Living In Japan
by Judy Trest
In January 1997, I joined my husband, Mike, for an extended stay in Japan. Mike was involved in the startup of a communications company with Japanese investors.
Most foreigners who work in Japan do so as employees of an international company and enjoy a built-in support group of co-workers who can guide them through unfamiliar territory. We traveled to Shin Yokohama independently and had to learn the ropes ourselves.
Our new home was on the sixth floor of a brand new apartment building—a ten minute walk from the office. The apartment overlooked a park adjacent to a river which overflowed during heavy rains. In spring, we watched cherry blossoms bloom in the park; in summer, we enjoyed the breezes created by our cross ventilation.
Our dwelling in Shin Yokohama was about 600 square feet and considered a luxury apartment—a far cry from our home in the U.S. The bedroom had only enough space for a double bed and two small end tables. We squeezed a desk and computer equipment into a second room to serve as a home office.
We shipped the comforts of home from San Diego, then quickly learned that any U.S. appliances operated by clocks (U.S. 60 cycles) would not run in our section of Japan which is only 50 cycles.
Public transportation in Japan is plentiful and traffic on the streets a nightmare, so we opted to go without a car. That meant frequent trips to the grocery store as milk and orange juice only came in quarts. It wasn’t possible to carry more than a few bags at a time.
Fruit was expensive; we bought it in small quantities. A small head of broccoli would sometimes cost $4.00. Wheat bread was a treat when we could find it. Otherwise we settled for plain white bread. We were soon buying online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It would take about four to six weeks for delivery, so I ordered our reading material in bulk and then spaced the ordering times out to coincide with the depletion of our reading supply.
Our Japanese sojourn came to an end in March 1998 with our return to San Diego. While Mike has lived abroad before this was my first experience with such an adventure. I know that sometime in the future we will probably venture forth once again as our love of travel and new places will never diminish.
Judy Trest has been lucky to have a variety of exciting and interesting adventures. Both Judy and her husband Mike are avid photographers. Her interests besides photography and travel are in the Internet and technology areas. Come Travel with Mike and Judy at their Web sites http://www.judy.trest.com & http://www.wandering-photography.com.