Friday, 20 May 2016

Daily life in Hitachi and general updates

How are you doing?

A small update of what has been going on lately and how's the daily life here as the blog posts appear months later than the actual thing happened.

- I'm generally doing fine (yay).
- Living in Hitachi is good. More about it below (trying to keep the list clean).
- Got addicted to a melonpan they sell here every Wednesday, it's too good! This one actually has melon in it and they bake the melonpan in the van so when you get it's fresh and fluffy. Yummy!

I got melonpan with Jess every week and I'm now trying to send her the weekly melonpan photos. :)

- Got new friends from Malaysia (Jess and Adrian) who were also doing an internship in Hitachi and living at the same dorm. Their internship was also an 8-month one, but it ended in April and they've already gone home by now. :(

Adrian, Anthony, Jess and me. It feels like this photo was taken ages ago even if it's only been a month.

- Got some new friends from the new employees. Though they are all foreigners haha.
- Spent a wonderful Golden Week holiday with my fiancé Tuukka in Kyoto while meeting friends.

Stayed at Gojo Guesthouse where I worked one month as a helper in 2014. From the left Kaji-san, Miwa-chan, me, Tuukka and Nao-san.

- Joined a yosakoi team at the end of January and keeping up quite well. Got an expensive costume (around 35,000 yen ~280 euros), but I love it. Had my stage debut a month ago and the first yosakoi matsuri/festival/competition is coming this weekend. In June I'll also participate the Yosakoi Soran Festival in Sapporo, which is the biggest yosakoi festival in Japan. Last year there were 270 teams, 27,000 participants and around 2 million visitors. Woopwoop!

My costume <3

- Starting playing taiko didn't turn out well as I went to a basketball practice in Jan and got a ball to my finger... The finger was not broken (did x-ray), but it's certainly not ok. It took almost three months to heal to partly ok. Even now, after four months, it hurts occasionally, but it's getting better. I could start taiko now, but yosakoi takes so much of my free time. The practice and performances also collide with the practice of one local taiko team whom I spoke with, so I guess I can't do it after all. :'( Have to play a lot of Taiko no Tatsujin instead!

General opinion about living in Hitachi

After the initial shock of "there's nothing here!" I came to realize I have all the most important things here: a supermarket and a 100-yen-shop next door, a couple of konbinis, a huge pharmacy store and a 24-hour book store on a way to the bus stop, an electric-appliance store half-way to the station and a train station relatively close. The train station could be closer, but it's still within a doable distance. And btw there used to be a station right next to our dorm, but they closed it ten years ago... That's why now our dorm seems to be in the middle of nowhere. There's also a really nice bath (onsen) only 2 km away from the dorm which even has a sea view. :) Here we also have both sea and mountains near and I really mean they are near. Though not as near as the mountains and river in Hitachi-daigo. We also have some restaurants, 100 yen per plate sushis and other ones as well as a Starbucks (here?!). The restaurants and Starbucks are not right next to our place, but within a doable distance with a bike.

From the bus stop.
Anyway, at first I was thought I would get bored here and was thinking what am I going to do with all the free time I have. But my schedule was quickly filled and I don't have problems with free time anymore, haha. Also once I got used to living here I realized how this is a lot like Finland. There's nothing much where I live in Finland even though I live relatively near the Helsinki (the capital) city center. From here, Mito, the prefecture capital, is quite close as well (30 mins by train), though it could be a bit more lively there's nothing much there either. For a short stay like mine, this place is a really nice one to see a different side of Japan. Not sure if I would like to stay here permanently, even though I love my yosakoi team and the melonpans and I'll be sad when I have to leave.

Daily life

My normal weekdays go like this:

* 6:30 - wake up
* 6:50 - get out of the bed after a couple of alarms and cursing why I have to get up (I'm not a morning person)
* 7:30 - leave the dorm and bike to the bus stop or half the way
(if it's a day for yosakoi practice, I'll leave a bit earlier, bike to the nearest station, leave my bike there so that you'll get home faster in the evening and walk to another bus stop)
* 7:50 - get on a bus (there's only one to go with in the morning)
* 8:20-8:30 - arrive to work
* 8:50 - start working
* 12:00 - a 45 min lunch break
* 15:00 - coffee break
* 17:20 - day ends, going home
* 17:40 - take the bus home
* past 18 - arrive home, get groceries on the way, do laundry, iron shirts, clean up, cook, try to update blog, study Japanese, read books, watch series (currently I don't have any), practice yosakoi choreography from videos or accidentally get lost in the internet and find out it's already 22:00. I need a lot of sleep (like 8-9 hours every night), so I'm trying to go bed early. It rarely happens.

Or if I'm going to a yosakoi practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays

 *17:20  -  walk to the station
*18:00 - take a train to Mito
*18:30 - arrive to Mito, get dinner, play Taiko no Tatsujin
*19:40 - practice starts
*21:30 - practice ends
*22:04 - take a train back (this one or the one before if the practice ends a bit early)
*22:45 - arrive home, take a shower and go to sleep

Or I might have a Japanese class on Tue from 19:00 to 21:00. As the yosakoi and the Japanese class collide, I'm trying to do them every other week.


I don't even remember when was the last day I took easy at home. Generally since mid-April I've been busy and will be until mid-June mostly because of yosakoi and my fiancé visiting. In yosakoi we have an all-day practice (10:00-17:00) almost every Sun in a place that takes my 2 hours to go to. If I have free Saturdays (no practice or festival or holiday), but I usually spend them either by going somewhere with friends or writing the monthly reports for Vulcanus.

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