Today is the first day I have spent all day at City Hall. I got the Japanese and the English versions of a picture book by a famous Japanese author about the arrival of Matthew Perry and his famous 'black ships' that forced the Tokugawa Shogunate to open Japan up to the world. The black ships landed near Yokosuka and the anniversary of that landing is next month, so they want me to read up on the history of it before the ceremony. I believe the U.S. Ambassador is coming, so it should be an interesting time.
I spent the last half of the day yesterday unpacking and I have realized that I brought way more clothes with me than I actually need. Unfortunately, I have to leave the place where I'm staying ('Society Hall' - 社会館 （しゃかいかん）) sometime in mid-July because they need the room to house visitors for some city-sponsored event (the full explanation was lost in translation). For the time being, however, I have a fully furnished, 2 bedroom apartment to call home. It's on the 7th floor and the front door opens to a view of the main street below and part of the harbor. There is a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Hospital directly opposite my building (behind the post office) and there are plenty of Japanese naval vessels docked in the bay. I have a veranda at the back of my apartment that has an INCREDIBLE view of a little village below surrounded on three sides by steep green mountains that look like they could collapse at any time. I have to take a bus that goes through a tunnel under one of these mountains. I uploaded a few pictures of these scenes on flickr, more to come soon.
I was going to get a pre-paid cell phone today, but the girl who knows about these things is not here to advise me and I forgot to bring my passport with me today. Tomorrow I don't have to come to city hall because they are giving me a full tour of the facilities at Shakaikan (my temporary home).
I apologize for not being very descriptive at the moment, but I will be leaving work in a few minutes and hopefully I can get to an internet cafe tonight to post more of my impressions (assuming they don't need ID).
Be back soon!