First time at an Internet Cafe!

Picture of a Kaikatsu Club by: Narita Report

Today, I went to an Internet Cafe for the first time. It’s a place where you pay an amount to have unlimited usage of their facilities. The Internet Cafe I used was Kaikatsu Club. Here is an example of how much it costs for a branch in Tokyo.

There are three categories you can choose from.
– The cheapest one consists of free flow drinks, ice-cream, manga, and a cafe space for you to read/study/whatever.
– The second one consists of everything in the cheapest category plus karaoke, billiard, darts, and booths with massage chairs and reclining chairs.
– The third is the rental of a private room with a proper lock.

Continue reading “First time at an Internet Cafe!”

The 2021 Yosakoi Festival in Kochi

Picture from: SunSunTV

The 2021 Yosakoi Festival in Kochi will not be held in the usual way, and also not during the usual period of August 9th to 12th. Instead, a special event called the “Yosakoi Naruko Odori Special Performance” will be held on the 19th and 20th of August (thursday and friday).

The event will be held from 10:00 to 21:30 for both days, and the venue will be at Ryoma Stadium in Kochi City, which is in walking distance from the Kencho-mae station or the Gurandodoori station. An approximate number of 48 teams will be performing.

There are certain measures teams have to follow, including a limit of 150 members per team. Jikatashas (music trucks) will also not be used, as music will be played through the stadium’s sound system.

The stadium seats up to 3400 people, but due to Covid-19 measures, only 1300 seats will be opened up for the public. 5200 tickets will be on sale for ¥1,000 a piece. They are valid for half a day – either for the morning or night of the first day, or the morning or night of the second day.

It is said that in order to find out how to purchase the tickets, one should check out the 高知市観光協会 website.
Unfortunately, I have checked the website out and still have no idea how to get the tickets.

Ballroom Dancing in Japan #4 – First Actual Lesson

We went to Dance School MS and SI to try out their trial lessons on the days we scheduled for them.

May 25th
Dance School MS was operated by a family with the dad, mum, son, and son’s wife, all being instructors. One would assume that the dad (MS Sensei) would be the best of them all, but… Owl and I both felt that the son’s (TKY Sensei’s) explanation was easier to understand. However, TKY Sensei injured his knee and is unable to move much… We really want him to be the one teaching us if we join though. An interesting thing to note was that MS Sensei used to learn from School Y, but became independent 19 years ago. Cool. Seems like they are good friends with each other still.

May 26th
Dance School SI was operated by an elderly man who seemed very fit and genki. He was kind and patient with his explanation, but like the teacher from School KM, there was something off about his rhythm.

Continue reading “Ballroom Dancing in Japan #4 – First Actual Lesson”

Ballroom Dancing in Japan #3 – Visit to School KM

Dance School KM was located just a 10min drive away from our home. The place was a little hard to find, but we managed. Walked up to the second floor and found three people in their 60s (?) on the dance floor. Well, technically two of them on the dance floor, and one in a massage chair lined up against the wall. The male instructor welcomed us and gave us both a brochure of their 30th anniversary dance event.

“Let’s try doing the basic mambo steps shall we?” he said, and started showing us the steps. One, two, three. One, two, three. It was pretty basic so we got it down rather fast and were practicing while waiting for further instructions. However, the instructor was nowhere to be found. No wait, he was at the kitchen space puffing on a cigarette. Really now?

“Let’s do a spin next then. Right left right, spin,” he says while moving his left foot, then right, then left. We were confused.

“When you say right, does that refer to the foot that is left behind?” Owl asked.

“What’s so confusing? It’s just like walking! You lift up your leg and move forward. See? Left, right, left, right,” he says while going right, left, right, left. We were bewildered as to what to do. I decided to imitate him, moving the foot opposite to his spoken words. However, during his next run, his foot movement matched with his words.
Ughh, someone help me please.

Continue reading “Ballroom Dancing in Japan #3 – Visit to School KM”

Ballroom Dancing in Japan #2 – Visit to School Y

Dance School Y welcomed us with tea, and invited us to have a seat. They asked us some standard questions like whether we had experience with dancing, and what sort of dance we were interested in. Then, they went straight to letting us know how their lesson fee works. I like how they weren’t shy about telling us how much their lessons cost.

I won’t lie, it is quite pricey. There’s a one-time membership fee of 6,000 yen, and private lessons go for 3 tickets for 25 minutes, and 6 tickets for 55 minutes. Yeah, this was the first time I am hearing about this ticket system. But apparently it is pretty normal in the dance world? At least in Japan.. I learn something new every day. 26 tickets go for 30,000 yen and 16 tickets go for 20,000 yen. This makes a 25 minute private lesson cost about 3,500 to 3,750 yen.

Since the both of us were still young, we also qualified for the youth volunteer dance group. In this group, we only needed to pay 4,000 yen for 2 x 25 minute lessons. However, we would have to help out with chores during events, such as carrying of equipment, and mending the counter. These events are only held twice a year, so it isn’t much big of a deal really.

Problem is, the teacher who teaches the youngsters, injured his leg a couple of months ago, and is still unable to dance yet. Although he can give verbal instructions during the lessons, I felt that as beginners, we should go with a teacher who is able to show us the moves, literally.

