Dateline: Friday August 11, 1989
After a week or so, the deafening whine of cicadas melts into the background.
- Orientation at school.
|JQS shoes, school uniform
|Transfer to Oita bank
Friday August 11, 1989
You would approve my developing sense of closure. I wash dishes as I dirty them. Laundry cycles through in an orderly routine from miniature clothes basket, to miniature washing machine, to miniature clothesline, to miniature closet.
I have spent the day working out a place for everything. This is more difficult than you might imagine because people keep giving me things. Today I acquired an old metal drawer/cabinet monstrosity from the school’s warehouse. I also was given a wooden bookshelf which I managed to get into the closet and use for clothes. I put my foot down at this really hideous old burnt orange couch.
I am grateful for everyone’s kindness but they just don’t understand the word “no” here. They’ve found me a really nice Japanese-style apartment but they want to fill it with army surplus Western style furniture.
I’m glad I grew up as an Air Force brat because I’m able to ignore the government issue stuff and see only the nice things here. I’m beginning to understand how growing up always in a temporary house made me desire a permanent and stable ritual in my life. I recognize a lot of Sally’s eccentricities in my desire to have things my own special way. Now I’m beginning to see why I had to put my stamp on everything.
Two things that are difficult for me [to accept] are my sense of total dependency and the concept of gift giving. If Murakami-sensei were to desert me, I could do nothing on my own. I can’t read, write, speak, or use the phone, or drive anywhere on my own. I’m independent only as long as I stay in my apartment. However, I have learned to walk to the supermarket and buy some foods (most unrecognizable).
Tomorrow, which is the first free day we’ve had since we got here, Joseph and I are planning an adventure: a trip, by train, to downtown Beppu. We live in Kamegawa, sort of the North Austin of Beppu. It is a 7-minute train ride to downtown. I have no idea how far that is in miles because, as you know, only 3 countries have failed to convert to the metric system. And Japan is not one of them. I can’t even tell you how many kilometers it is. People tend to measure distance in time here: “It’s a 4-minute walk.” “It’s a half-hour drive.” […]