Monday, October 17, 2011

Village Tour

I spent some of my free time this weekend strolling through my village, attempting to see if I'd missed anything interesting. I took some pictures along the way, so that I'd be able to show you the village's most famous assets. Prepare to be amazed?

 First on our tour. The only clothing store in my village. Which only stocks women's clothing. If you're a man, you're either naked or you're taking a one-hour trip to the nearest city.
 One of the half dozen restaurants in my village. I rarely eat out because most of these restaurants serve food that I can make myself. Why pay eight dollars for curry rice when I can cook it myself for a fraction of the price (and cook it better, in my opinion). I do like the architecture of this place, though.
 The Home Depot of Fukushima, Komeri. This is where you shop for anything you can't buy in a grocery store. They sell kitchenware, bathroom supplies, even furniture! The parking lot is often crowded by construction vehicles, since half the store is full of hardware (I never go to that side).
One of the two grocery stores in my village. Of the two, this one has a better selection. It's not a great selection, but it has almost everything I want. One thing you'll notice if you shop in Japanese grocerie stores is that their food appears to expire very quickly. For example, they'll sell loaves of bread that expire on the same day. The food is always good for a couple weeks longer than advertised, but it's strange that they label them as such.
 My "office" isn't in the village center, so I have to drive a mile or so away to get there. There are also a couple of flower gardens nearby that I hear are beautiful; this isn't the weather for flower viewing.
 This is one of the only bars in my village, but it's been closed since I arrived. Who knows how long it's been out of business?
 Too bad, because it looks like a fun place.
 Most of the village looks like this. Farmlands full of delapidated buildings and trees.
 Random statues on the side of the road.
 The "Buckle Your Seatbelt" Turtle! Right now, he's saying "Drive slowly."
This business provides box lunches to the whole of my village. Here, it's common for employees to order these box lunches (bento) and eat them at their offices, instead of going out for lunch or bringing a sack lunch.
 One of the twelve barbershops in my village. Twelve barbershops in a village of 7,000 people. It sounds like a waste of resources, doesn't it?
 This is the entrance to my village's welcome center. I don't think I've ever seen it staffed before. It's pretty small, and is just a room with some brochures, next to a bike rack and a set of public bathrooms. Pretty dreary way to say "welcome."
 The stationary store / makeup store. You can buy a pencil for your homework and a pencil for your eye at the same time!
 Family photography studio. I came here to get a photo taken for one of my junior high schools.
 There are three post offices in my village, but this is the only one where I can do wire transfers from Japan to America. The other ones are both really small. This one at least looks important.
 I believe this is a senior center of some sort. I'm not really sure.
 I have no idea what this place is. It was tacked on to the senior center.
 Even though my village is small, Highway 49 runs straight through it. You can take 49 all the way to the ocean, where the radiation is, or you can take it in the opposite direction, to Koriyama, a normal city where even men are allowed to purchase clothing.
 One of those boxes you see on the streets with monthly events. It looks disused, and there is only one event per month, since this appears to be an annual or bi-annual calender. Also, notice the heart on the left. In Fukushima, we see these everywhere. It says "Good Luck, Fukushima!" You will see variations of this, such as "Good Luck, Koriyama" or "Good Luck, Japan!" They are just supportive posters made in the wake of the nuclear problem.
 I guess they're doing some construction on the village hospital. Whoa! A new thing!
 One of the few bars in my village. I've never been here because I obviously can't drink and then drive home. Although we do have a taxi service.
 Another restaurant. It doesn't look too appetizing from the outside...
 My village's hospital. I came here about a month ago. The place is nice-looking on the inside, and most of the customers are elderly. I estimate about 70% of the population in my village is over 40.
 The rehabilitation center.
 The second of two grocery stores in my village. It has a really weird parking lot, so I don't go there too often. Also, the selection is smaller than the one I showed before.
 I think this is a bar?
 Here's my problem with Japanese business: often, they don't look like businesses. They look like the outside of someone's house. So how do you know if you're walking into a business or walking into some guy's living room? I play it safe and just avoid these places.
 Wow! I actually didn't know our village had a cab company. I learned one new thing about my village today.
"Island Taxi. Because Japan is an island but you're still drunk."
 I can't remember what this is.
 A ramen joint, "Miracle." Pretty good ramen.
 Kitchen Marufuku. I came here once for a drinking party, but I don't know what sort of cuisine they actually serve. They are usually closed.
 The village bakery. Has some tasty little cakes, but honestly the selection is very limited.
Finally, what village in Japan would be complete without a casino? This casino was so cheap that it used graffiti for its sign. "Slot Whatever." The parking lot has about half a dozen cars at any given time, so I don't imagine they're doing much business.

That's my village. Sorry that it's so small! Maybe one day they'll build a Walmart.

No comments:

Post a Comment