This is purikura...it's a photo booth that airbrushes you a little and gives you massive eyes. Hilarious but a little scary! Stacey, we are 100% doing this when you come visit!
Mount Fuji from the train :D
Yes, that is a double decker bullet train in the background!
Well, I say Sendai, but due to annoying admin/disorganisational issues our company appears to be having, we are actually a 20min train ride and then a 25 minute walk away from Sendai. Not ideal but we are slowly getting used to it. The town we are in is a small commuter town. The town itself is quite industrial and not that pretty but the setting, surrounded by mountains and lots of trees is really pretty and will be even lovelier in summer when the trees have their coats back!
...but apparently the river is killer!
Our apartments themselves are lovely, if a little far from everything- it's almost as bad as living in Banham again! They're much bigger than I expected for Japan, but unfortunately they are traditionally Japanese in their lack of central heating and insulation. Very cold when it's 4degrees outside!
View from my apartment
My very messy (just unpacked my suitcase) room
The kitchen may be tiny...
...but it's big enough to cook tasty food.
We've spent the week since we got here gradually settling in. A stressful day was spent getting our ARC, (the amusingly named 'alien registration card' which every foreigner resident to Japan has to register for) and our bank accounts. It turns out we don't count as being in Sendai, but in another area altogether, so we did a tour of local admin buildings before finally hunting down the correct one. A day of disappointments also informed us that we live in the only Leopalace (the company that owns our apartment) that anyone has ever heard of that doesn't have Internet :(
Luckily a more successful day followed, where we got phones sorted, (not too expensively by Japanese standards), went to our first lessons in this area and started to feel a little more settled.
Then on Saturday things started to really look up with a very productive trip to the Sendai International Centre where we met a lovely helpful Japanese girl who gave us advice about anything and everything, including getting bikes, Japanese lessons, international meet ups, places to travel in Japan, what to do with a random piece of paper that came through my letterbox and much more. Lots of help and support, just what we need! We also bought bikes and cycled home, quite a pretty route but at 8miles not one we're going to be doing every day! We then went out in Sendai and had a couple of drinks, failed to find a club but made a new friend, an American who has been here for 6months but is leaving next week. We also got mobbed by a group of Japanese students, dressed in Christmas outfits, who all wanted to shake our hands, give us sweets and wish us Merry Christmas! Bizarre.
View across Sendai, note the massive buddha in the distance
On the bike ride home
The massive buddha
After a lazy Sunday morning with fried rice (yum) for breakfast, we explored Sendai some more, and are currently at our friend Amy's apartment stealing her Internet :D
Who doesn't want to cut their frankfurters into octopi?
Scary stuffed animals.
Sorry for the moaning blog, it's been a difficult week but we're hopeful of things getting better soon, so I promise I'll be cheerier next time!