I started today up and out fairly early to get my morning practice in, also to beat the heat. I decided to skip going to the big park with the group, it was not productive for me. I stayed in the little space next to the condo. My own workout was better even though there was group chi it was not organized and I could work on more than one set, plus whatever else. I also did my Zazen before going out so the bugs would not eat me.
After breakfast and what not LZ and I headed off to immigration via the train. I was surprised to find how air conditioned they are. I do not recall public trans being that way in the states, but I never rode public trans in the summer or at all for that matter after I owned a car. I did ride the Bart, but one does not usually need A/C going into the City (S.F.) and although Philly gets hotter than Osaka back in the day there was no A/C on Public Trans. Anyway, every where you go here in O-town is a/c. Wimpy folks. Maybe if they left more trees on the streets and byways, they would not need so much Aircon…just saying. Outside of our park of town once into the “city” trees are few. I remembered why I dislike city life in most places, especially Japan. The parks are great, but few, almost none closer to and in Downtown. Anyway… I digress.
We made it to immigration, went to the info counter they were helpful, with no attitudes. They gave us a stack of papers to fill out. LZ did that part as they were in Japanese. My only beef was why does a retired age man need to put down his parents phone numbers, dates of birth and his sibling’s info. Ok so after some thought I figured the forms where not just made for me…shocking as it seems.
Once finished we went back in line to the info counter, really called the consultations counter. There were spoke with another guy. He was cool, nice guy. Asked if i wanted to legally use my Japanese name. Best if starting my own business, but do not need to do it until later if then. Also said, that teaching Tai Chi or Kung Fu is popular when taught in English, so they get more bang for the buck. ( my words). Anywho, now we got in the main line for processing. That was a fair wait, to turn in the papers, but not bad. Then sit and wait while everything was checked. Then we were told everything was as it should be, and if approved for a working permit and extended visa it would take about 1-2 months. I would get a notice by mail. All in all painless unlike the States, and far far far less expensive! Also the people were nice, very unlike the jerks in the States that work at immigration.
Next we were off to Kyudo shop. I have been blessed with enough donations to replace some of the things on the boat, that were left. A fellow blogger is loaning me his extra Yumi and Ya’s ( bow and arrows) , my sempai is sending me a glove. So I only needed a hakama and gi top and a few misc items. We made the track across town in the heat of walking about 15-20 min after leaving the comfort of and A/c train only to find the store was closed on Weds! Who closes on Weds!? 😦 uncivilized!! We walked back, went to a shop for cheap lunch , they were also closed !! It was getting unpleasant ! So we walked back the way we came to a shop we saw was open. We had a fair lunch for $5.00 ea. including cold drinks.
We were now done and headed back home. While on the train platform LZ remarks I look scary, like Yukuza…Huh!? I think to myself are Japanese so timid? Then I recall what Amy Chavez (a blond woman) said in her book Running the Shikoku Pilgrimage – 900 miles to Enlightenment that one of her reviews as a university professor said, that a positive about her was, she was not intimidating being she was so small. Really!! what happened to the brave Samurai spirit? A tall white woman would intimidate them! ok, so I get it, an old medium size thin Brother man in shades ( Yakuza wear shades) would possibly freak them out 🙂
I have on a large brim hat, sometime used before for sailing and sunglasses. Not even dark sunglasses, old school blu blockers. I have started taking off my shades inside, just so my shaded blackness does not panic folks. 🙂
Actually for the major part I have had no issues with people here, when I speak, most speak back. I do not have aggressive body language, try to stay small and put out humble vibes.
Ok with that said. We are on the train. Whenever I ride the train I recall what other Black men have said about Japanese avoiding sitting next to them. I had not had that happen. As I was sitting there today next to LZ, there was space next to me, then a woman, then a man on the end. Another woman came smiled at the lady next to me, she moved a bit and let here in next to me. I though, hmm she did not seem afraid or concerned to sit next to me. Even though there was an open seat across from us she sat there. Bump shake bump, wiggle, bump, we are riding along all normal on the train. The woman next to the woman gets off at the next stop. The woman next to me, slides all the way to the other end next to the sleeping Japanese man, and opens the space next to me. Hmm I thought…did that seem a bit odd, or what. Did my deodorant fail? Oh well. Not my problem. Bump, shake, wiggle bump, the train moves on, as do my thoughts.
Last stop was the supermarket for dinner food, and breakfast the next day. Did you know that there are no baggers in the Japanese Supers? Everyone bags their own at the bagging stand. So much for the land of full service myth.