Today was the first day of spring, a national holiday in Japan, but it’s been the most unspringlike day since we arrived! It’s been raining for over 24 hours and a chilly wind has been blowing all day. Our first goal for today was to learn how to use our recently received bank cards to access cash at the ATM machines at the bank. We knew that the instructions would be in Japanese and that we’d probably need assistance, but there’s always a bank employee by the door welcoming and assisting people as they come in so we thought she might be able to help us. Of course, we hadn’t thought of the fact that, being a national holiday, the bank would be closed! While the ATM machines were accessible, there was no friendly bank employee to greet and assist us! Not knowing the language is definitely a handicap at times like this but we’ve found that the people here are extremely helpful so we decided to wait and see if someone would come along who would be willing to help us. Sure enough, the first person we approached, an older gentleman who spoke not one word of English, was happy to show us what to do and we were soon on our way with cash in hand.
We had hoped to spend the afternoon exploring Narita which is a short train ride east of here and is described in our Lonely Planet guidebook as a pleasant temple town. For those of you who live in towns like Sedgewick, Narita is a “town” of over 97 000 people! Anyway, today didn’t seem like the kind of day to spend outdoors wandering and exploring so we spent a few hours in a mall that we often pass on the train. We were delighted to find a UniQlo store there. We first encountered UniQlo when we visited Matt and Robin in Osaka three years ago. It’s the one store we know of in Japan where I can actually find clothes that fit. Before leaving Canada, I looked everywhere for a pair of navy blue dress pants to add to my school wardrobe but I was unable to find what I was looking for. Amazingly, I found them today at UniQlo!
Now we’re back home in our snug little apartment with the kerosene heater warming us while the wind howls and the rain lashes the windows. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll describe the apartment in detail.