Friday, August 03, 2007

Gathering Some Necessities

I've been able to mark off quite a few things from my to-do list the last couple of days. The biggest thing was some official paperwork that needed to be done. The Japanese require me to register where I live and everything and then give me a foreigner ID card. It allows me to make large purchases and other things that require identification. I opened a bank account so that I can start stacking all of my bountiful riches as well.

I was itching to get a cell phone as soon as possible. It is a very necessary possession to carry on with some semblance of a social life. Its also nice to be able to talk to my friends in other cities. The Japanese don't put too much emphasis on actually talking on their cell phones, they rely mostly on texting (my current plan gives me about an hour of talk time a month). My cell phone has its own email address as well, so I can receive those too. I don't want to get a bunch of spam so I won't include it here, but let me know and I will give it out... then you can harass me with questions about Japan anytime of day... hurray!

My phone company is AU which is owned by Toyota. The guy showing us around thought that going to a Toyota car dealership would be the way to get the best service. I thought it was cool to see how a car dealer acts in Japan, and since I don't plan on buying a car here anytime soon this was a unique experience. They were super polite, even for the Japanese(this is one of the few places in the country that I can remember ever being offered a free beverage). The best was saved for last though. As we walk to the car, the man who had been helping us along with a couple other random workers stood in the middle of the parking lot and bowed and everything. On our way out, I looked back, and there they still stood. They just stood there waving and bowing until we were out of sight. Pretty intense.

My new phone! One of the most advanced phones I've seen in action... they love their gadgets.

All of this wheeling and dealing means I have to affix my mark on contracts and whatnot. Around these parts, people never just write their name down and add a few curlies to make it distinct. I received something called a hanko, which consists of my name in Japanese script carved into a piece of wood(the more important ones tend to be made of more expensive materials). I put my little stamper in red ink, then sign away. I think its really cool because it is so classical, but I think that the stamp is more vulnerable to replication than a signature would be.

My hanko in its little self contained carrying case.

A couple of my name stamps. It was hard to focus on them because they are so small, but you get the idea. It just reads "Milito" in katakana.

There is some sort of large fireworks festival today. Should be entertaining.

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