Sign language

※ This article discusses the 9th of October 2016.

During the night, my coughing worsened. I woke up and lost my voice. It hurts a lot to speak and eventually leads to coughing. So I did not show up in the study room as planned to meet Martina and stayed in my room. Time to tidy up things and write the remaining blog articles. At 12:30 Martina got hungry and visited me at my room. I told her in sign language about my problem. The question raised, whether there is some special Japanese sign language. Indeed, there is. Later on, right before christmas, I even saw Japanese people interacting with sign language.

We decided to go towards the train station. Martina discovered a restaurant nearby and we wanted to try it out. On Sunday, it seems to be closed. So we headed for the Seven-Eleven conbini. I was curious whether my account balance increased with the money transferred from Europe 3 days ago. Nope, the balance stayed the same. Even though we got some lunch, we were unsatisfied. Finding a clothes line for both of us was a necessary requirement. So we continued our search at the supermarket. Unsuccessful again, we found some dinner. We headed back home again. We came across a sign showing "Minatojima Shopping Center". We got curious which kind of shops there are on this island. As far as I know, besides IKEA, a few supermarkets and a few conbini, nothing of interest can be found on this island. Next time we will check it out. While eating lunch we discussed Japanese courses and how I/we can make some progress. We recognized that we didn’t buy water. We will check out the Shopping Center this evening. We might be able to find a clothes line we are still looking for.

In the evening we met again and went back to the sign. It indicated to go upstairs some stairs we didn’t know so far. We ended up in a nice shopping center. On the left and right side we found shops such as a Fast Food chain, a barber, a phone company, a shoe retailer and a supermarket. As I didn’t plan for a dinner specifically, we went for dinner at the Fast Food chain DomDom. The food was presented in an American style and contained many fat, sugary and fried products. However, the packages are smaller and equipment was still Japanese. It was a funny experience. I ate some fries and Martina got some Cheese Nuggets. I drank Coca Cola and Martina got some toxic-green artifical-tasting drink. I don’t remember its name. I like my fries, but didn’t like Martina’s food.

We continued our journey at an 100-Yen shop. It offers many small gadgets and household products. We were mainly interested in a clothes line. Martina found some Genkō yōshi; a paper defining a particular structure where to put characters on a paper. Furthermore it defines squares to put Kanji into. This way students learn to stick to a certain size when writing Kanjis. Martina needs the paper for her Writing class. I joined in, because of my interest in typesetting I was familiar with Genkō yōshi from the Wikipedia article and where is a better place to buy some than in Japan. I found some hashi. In the supermarket before lunch, I bought a set of 100 cheap chopsticks. Those chopsticks are meant to be used one time and thrown away. Depending on the quality, wood might chip off cheap chopstick. Good chopsticks (as in ramen restaurants) are mainly built from plastics and feature rough end to avoid food slipping off when grabbing it. So I had 100 cheap chopsticks and bought them to ensure that I have always some at home. But I was actually looking for 1-2 plastic hashi as I have just found. So I bought 2 hashi and now had 101 chopsticks available (I used one pair for lunch). Furthermore both of us got a bowl of plastic to eat some cereals, noodles or alike. Finally we found a solution for our clothes line dilemma: We found a simple rope strong enough to hold our clothes. 30 meters was 15 meters longer than required, but it enabled both of us to dry our clothes outside. I washed my laundry on Friday for the first time and Martina was about to do it today. It was a hazzle without a line on Friday. Our balconies have some supporting elements, but the line was missing. As far as the washing machine and dryer is concerned, unlike we were told at the Residence Orientation, we cannot insert coins directly, but necessarily need to buy cards for 1000 Yen.

Afterwards we visited the supermarket in the Shopping Center. I started to recognize that conbinis are more expensive and have a smaller product palette, but feature extended opening hours. Supermarkets on the other hand have a much larger selection of products and at lower prices. We went through the shop mainly to understand what is available. We both bought water and also Kellogg’s cereals for the morning.

In the end, it was a day with lots of shopping. But we discovered a new part of Hiratojima. Also I start to feel like I learn how to handle food supply and generally buying products for daily life.

I am sorry, if anyone was waiting for me online this evening. Because I have no voice and I was still at the Shopping Center, I was not in the video conferencing room. I also did not inform people. I need to work on my information policy.