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Despite the fact that I keep uttering the phrase ‘I live here,’ I still don’t think that it has fully sunk in yet. Although I’m only here for 5 months, I have a Residence Card, Japanese Health Insurance and my own flat complete with all the bills. By definition, this means I live here.  I better get used to it.

As I fully graduate to local status, I thought I would talk about a few good and bad perks that I face on a daily basis.

  • I only have one conduction stove, one pot, a kettle and a microwave oven. This has meant that I have had to become a master of one-pot recipes and be a bit more versatile in my approach to cooking. Microwave scrambled eggs have become a staple.
  • The fridge is in my bedroom. This would be fine if the fridge’s hum was constant but that would be too easy. Instead it falls asleep every so often and then jolts awake in the middle of the night which in-turn jolts me awake as well.
  • I have come across a fair amount of unwanted attention. Because I am an unnatural blonde, I stick out like a sore thumb. Thus, no matter where I go I get stares, giggles or even the occasional beep of a horn because I’ve apparently done something wrong, e.g. Crossing the road whilst there is a green light for pedestrians.
  • I live on the top floor. Enough said.
  • There is a 24/7 Family Mart right outside my block. Think of this as your local Tesco Express. It has everything, including a seating area, a toilet and of course, Mochi  Ice-cream.
  • I have my own bathroom. Surprisingly, this has been one of my favourite things about my flat. Even thou the shower is tiny, the water pressure is wonderful and I love being able to have all of my bits out on the shelves. Also, there is no worry about disturbing anyone if I want to go to the toilet in the middle of the night – the walls are so thick.
  • There seems to be a local banshee. A woman (we think) next-door has been causing quite a stir with her triweekly howling and screaming. The other night we got so scared and worried that we thought we might call the police but at that point she ceased.
  • I only live a 15 minute walk away from campus. It’s actually a really pleasant walk through traditional local houses and farmland.
  • The university canteen is so cheap. You can get a full hot meal for 400 yen which is about £2.80 and its delicious.

All these perks have made life here very interesting, believe me there are a lot more than I’ve listed here.

I’ve also come to understand why everything that matters is so difficult. Think about all the things that are so easy in Japan, for example, transportation, the trains are always on time, everything is so organised, there is a vending machine on every corner. These wouldn’t be so well organised if it wasn’t so difficult to change them. That’s why if you want to change anything or go a little bit of the box, it’s incredibly difficult. Form after form has been filled out in order for the train to arrive exactly when it says it will – and thats the same for every other system here. If you stick to the system, life would be easy. However, the very fact that we are foreigners means we can’t. Another thing that I’m starting to get used to.

I haven’t done much exploring this week so I thought I would just include a picture of my view from my flat.

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Pretty, isn’t it?

That’s all for now.

Becoming a Local

Ilsa Jones


2nd Year BA Film & English Student. Studying at Doshisha University, Kyotonabe Campus, Japan.


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