that my Japanese language ability noticably improved today. It seems that learning a language is like a long, protracted war: lots of little improvements are necessary. A day like today brings me great joy, because I was able to follow the many conversations in which I became involved, even if my speaking abilities haven't quite caught up. I am extremely grateful to Nakaoka-san, the vice headmaster, who helped me at the city office today and talked to me for a good while today. Every conversation in which I feel confident in communicating is a small victory. Enough small victories and I might actually be getting somewhere.

Lastly, I managed to get a flash memory stick and so I can post some pictures I taught of the campus. I will take more as the days go by.

My room, for now -- I couldn't fit the entire room into the picture, but not by much

The view from my window -- the school's location is perfect, between mountains and the sea (The building in the picture is the main building on campus, including classrooms, administrative facilities, and dining hall)

I rather like this picture of the "Hinomaru" set against a backdrop of blue sky and mountains

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