Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Language Classes and What They're For

This past week I started taking language classes from a private tutor who was recommended by a friend who lived here for a few years. The instructor is great, I'm hoping to pick up some basic conversational Japanese, I have no illusions about learning the written language here I just want to learn enough to get by in day to day interactions.

I'm hoping that the language classes will help lower the cultural barrier, just tonight I had one of the experiences that wasn't so nice. As has happened before, the restaurant I picked for dinner had no English menus, no photo menus and no English speaking staff. To make it even worse, the table was so short I couldn't fit my legs under the table without stretching my legs out in front of me. I don't really find eating alone at restaurants all that entertaining no matter what, under those circumstances where I had to order a random item, which in this case wasn't all that tasty, and was too small to really feed me, it makes for a downright depressing way to end a day after 11+ hours in the office. It's that sort of thing that gives me pause before I agree to stick around six months. This is the sort of experience I wish I could share with all the people who tell me how moving to Tokyo is an Amazing opportunity, while it is, it can also be pretty unpleasant. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about being over here, I'm just illustrating the day to day challenges that can make life here pretty tough.

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