The first few days

Remembering streets, places and smells.

In order to make things easy for myself, I decided to stay at the same hotel in Fukuoka that I stayed in before. The eased the pain of entry into the country when I could flash the business card of the place and stay I was staying there. It also meant I could show the taxi driver the card and be whisked there pronto.

Most of the first week or so seems a blur. I did find accommodation with a shared apartment, I did start getting job interviews and I did get to aquaint myself with takoyaki.

As usual we have rain, cold weather and the normal sort of things one would expect moving to the Northern Hemisphere. The apartment I’m in (whcih is the second I looked at) is quite large by Japanese standards. The bulding is brand new and so the place is still clean. I share with a guy called Parvev, who is from Bangladesh. He works for the UN Habitat, which have their Asia office here, in the most livable city in Asia.

Parvez had already bought most of the stuff required for urban living, TV, microwave (some would fridge, chairs, table, etc. I had to go and buy a futon, et. al. which was an experience in itself. Trying to explain to two very short Japanese sales assistant girls that, being a 180cm tall westerner, I needed something a little bigger. Anyway, I got a futon set (top – a doona/quilt and bottom – mattres) sheets and pillow. I think I might have to get another pillow, as this one seems a little hard for my liking. It’s not bad enough sleeping on the floor, on a rather hard futon, but not having a pillow that allows for some comfort just make me mad.

But, the single most important thing thsi place has is Internet access wired into the rooms. I’m tlaking 100Mb LAN, fibre optic connection to NTT. We’re talking fast, really fast. Gobsmackingly fast. If they are charging for download quantity then I’m stuffed.

Walking around Fukuoka again reminded me of some of the other places I had visited last year (2002) in Japan. But this time there was a different feel to it all. Before when I was on holiday, everything seemed surreal and not really there. Like I was visiting an ephemeral plane of existence, and I was granted a 2 month ticket to visit. This time there is the cold hard reality of finding somewhere to live, finding a job, etc., etc.

Mienohama is about 20 minutes west from the middle of Fukuoka. It is at the edge of the subway, and so in some people’s mind, the edge of the city. Which it probably is. Further west is just more suburbia. But across the road I have a Royal Centre (like K-mart, but bigger) a Sunny’s (like Woollies) a Gulliver’s (bottlo) and a few other things that are really useful to have nearby. The subway is about 8 minutes to walk.

Apart from that, most of my days involve surfing the net, looking for jobs, having interviews, watching TV, cooking. The same as what I did back home really. Except the looking for jobs bit.

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