I’m going to start off with some general stuff. I’ve been very cold for most of this trip. Part of this is due to the weather. It is partly cloudy most of the time and staying around the low to mid 40’s. That I could deal with easily. Except for I wasn’t told the temps while I was packing. I was only told ‘bring dress clothes’ and ‘try not to stick out’. My only cold weather coat (since I lost my good one) is a black Harley Davidson jacket with a skull on the back. Not exactly stealthy so I left it at home. The other statement seems to be false as well because we leave in 4days and I haven’t touched my dress clothes yet.
Next is about the language. I’ve been studying Japanese for as long as I can remember. I have to say that the immersion camps and software don’t compare to actually being in the country. I haven’t picked up that much French since all of the hotel staff speak English and all the menus have English translation. But I’m noticing how much Japanese I can actually string together. For whatever reason, my speech switches over to Japanese if English doesn’t work. Even if Japanese just makes things worse.
Actually, I’m getting more Japanese culture stuff than I am French culture. There are a crap load of Japanese (and other Asians) here in the hotel for me to eavesdrop on plus a lot more at all the tourist places. According to the guide book a decent amount of Asian people live in the district next to the hotel. Which explain why the restaurants go café, café, noodle shop, café, pizza place, sushi place, café, café, McDonalds, café, etc. The breakfast buffet at the hotel has a corner devoted for rice, miso soup, and other oriental food. And of the 20 channels the TV’s get NHK and MTV are the only interesting ones. It’s turning out to be rather nice.
Navigating around is easy or hard depending on what level you’re on. Subway is the easy level. The routes more or less make sense and can take you where you need to go. Going on street level is annoying and screwy. Take a look at a street map of Paris. The streets are all jagged, the names change after 2 or 3 blocks, roundabouts, 5-, 6-, and more- way intersections make is confusing for buses and long distance walking. Driving is just insane. Bikes, mopeds, and motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic make it just seem dangerous. Everyone is cutting off each other or sitting in the middle of traffic. With as much as I dislike city driving, this place takes it to a new level.
I suppose I’ll save what I actually did for the next post … which should be in the next hour.
P.S. I apologize for the horrible grammar in this post.