Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The biggest problem with a long-term stay in a foreign country is that country will often be lacking in the amenities that make your daily life so comfortable. I'm restricted to two suitcases and a carry-on, so I've been trying my best to take only what is essential to my survival (including things that can't be found overseas). Based on my own research, here is a sampling of the things I've chosen to bring, and why:
Lots of Stick Deodorant: In Japan, deodorant is priced much higher than in America. Also, stick deodorant is rare. I don't know whether American men sweat more than Japanese men or just smell worse, but the deodorant sold over there is weaker, too.
Video Games: Unless I want to play every video game I like in Japanese, I need to bring them with me from America. I'm not planning to spend every day indoors, in front of a TV, but I doubt its going to be sunny skies and butterflies for seven months. Also, note to self: buy TV.
Books: Last time I was in Japan, I managed to find a small selection of English books at my local bookstore. Unfortunately, the majority of them were children's books. I did find a copy of "Shutter Island" that I read pretty quickly. As fascinating as I find Japanese, I don't want to spend every waking moment reading it.
Lots of Shoes: In Japan, you have something called a genkan. This is a foyer where you leave your outside shoes before you enter the house. Usually, you wear slippers inside the house. In my case, I had to buy extra shoes due to the fact that they don't sell my shoe size in Japan. Ugh...
Presents: It is customary to give presents when you visit someone or are newly inducted into a business. I don't want to come off as rude, so I bought a few modest gifts from my native state to bring to friends when I visit, as well as some American food to share with my future coworkers.