Continue reading “Ballroom Dancing in Japan #2 – Visit to School Y”

Ballroom Dancing in Japan #1 – Finding Schools

I have always wanted to do ballroom dancing with my partner, and I am very fortunate that my husband has a great rhythm sense and previous experience in Jazz dancing. For me, I am starting with zero knowledge, but since he is the one doing the leading, I should hopefully be able to catch up quickly and manage somehow.

Finding classes where I live is pretty challenging. I searched using Google Maps and had five hits. All but one had no reviews. Most had no pictures and those that had pictures only had a couple. I tried searching for their websites, but only one of them had something up.

I had no choice but to contact them the traditional way – through a phone call. A phone call is something I am not yet comfortable doing, especially in Japanese. But the drive for ballroom dancing was greater, so I did so anyway.

Continue reading “Ballroom Dancing in Japan #1 – Finding Schools”

Have you heard of the growth mindset?

Last month, I watched a TED talk called “The power of believing that you can improve” by Carol Dweck. After which, I was inspired to read her book “Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential”.

According to Carol Dweck, every one of us have both a fixed mindset and a growth mindset within us.

A fixed mindset is the thinking that intelligence is static. This leads to a desire to look smart and therefore a tendency to avoid challenges, get defensive or give up early when facing obstacles, see effort as fruitless or a sign that they are not talented, ignore useful negative feedback, and feel threatened by the success of others. As a result, people with a strong fixed mindset plateau early and achieve less than their full potential.

A growth mindset is the thinking that intelligence can be developed. This leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as the path to mastery, learn from criticism, and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others. As a result, people with a strong growth mindset reach ever higher levels of achievement.

I found the book to be slightly long-winded, but there were a couple of points mentioned that I felt were very meaningful. So, I am going to leave them here, in hope of inspiring you.

Continue reading “Have you heard of the growth mindset?”

Bought a Water Flosser

Recently, I have been really concerned about my oral hygiene and have decided to get a water flosser. For those who aren’t really acquainted with a water flosser, they are basically high pressure water jet machines meant for teeth flossing. It is not a complete substitute for flossing, interdental brushing, and the like, but it is way easier to handle, and is said to leave your mouth feeling refreshed.

I originally wanted to buy a water flosser from Waterpik, as it is a rather well-known and stable brand. However, the Waterpik models with decent reviews on Amazon Japan were all very pricey. I am not sure why they are more expensive here in Japan than the ones back in my home country.

I decided to go with Panasonic instead. They had really good reviews and were priced reasonably. I got the latest model pictured below.

Continue reading “Bought a Water Flosser”

Going to the Dentist in Japan

Since coming on the JET Program as a CIR, I have always visited the dentist in my home country when I had the chance to fly home for a trip. However, with the constrains that Covid-19 brings, I have not been back for way over a year. On the night of the 14th (Valentine’s Day!), a portion of my bottom left gum became really tender all of a sudden and I felt that it was time for me to head to a dental clinic in Japan.

I am one of the many who gets really nervous about visiting the dentist and would rather not have to, but I really needed to get a check-up. Husband keeps coming back from his usual dental clinic complaining how it hurt, so I did not want to go to his clinic. What else could I do but to open up google maps and look at the reviews? Found one that had a score of 4.0 from 9 reviews, and it was only a 12 minute walk from my workplace. Good for a trip after work.

No internet booking, so I called in to tell them I wanted to make an appointment because my gums hurt. With both my and their busy schedules, the earliest I could head down was on a Friday morning, so I did just that by taking 9:15 to 10:45 off from work in the morning.

At the Dentist
Took out UV-disinfected indoor slippers from a mini cabinet, wrote my name down on the visitors’ list, and was handed a piece of paper to fill in. It had questions such as my preferred sort of treatment (i.e. just fix all the prominent bad parts or make sure every inch is thoroughly checked and cleaned, whether to fix all that could be covered partially with the country’s health insurance or that I would pay for treatments that are not covered, etc). I was called in not long after.

My first surprise was that there were three dental chairs in the same area, with a thin partition sheet between. The dentists I visited at home all had private rooms for each patient.

After I placed down my belongings and sat on the chair, the nurse starting checking the condition of my teeth and gums. She would announce to the helper beside her as she looked through my teeth, dishing out letters, numbers, and Japanese that I could not make out the meaning of. Was my teeth very bad or was it very good? Maybe it might be a blessing if I don’t know the meaning of whatever that was being said.

Continue reading “Going to the Dentist in Japan”

Reflection on one’s condition

So, I had a friend who came to visit my place recently. She has been feeling more and more lethargic ever since she moved in to her new home near the start of last year, and has been spending most of her days sleeping.

When she came over, I started up some videogames of various genres, including co-op games with cute graphics like Overcooked, as well as fighting games like Tekken that she would usually enjoy. However, she couldn’t concentrate and was tired easily.

She kept insisting she was fine, but it was pretty clear that she was not her usual self.
Looking at her condition made me reflect on my own condition.

Continue reading “Reflection on one’s condition”