Moving in has gone beyond smoothly here. The school has put us and the other new teachers up at a hotel (the Hotel Twins Momochi) while we move in, and the room is tiny (typical for Japan) but very clean and, most importantly, with excellent air conditioning. For your own reference, the yellow P1, P2, P3, and P4 buttons on the hotel television remote (the most prominent buttons) do NOT take you to presets, but rather, to dirty movies. I am seriously hoping those two seconds don't show up on the school's bill for the room.
Our new apartment is small, but we're pretty much used to that, and the more we sit in it, the better it feels. The small size is encouraging us to think critically about how much junk we really need, and about organizing and storing it in the most efficient and aesthetic way. We started inventorying the stuff left by the last teacher (and the teacher before her, I think, from the Canadian currency) on Tuesday and choosing what to keep and what to give away to other teachers. To our utter amazement, our shipment showed up today. All but one of our twelve boxes is now unpacked in the new apartment, and I'm boggled by how much clothing I own even after getting rid of three bags to charity shops in Edinburgh.
We have had... let's see, maybe eight meals now? And really, no complaints! I am not completely clear on dates after Monday, when we had cold buckwheat noodles, which we used to have in Korea as well, and tasted great on a hot day. Monday's dinner was ramen (salty soy for me, spicy for Justin). We've had sushi at a great little neighborhood place, owned by an awesome older couple who felt it their duty to teach us sushi vocabulary by pointing at things and enunciating them - at the soy sauce, MU-RA-SA-KI; for picked ginger, GA-RI (see, I was paying attention!). There are two different fast-food burger joints nearby, the most important distinction being that Lotteria's fries taste just like McDonald's', and Mos Burger's fries are like Wendy's'. Today we had "sumo soup," which does not contain actual sumo but rather is, in larger portions, the preferred food of sumo for weight gain. I had this soup when I went to Tokyo with the APIS (Korean school) 8th grade, and loved it, and Justin feels the same way, but we figure we'd better restrain ourselves lest we inadvertently end up fit for nothing but sumo.
Which shouldn't be a problem with all the BIKING we've been doing! I haven't been on a bike since I lived in New Haven five years ago and, although my legs aren't thrilled with the change, I'm really enjoying it. On a bike, our apartment is less than five minutes from the school, with a lovely ride over the river footbridge (pictured in the previous post). We have seen multiple cranes on the river (birds, not construction equipment), old dudes fishing, and tonight, a marvelous sunset. We haven't gotten to the beach yet but it's next on our list. Not twenty minutes by bicycle! Good thing I bought a suit before we left the UK!
In other words, Justin and I are just delighted with everything so far. We have traveled enough to know that we're in the honeymoon phase of culture shock (the others, if you're interested, are rejection, regression, acceptance, and the ever-amusing reverse culture shock), but we are optimistic that Fukuoka is going to be a great place to live.