Well, I finally got a chance to check my e-mail. I check it compulsively in the states, so I was getting a little anxious about going 3 days without looking in my inbox. I must say that I had a mixed reaction to opening it just now and not finding anything but junk mail. It was a little depressing to not have any news from anyone, but it was also relieving that I don't have to spend my time writing replies to people, especially considering I'm paying $4 an hour to write this in an Internet Cafe.
Before I go any further, let me just say that my first impressions of Yokosuka are really good. It's hard at this point to distinguish between my feelings for this particular city and my excitement at being back in Japan. But I'll try anyway...
Yokosuka has some beautiful sights. There are a ton of very steep and heavily forested mountains all over the place. Some of these mountains drop off directly into the sea, which is bustling with military and commercial activity. Considering it's medium size (about 400,000 people), Yokosuka is a very cosmopolitan city, owing its history as a busy port and the site of an American naval base. The people here are much more accustomed to having a foreigner in their midst, but there were still some startled faces when I went jogging in a residential area at 6:30 this morning (believe it or not, I did actually wake up at 6:00 this morning).
The first night I was here, I decided to take a walk around the hotel in the central part of town, but I had a bit of mild culture shock and returned after buying some Aquarius (the tasty sports drink no doubt named so because it is my sign) and Georgia Iced Coffee for the next day). I guess living in the midwest for the past 2 years has made me lazy and a little less attentive to my surroundings. I forgot the pace of life in urban Japan is very fast and highly structured. If you don't walk where you're supposed to when you're supposed to, you quickly become a bumbling nuisance to everyone around you. I don't think I quite got to that point, but I was getting close, so I went back to my room, had a shower, took a bath, called home, and got some well-earned shut-eye.
Since I forced myself to stay up until 10 my first 2 nights and woke up promptly at 6:00 or 6:30, the jet lag hasn't been too bad. I was a little wiped out last night, but I took a walk and had a shower before bed, so I felt fine the next day.
Before I go, I have to mention two things. First of all, I can't believe I have a washer and a dryer in my room. I think this is the first time I have seen a clothes dryer in Japan. For those of you who have never had to hang your clothes out to dry in the rainy season, count your blessings. I know I am. Secondly, Japan is a great country to get clean in. If you hate the hot sticky summers here, at least you can bathe many times a day and nobody will think you're strange for doing so. The best part is that all the bathtubs here are really deep so you can sit up and your whole body is immersed in hot water. Most of the water heaters are run by natural gas, so they don't run out, either.
I know I haven't talked much about work yet, but I will when I have been a few more times and I get used to the way things are done there.]
I'm going to add some captions to the pictures I uploaded to flickr today and post my temporary phone number here in Japan. I'm going to Tokyo this weekend, so I'll be sure to have pictures of that uploaded sometime next week.
So long for now!