Monday, September 29, 2014

Life of Sky

Some people have asked what my days look like when I'm not gallivanting around Japan on a bicycle since I'm not actually able to do that all the time (bummer).  So, here ya go.  This is an average day for me when I go in to Hiroshima for my volunteer job.

Get up at 5:45 with Jeff (ouch).  Throw on some running clothes and we are out the door by 6:00.  We do a little 30 minute run and go roughly 3.5 miles.  Jeff hops in the shower when we get home and I start cooking breakfast.

There is no cereal isle in Japan.  Japanese are happy to eat fish, miso soup and rice for breakfast but I have a hard time with that.  We got a monster thing of old fashioned slow cook oats from Costco (yep, there is a Costco in Hiroshima that has some western food, thank goodness!) that I'll cook with frozen blue berries and walnuts or I make eggs.  Most days it's an omelet with veggies and egg whites (6 eggs with 1-2 yolks).  We eat breakfast together and if he has time Jeff does the dishes (which is really sweet and he gets them done most mornings) while I shower.  Jeff usually makes it out the door a couple minutes before me and walks to the bus stop for work.

I go down stairs and grab my orange bike (not the one that I ride long distances, just a little town bike that has no gears, a basket and weighs a ton).

This is me riding my new orange bike home from the store yelling "YAY!!!"  in a very un-Japanese like fashion and having a marvelous time.
There is a bike garage under the apartment where I keep my town bike (the fancy road bikes get disassembled and stuffed in a closet in the apartment).

Apartment bike garage.

Bike armed with an umbrella (see it tucked in by the rear wheel).  There are certain times of year where you can't anywhere in Japan without an umbrella.
 I hop on my bike and off I go to the train station.  The ride is about 1.3 miles.  Some parts of it are really pretty.  This is my favorite piece.
Ride to the train station.
There is one section in which the trees are full of little birds every evening, without fail.  There are so many of them chirping that it almost hurts your ears, it's crazy!

Once I get to the station, I park my bike.  It costs about a dollar a day to park your bike.

Bike parking at the train station.  This is a tiny portion of the bike parking available.
I leave bike parking, get to the train platform and get on the train.  Usually there is a train about every 20 minutes or so.  If I time things right it's not too crowded and I can get a seat.  Once in a while I get caught in the rush hour crowd and I have to stand.  It's about 35 minutes on the train. One of the favorite past times of Japanese people is sleeping on trains.

Waiting for the train on the platform.
People sleeping.
I usually put on my head phones and listen to a Japanese language lesson or listen to a podcast.

One I get to the much bigger station at Hiroshima I exit the train station and hop on a street car.

Two street cars going opposite directions.
The wait for the street car is only a couple of minutes and is between 15 and 20 minutes to my stop.  I can almost walk to the office as fast as the street car during rush hour but it's faster when it's not peak times and it's nice when it's really hot or rainy.

From the street car stop it's a 5 minute walk to my building.

Work is an odd assortment of things.  I've made a ton of flash cards for the kindergarten class.  Name badges for camp, English practice questions for collage level students, different types of supplemental material for the students.  I'm going to be helping tutor someone on chemistry and biology English terms starting this week and I help out on field trips with the little ones.  They are pretty cute.  I have my third field trip tomorrow where I'm helping with a class going to the zoo.

Herding kids to public transportation

Lunch in the park

Sleepy kids
Yep, the YMCA is silly enough to trust me with small children.  So far, I haven't lost any, had any potty emergencies or had any of the ones that I was assigned cry.  For me, that's doing pretty darn good.

Sorry, no pictures of me using a laminater, though I'm pretty much an expert now.

At the end of the day I repeat the whole transportation process in reverse (my commute is about 1.5 hours each way, which is a bit much for a volunteer job but I'm reimbursed for the transportation expense).  Depending on what is in the fridge I might swing by the grocery store on the way home.  Get home, cook dinner and have a nice evening with Jeff.

And that pretty much sums up a typical volunteer day.  I'll do another post on a non-volunteer day later.

By the way, I hope you all got my "Life of Pi" reference in the title since I think I'm being so witty, but I thought I'd tell ya just in case so you can be all "Yep, that Sky!  She's witty!"  So... Did it work?  ;-)

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