True to the name of our blog, I’m going to talk about my wallet (saifu) today.
Up until now, I’ve been quite high on the thrill of having a real job in the real world making real money. But, now that I’m getting as settled in as one can get in a foreign country where everyday things like going to the store can be a challenge, I’m starting to have certain desires. Quite a few of them, in fact.
Right now, more than anything, I would LOVE a bed. If I had a bed, I would cherish it, love it, and call it my squishy for I hope that it would be the softest, most squishiest bed ever. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no room in my little apartment house for a bed. I could probably fit it in the tatami room (where I’m supposed to sleep, but don’t because there’s no air conditioning in there), but beds aren’t a good idea to put on tatami anyway.
So, as I lamented the fact that a bed was not a plausible idea, I hit upon the thought of getting a sofa bed. That would not only solve most of the problem of not having a bed (it wouldn’t be quite as squishy, but hey, I’ll take anything over futons on the floor), but it would also give me a nice place to sit with guests during my down time and liven up the emptiness that is my living room.
Merrily, I signed onto the internet and began to browse around the magic that is Amazon with the intent of finding the best sofa bed ever. My merriment was short-lived, however, when I saw the prices of a decent sofa bed. Even those on the cheap end of things are a bit pricey. If all I ever needed in life was a bed, I’d probably do it. But, a bed isn’t the only thing that keeps me going through daily life.
A ridiculously large portion of my budget goes to food. Cooking for yourself everyday isn’t an easy task. It requires planning and lots of ingredients. That plus household cleaning supplies every week or two easily spikes my budget up to $100 or more a week. At first, I felt like I was a fatty. And then I realized that food is just expensive–especially fruits and veggies, ESPECIALLY in Japan. So, unfortunately, that is one chunk of money that I have no choice but to keep dishing out to spice up my dishes.
I would also like a DVD player. And a new microwave. And a new gas stove with buttons instead of knobs so that I can stop releasing fumes into my house every time I fail to turn the knob at exactly the right speed. And a kotatsu with a real heater underneath. And a stand for my shower things. And a real internet company. And a water filter. And some new clothes.
Alas! My wallet! It does not have enough money to support all of the things I would like to have. In a couple of months, I’m sure I could save up enough of my income to make some purchases, but there’s something inside of me that cringes at the thought of all my hard-earned money going to belongings that I will no longer be able to possess in as few as 5 years or less.
Today’s Japanese (今日の日本語): I learned something interesting recently when people were asking me if I’d seen any more bugs in my house. In Japanese, you don’t say, “did you find any bugs?” “Did you see any bugs?” “Did any bugs get in?” “Do you have bugs in your house?” I’ve heard none of these things since I’ve been here. Instead, the standard question people have asked me is: mushi ga deru/deta? “deru” is a verb that can be translated to something like “to come/go out” or “appear.” So, the question roughly means, “do any bugs come out?/did any bugs come out?” I found the phrase particularly fascinating because it hints at the complete omnipresence of bugs here in Japan. People just assume that there are bugs everywhere; probably in your house, too. But only when you see them is it worth saying something about it. Of course there are bugs. Of course they’re probably in your home, but have any of them shown their squiggly little bodies in your presence?