☆ i heart japan,  ☆ life

Living Tall in Japan, part 19

☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

Wow. Thank you for so many heartfelt, awesome opinions regarding the changes I’m thinking of making (after I move). And of course, on the situation here! We all have to go through it sometimes, don’t we? And following your dreams when you’re not coming from wealth can be pretty difficult. It’s not like I’d give up, though! Never! And I expect all of you to not give up on your dreams too, no matter how hard they get! Promise? I promise you. 🙂

November 10, 2004.

In the beginning of November (not quite two months into my stay), I fell really ill. It started with a slight cough, and then suddenly, my throat was on fire. My head was pounding, and I got dizzy and nauseous. I chugged orange juice and soup and rested. When two days passed and I only felt worse, I had to call in sick for work, and lay on my bed, feeling like a failure.

I couldn’t even go to the doctor. Because how could I explain myself if I didn’t speak Japanese? I also didn’t have any health insurance.

The funny thing is that I should have. Nova should have explained to us that health insurance was mandatory. The government required every resident (Japanese or otherwise) to participate in the national health insurance (which is a really amazing plan, by the way), but nobody. Nobody. Had ever bothered to explain it to me, and coming from the US where there is no national health care, the idea of one existing didn’t even cross my mind. To me, going to the doctor meant a few hundred bucks down the drain.

So, even though I felt like the walking dead, I didn’t even go.

The next day, I felt well enough that I went into work, but it was short-lived. I spent the next two days in bed, and then crawled into work on Saturday. Luckily, the staff had planned around the idea that I might still be sick, and scheduled me with mostly free periods. It was a good thing that I had made it into work, though, because then I didn’t feel too guilty for going out to Akihabara the next day with Eda!

Akihabara, where our goal was to seek out a maid cafe and see what all of the fuss was about. At the time (remember, this is ten years ago, before the “Akihabara boom” where it became more family-friendly and less creepy-otaku-only), maid cafes were just beginning to get popular, and there weren’t very many.

We went to this one: Curemaid cafe.

Unfortunately, though, Curemaid cafe was a bit of a letdown. I’d expected girls in short maid costumes, who played games with you at your table and took pictures. But there were no photos allowed, all they did was serve us lunch, and the costumes were really long. Like a real maid. >.< We totally struck out! It was a far cry from the few maid cafes that I visited years later, and unfortunately put me off from the experience until I was dragged back. I couldn’t understand the appeal at all. It was like an overpriced cafe with substandard food and the uniforms were less sexy than a regular staff at a hamburger joint in Japan, sadly. (I’m just being honest. Both Eda and I have an appreciation for pretty girls!)

After that, we watched yaoi at her house and then went out to dinner with a friend that Eda had recently met. Erin. We all hit it off by discussing our love of smashing the Tenipuri characters together into yaoi pairs, and went on many, many adventures together in the next few years. <3 Erin, I miss you, too!! (Erin lives in the states now, after working for Square-Enix for a long time. Eda, as I mentioned before (I think?), is still living in Japan).

Work had settled into a mind-numbingly boring pace, broken occasionally by memorable english antics from the students, I was making more friends,(yay!), and I was starting to get a feel for living in Japan. Yet, I still thought that I would only stay my one year, and then go back to the US and go back to school for another degree.

Ahh, but then Tenimyu happened. Things were never the same.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin that story, although it doesn’t come to a climax for a while yet, and during the wait, there is one really scary story, two complete WTFs, and a panty vending machine in between! I hope you’ll keep coming back to read, everyone!

<3 you all!!

(299 geeks have read this)

Hi! This is Jamie Lynn Lano! I am a Washington State (USA) native who: ☆ Holds a Bachelors of the Arts in Media Arts & Animation from AiPx. ☆ Worked as an assistant mangaka in Japan for Konomi Takeshi on The Prince of Tennis. ☆ Was an essay columnist for Asahi Weekly from 2008-2013. ☆ Was the star of Asahi Pop'n Press on Asahi TV (Japan) from 2009-2013 ☆ Was a write for Metropolis magazine in 2010. ☆ Has kept a blog foreeeeeeeeever! First and Current blogs.

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