Ian and I got a little overambitious this month. Usually each month we send 100,000 yen (depending on exchange rate, but about $1,600) home for savings. This month we thought that we were financially stable enough to send back two months’ worth. The month started out okay, but now as I am less than a week from the next pay day, it feels like we are scraping the bottom of the barrel. We’ve been able to still do a LOT on our shortened budget, but it feels like for the past week, we’ve had to count each and every penny. We still have a couple hundred dollars in our account here, but we really don’t want to withdraw anymore until payday. We have a HUGE five kilogram bag of rice, and we laughed and said that if we run out of food, we’ll just live off of that:
breakfast: rice with a little milk and sugar on the top
lunch: rice balls
supper: rice with a little salt, pepper, and cheese for flavor
I am really amazed at what we CAN do on just one salary and still manage to save, which makes me wonder just how much more we could do (or save) if we both had this job!
We had very few plans for the weekend, which was extremely nice. I love to travel and experience things on the weekend, but every once in a while, you just want a weekend at home with nothing better to do than sit around! The past couple of weekends we’ve been off to here, there, and yonder, and it kind of wears you out! We had several skype dates with friends on Saturday and Sunday morning. It has been a while since we talked to a lot of our friends, so from the time we woke up until about 2PM, we were on skype. Krista stopped by that afternoon, so we all had leftover curry and watched The Hangover II together.
Saturday night we met Melissa B. and Justine at Café Gusto to check answers to our Japanese test before mailing it off on Monday. Mary text me and asked if we had any dinner plans, so I invited her to join us….which was actually a really good thing because she ended up checking our tests for us. Yay for people who can speak Japanese fluently!
After dinner, we went to an event that Michael had worked very hard to put together. It was at a tea shop, and a few of us native English speakers volunteered to meet with people in our area to practice speaking and exchange our culture. We broke down into small groups of two English speakers and about six Japanese speakers. I was in a group with Shara, and Ian was with Ana. The first forty-five minutes was spent speaking English, then a break, followed by forty-five minutes of Japanese. The English time flew by. We went around and said our names, how old we were, and other basic self-intro facts. There was one lady who was Korean and worked as a Korean-Japanese translator in Seoul before moving to Japan and marrying her husband. Her English was phenomenal. When we switched to Japanese, it was horrendous. Shara’s Japanese is good, so she was able to communicate while I just sat there like the big, dumb idiot that I am! My one, two, or three word sentences just weren’t cutting it. It was fun and interesting because they were asking me questions about being married, American traditions, and when I was going to start having babies. In Japan, you start pretty much as soon as you get married. (I’m serious. I know women my age who already have two or three kids. SCARY.) They don’t understand “waiting” to have kids. I tried to explain that I don’t want to have kids in Japan. I want to wait until I’m home and have family around. I think the only reason they accepted this is for the waiting-to-have-family-around aspect. Oh, Japan!
The best thing to come out of the tea shop workshop was Ian’s job. One of the ladies was asking him where he worked, and he said that he didn’t have a job. She told him that one of her associates was wanting her to teach a few business English classes at a factory in Nishiki, but she was just too busy, so she called the associate and let him talk to Ian. All Ian had to do was register on a website, and the guy called him first thing on Monday morning. He set up a time to meet/interview Ian…which is tomorrow! We don’t know the full details, and it does depend on a few things. Ian said that he’s going to be honest and tell the guy that a) he can’t really speak Japanese, and b) he has non-refundable tickets to America for a whole month this summer. If the guy accepts that, then little Ian has a job! The job isn’t full time, which is fine. Since Ian’s here on a dependent visa, he can only work up to twenty-eight hours a week. From what it sounds like, they are really needing someone to do this, so hopefully it will all work out!
On Sunday as we were skyping David and Lucy, we found out that Daniel is engaged. Seriously…it feels like so many of our friends have gotten engaged recently. I guess we’re just all growing up, but it seems like all of our friends are getting married, buying houses, or having kids (or all three!). It’s WEIRD. At the same time, Mr. Reed and I are kind of frozen in time. As long as we continue to travel, we won’t be having any kids (unless God decides otherwise…) or buying a house. Thank God that we can at least scratch “get married” off the checklist!
Since we were in Kagoshima for Easter weekend, we didn’t get to have a big end-of-Lent-eat-all-of-the-sugar-you-can-find feast, so we did that on Sunday night. Justine invited Melissa B., Mary, Hiro, Ian, and I over to do that and watch Hunger Games. We had fondue, fried Oreos, Calpis marshmallows, cookies, doughnuts, cream puffs, funnel cake, and washed it all down with Coke. Talk about a sugar high!! That was the best dinner I’ve had in a while. As far as the movie goes, I wasn’t too impressed with it. Granted, it was a copy with Dutch subtitles, so I would like to see the actual thing and then judge if I like it or not. Plus, the camera work was really shaky, and at times, it was extremely difficult to figure out what was going on. When we left, Ian and I took the 43 home. The 219 runs straight from Nishiki to Yunomae, but there’s a ridiculous amount of traffic on it. We have been meaning to try the 43 since we realized that it goes to Nishiki, but we never did. I feel like if we were in a hurry, it would definitely be better since it doesn’t have the traffic of the 219, but at times it narrowed down to a one lane road and was much curvier than the 219.
Anyway, that was our lazy weekend! In the next blog I’ll catch up on events from this week!