(The following post is from 2010. I imported my blog posts from my month long trip to Japan for posterity and to remember fondly!)
Here are a few pictures of where I am staying in Chiba City.
Here is my room. It’s small but really nice. You can’t see it, but across the room from the dresser is a closet where the futon I sleep on at night is stored.
Typical street in a japanese neighborhood. In Japan, they have more freedom on how they design their house and what they do with their area. Where as in America we have to stick to a set look depending on the neighborhood, or otherwise we get the home owners association on our backs.
All the houses have the walls around them. Most all of the houses contain a garden with special trees, flowers etc. I saw many neighbors who also took care of bonsai trees.
Here is the local clinic, which is about a minute walk away from the Takata’s house.
Chiba City is a very quiet city. Other than the occasional dog barking, ambulance sirens, and car passing by you do not hear very much. The Japanese may not be as social as Americans, but they respect each other’s privacy a lot more. If someone in the neighborhood want’s to put something unique in their yard, no one is going to get upset.
This is a local park in the area. Swing set, play house with a slide, giant sand box. Your typical public playground area.
Here is a close restaurant which serves tonkatsu (pork cutlet).
Here are a bunch of gardens. These gardens are rented off by the owners of the land to locals who would like to have their own garden, raise some of their own crops etc. Although the owners could sell off the land, there are high taxes in the process and the locals enjoy being able to utilize this space for their gardening hobbies.
The weather so far has been humid. It has rained a few times, and even when it is raining you can still feel the heat. The sky is usually a light grey-white; almost dreary. Despite this, the weather does not seem to affect everyone’s attitudes. People are out going for walks, playing catch, shopping etc. Not in the rain, of course.
I doubt many foreigners get to experience what it is like staying in a Japanese neighborhood such as this, and so far I am greatly enjoying it! For the past couple of days, I have been visiting an international Christian school that Mr. Takata is involved with in a neighboring area (Honda) and have been able to get to know some of the bilingual students that attend there.
The people there are great, and being around people who speak both English and Japanese is very helpful in picking up the language. Although it is easier to just speak English to everyone, that does not help with language acquisition. I have been pushing myself to speak in Japanese when ever I can, even if I am not entirely certain the way I form a sentence is correct. This is the best way! I realize you have to try, and if you never speak because you aren’t sure it’s right, you’ll waste all your chances to practice.