Dan Kang

the joys of life in japan

Cherry blossoms

the moment when you come back to your tiny tokyo apartment after a two week long business trip in california and check the fridge to make sure that you didn't accidentally leave any groceries rotting there and wonder why there's a pouch full of water in your freezer oh wait that used to be ice why is all the ice now water and you start to question whether it was such a good idea to buy a fridge for $25 because what else would you expect for that price but then again the guy who sold it to you also worked at google so it's unlikely he knew it was faulty and sold it anyway because googlers are nice? and then you try to turn on the light and it doesn't turn on and wait nothing is turning on and you realize that there is no electricity in your apartment.

suddenly you remember that right before you left for your trip there was that notice from your electricity company saying that you are way way overdue for your bill payment because you thought you had set up auto-withdrawal from your bank account but it turned out that the signature you put on that form is just slightly different from the signature you gave the bank and apparently in japan they're very serious about checking signatures and they rejected your auto-withdrawal request and asked you to submit it again but with your real signature even though you have no idea how you're supposed to change it to make it more like the signature you gave the bank. before leaving japan, you took the notice to your japanese teacher and she spent 20 minutes of your hour-long lesson talking to the electricity company on the phone to sort it out beause she's a homie and you were sort of relieved because you didn't memorize the vocab words as well as you'd like and she tells you that they're going to send the bills again and you shouldn't have to worry about getting your electricity shut off because that shouldn't happen for while.

well two weeks later there's no electricity in your apartment and you try to connect to your wifi but of course the router is dead what were you thinking did you really major in computer science? you decide to go shower because you feel icky from your long flight and it should help you clear your head out but why isn't the water turning warm oh my god the water heater is controlled by electricity and now you have no choice but to take an ice cold shower in pitch-black darkness because of course the light inside the shower room doesn't work. you turn on the water and hold the shower head away from you because the water is cold as shit and you try to remember reading something on reddit about how taking cold showers is great for overcoming fear and boosting testosterone but as soon as the water hits your body you know it's all garbage and you curse but it doesn't even come out right because you're quickly going into cardiac arrest.

you miraculously make it out clean and alive and decide that there is nothing to do but accept what the universe has given you because you can't even talk to the electricity company because they don't speak english and you don't speak japanese so you'll have to wait until tomorrow to beg one of your coworkers to call for you and try to get your life back. you want to continue with your day so you head to the nearby climbing gym and see one of the japanese regulars and talk to him in broken japanese about your trip but when you tell him that you lost electricity in your apartment he responds super casually as if you just told him something trivial and a comment about how nice the weather is would've gotten a stronger response and you realize that he probably has no idea what you just said due to the language barrier and now you're not sure whether you two were ever having a conversation or whether he's just really good at pretending to understand.

so all in all, life in japan is pretty great