David Chart's Japan Diary

April 7th 2005

Enjoying Sakura Parents and children enjoying the cherry blossoms in the park.

Doesn't time fly when you're having fun? I can't believe it's already a week since I did a diary entry, and thus time for a new one. I have been having fun, but I've also been quite busy.

Friday and Saturday were mostly taken up with little bitty jobs, and having proper trans-Pacific video chats. On Sunday, the bookshelves and wardrobe arrived. I had to go to the 100 yen shop to buy screwdrivers and coathangers, and assembling the bookcases took quite a while. Still, I got it done, and even managed to do some work, as well. That got the flat to 'livable', and that's roughly where it's stopped since. I've had a lot of other things to do.

Cherry and Pine Cherry blossoms and pine branches, in the park.

Monday, of course, I had to go to Nagoya to pick my visa up. You have to take the notification postcard with you, so I went to Okazaki and Yamasa first. The postcard was dated March 29th, which means that it took them about two working days to decide to give me a visa. I dropped into the teachers' office and said hello to Nakane-sensei and Kurita-sensei, who were the only teachers I knew who were present. There were a lot of new teachers; apparently there's been quite a substantial turnover this year.

That was a strange feeling. For so long, ever since I first saw the place, I've been a student. Suddenly, I'm not. It's very odd. Nakane-sensei did say that she would continue checking my Japanese diary (the one in Japanese) for me, which is very generous of her, and should help a lot with my written Japanese. I am planning to go back to that end of the country this summer, so I should see everyone again before too long.

Cherry blossoms over the river Sakura over the river near Yuriko's.

I was also able to close my Okazaki bank account and go to the tax office while I was in Okazaki, which got a couple of things sorted out. Then I went into Nagoya to visit immigration.

There was no problem. There was, however, a long wait; about an hour and a half. I was glad I'd taken plenty of reading matter with me. Apparently, that's a busy period there. It makes sense; almost all student visas end around then, and thus need to be changed or extended for people who are staying on. After waiting, actually picking up the visa took about thirty seconds. "Is this you?" "Yes." "Here's your visa. One year, specialist in humanities, valid until April 1st next year." "Thank you". The End.

I had some time to kill in Nagoya before my train, so I sat in a coffee shop and read for a while. I got back fairly late, but not too bad; Nagoya is a perfectly practical day trip from Tokyo, if a rather expensive one.

Cherry blossom outside a primary school Sakura outside the primary school near Yuriko's.

Since then, I've been working hard. Tuesday was slightly interrupted by the need to get my alien card updated again, but I got quite a bit done, and yesterday and today have been very productive, with the result that one editing job is now finished. So I can start the next one tomorrow.

This week, the sakura (cherry blossoms) are in bloom in Tokyo. The route from here to Yuriko's takes me past two primary schools, a middle school, and a high school. They all have sakura planted outside. I also go through a park, which, again, has sakura. Even in the midst of all the concrete, the blossoms are quite beautiful. The new school year starts around now, so the sakura are in bloom for children arriving back at school after their holidays, or starting their new school.

I'm finding a bit hard to remember that school isn't going to start again for me. Once I finish the next editing job, I have time to get going on the writing projects that are waiting. No lessons. No tests. No homework (not that I was doing any of that anyway). What will I do with all this time?

I think I might actually take a short holiday once the next deadline-intensive job is done.