Running on Empty

I have been in Japan a total of 4 days. Well, today is my 4th day. I know I will get busy soon and not write as much…but I want to remember as much of this journey as I can in the years to come.

I started work yesterday. First day in the world of bicycling as well… A wonderful woman who works here in Japan took me to set up a bank account and pocket wifi. Now I am able to have a device with me…which means I don’t have to worry about getting lost (YAY!). I have met incredible people here that have helped me greatly. I am extremely thankful to be in such a place…where people are willing to help even when they do not know me and have no incentive to help…This is my kind of community.

Today was my first day with students! The children are junior high age. The group I worked with today was incredible. Their smiles, effort, ability and happiness filled the room. One student in my group especially made me laugh. I met some wonderful ALT’s today too. They were extremely helpful, funny, and kind. One even showed me a burger joint after we were finished with our English Workshop…Mmmmmmh mmmmmh!


Last night I went to bed when I got home from work at about 4:00pm. I woke up at 7:00pm but went back to sleep. I am exhausted. I’ve spent the most amount of time in my room running the AC and my fans because by the time I walk in the door my entire body is dripping sweat…HEAD TO TOE dripping sweat. Today it says it is 91…but I find that hard to believe. With the 60% humidity…it feels unbelievably hot.

A few challenges I have had or am expecting are:

  • Sleep/lack of energy…I guess I now know what Jet Lag is.
  • shopping for groceries…I cannot read anything so if there is not a picture on the item I have no idea what it is.
  • I need to go find sunscreen today-I couldn’t find it at 711. I walk to 711 every morning (I’ve been waking up at about 5-6am).
  • the communication barrier makes me feel a little embarrassed. When people talk to me and I don’t understand, I feel bad, like I’ve done something wrong. As soon as I am settled in I will start taking Japanese lessons.
  • BIKE RIDING! The traffic of walking/driving/biking seems to be random. I get scared I will run into something/someone. Everything is bigger in Texas…everything is smaller in Japan (vehicles, lanes, food portions).
  • There is Baskin Robbins but there is not pralines and cream! : o
  • you cannot buy a quart of ice cream…but the selection of a scoop size portion is unbelievable.
  • The date is written differently (2018*08*02) and when writing my name it goes last name then first.
  • I must cover my tattoos completely, each day. That means a bandaid on the forearm and on the ankle until I find something more appealing.
  • The absolute hardest part of being here…is the love I left at home. Hearing from you makes me incredibly happy but it also brings tears to my eyes.BOXH3362 I miss my dog and my people. I am enjoying myself so far…but when I get a phone call or a video chat…my heart flutters but I have to hold tears back. I hope that part gets easier…I’ve only been here 4 days-that part has to get easier even though I will miss you greater.  I’ve always had a hard time with HappySads as I call it… Some people call it bittersweet. img_0019.jpg

Today will be my first time venturing home without guidance.

Looking forward to the journey-because now, even my ride home is an adventure. 


6 thoughts on “Running on Empty

  1. Rachel! Again, I will say you are a great writer! I hope you are able to continue your journaling all along the way!! I’m so happy to hear how incredibly kind and helpful the people in your community are… that’s so perfect!! I know your presence makes them smile as well. You’re going to take Japanese classes?!! That’s so cool! It’s such a beautiful language… your journey is going to be such an amazing one! Thank you for taking us along!!❤️


  2. I love following along this beautiful adventure with you! You amaze me and I hope you keep writing. Love ya lady! PS sorry about the Pralines and Cream 😕


  3. Rachel, you are off on another grand adventure! You are a wayshower, giving your friends the courage to do things they can’t imagine! I spent several weeks in Japan when I was 10. I have amazing memories of that trip. So much grace and humility and beauty there. Take every opportunity to travel about the country. Maybe not Fukushima. Take a bullet train! So many beautiful gardens and temples to see. Trust your journey, remember you are loved, immerse yourself in your adventure. Angels are everywhere, find them! 💕mamadeb


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