It's been a while since I wrote something and it's not because I haven't had something to say. In fact, it's because I've been to busy doing stuff to actually talk about it.
First off, I had someone talk to me and tell me that based on my journal entries that I seem more like a tourist than a student. First off, I don't write about everything I do. I just don't have time. So, of course I focus on the most interesting things. I'm not going to write about the hours of homework I did or my latest trip to the grocery store. It's not worth writing and it's not worth reading.
I needed to pick up my alien registration card, or my "gaijin card" as it's known. This is sort of like an ID to prove that I'm here legally. I had to go to the ward office which is located in Kamata. Getting the card and signing up for health insurance was a quick and decently painless process, and I felt that since I came all the way down there, I should at least take a look around. I had been there earlier, but it was my first time I got any freedom in Japan, so I was kind of just simply enjoying the fact that I was free and didn't really soak in the area. Also, I had nothing else to compare it to, really.
Now, I'm not so sure, but it seems to me that Kamata is sort of the bland working-class neighborhood in the area. It's not particularly clean and there were some rather iffy looking people in the area. I didn't feel like I stood out as a foreigner (unlike parts of Osaka, where I felt I really stuck out), but I did notice that I was somewhat of a rarity there.
The whole place had this 'renovated in the late 80's, early 90's' vibe.
Hmm... That plaque is dated 1989. Looks like I was pretty accurate.
(sidenote: I did actually think it looked like it was revived/built in the late 80's early 90's before I saw that sign)
So, what is that referring to? Well, this:
It was a nice bit of modern art. It was in a little park in the center of an odd shaped rotary. And on the other side had this creature:
I don't think that guy was from the late 80's, but I could be wrong.
So, I wandered around. The interesting part of the area isn't really very big. It was just a few blocks around the train station, but as I was walking, I passed by an elementary school.
I thought the school looked really creepy at first, but the weather I'm sure was part of that.
Japanese schools are definitely different looking than American schools. It was interesting to see one.
So, while walking around, I saw this thing from a distance:
That's a parking deck. There are slots for 8 cars and it rotates until you get your car and then you drive off. It seems really scary to me, and when it's spinning, the cars are swaying. It looks odd.
I took more pictures, but honestly, it's not really worth seeing. There was this dingy covered road that looked like it had seen better days. It wasn't BAD, but it wasn't the best. I actually kind of liked it. It had a lot of restaurants and this kind of a old feel to it. It also wasn't the kind of place that catered towards tourists, which was nice.
I also found this really cool and tiny pawn shop. They had things like $100 shit basses and old electronics and stuff. They had this one really odd looking bass which wasn't too expensive. I'm sure it was rare and probably worth more than what they were asking but I didn't know what it was, nor was I dying to buy a bass today.
I was dying to get some food. There was this really cool looking Chinese restaurant by the ward office. I saw one in Yokohama, and was a little sad to see that it was a chain place, but it looked cool anyways, so I went in.
Interesting looking place, eh?
I was excited about this place. There was a table of business men and women and the food looked good. I found out, it was a chain, but there were 3 restaurants. This one, the one I saw in Yokohama, and one in Shanghai. I don't mind going to a chain Chinese place if one of their shops
is in China.
But, then I looked at the menu:
If you read Japanese, I'm sure you understand how scary it is for me, someone who knows like 30 Kanji to see this menu. If you don't read Japanese, then the majority of these characters are Kanji, which are Chinese characters and are meaning based, not sound based, which means they're really hard to read.
So, I did the whole "get out of the restaurant and point at the sign in the window" trick. I most certainly felt like an idiot, but whatever. It's not like I had many choices. So, this is what came:
Damn, that was delicious. It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but every bite was better than the one before. Judging by the other table and the size/style of dish, you're supposed to order a few things and share them with others. I'd like to go back with some native speakers.
Anyways, that was my trip to Kamata. I think, technically speaking, it's the closest major shopping area to my house, so if I ever need something or I just want to go somewhere away from downtown, I'll remember this place.