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Weekend? What Weekend?

I have officially lost all sense of time, here in Japan. 

Technically yesterday was Saturday and today was Sunday--the weekend, a joyous time for most people!--but for me I just had more job training. I'm looking forward, instead, to this upcoming Wednesday and Thursday when I have my next two days off: my newest "weekend." Conversely, I like commuting to work/training MORE on the weekends because the morning trains are much less crowded. Maybe the days of the week would matter more if I had friends I could meet up with on a regular basis, but since I can only see people I know here irregularly, if at all, if doesn't really matter much if my days off synchronize with everyone else's.  

So on my last two days off I did several things, some fun and some practical. The practical side consisted of doing laundry on one of this month's rare sunny days--since everything has to dry outside, whenever there's a sunny day in the midst of the rainy period, most balconies will be festooned with clothes out to dry, flapping gently in the breeze. I also did things like grocery shopping, and my repertoire of things I can make to feed myself on the cheap (I won't get paid until the end of this month) is slowly increasing. Now I can make marinated chicken breasts, tarako pasta (pasta with a sauce made from fish roe and topped with slivered dried seaweed), spaghetti and meatballs, Japanese sweet potatoes, and this delicious open-faced sandwich thing where I slather a piece of toast in ricotta cheese and top it with two scrambled eggs. I'm limited by finances, but also by ingredients (something as basic to me as Italian sausage is not at my local supermarket, for instance), kitchen space, and kitchen utensils. I DID just buy a rice cooker today, so now I can expand my meals to include varieties of "rice-with-stuff," hopefully of the green and healthy variety. 

I feel bad, though, that I don't have more exciting things to report to you guys...

One of the other things I did was stop at my assigned Nitori store to give my greetings to the tenchou (the head of the store) the fuku-tenchou (the vice-head of the store) and the floor managers. That building is part of the Takashimaya Department Store complex in Shinjuku, and Nitori occupies floors 1-5. Everyone seems very nice, and I got a brief explanation of where I go to change etc. when I arrive for my shifts. 

The next day I got lunch at an Alice in Wonderland-themed cafe. The food was, somewhat surprisingly, not terribly "themed," but the space itself was overwhelmingly cutesy. The waitresses wore blue maid uniforms, and the one male server I saw had a top hat on. When you were ready to order you had to call out "Alice" in a loud voice to get the attention of someone. It was weird.

And here's a photo of the Shibuya Scramble--that famous intersection where there's a literal mass of people crossing the street(s) when the walk sign is on. 

Two more days of training and then I get two more days off. Now I'm learning more practical things like how to work the in-store computer system, how to interact with customers, and how to do things like sign people up for membership cards. Just wait til I get my hands on a cash register! 


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