Monday, October 8, 2012

TheExpat: Shoy Allison Caldwell

Welcome to"TheExpat", where I'll be highlighting a friend (or friend of a friend of a friend...maybe even your friend) that has left their native land for uncharted waters. Kicking things off is my near and dear throwback gal pal - Shoy...affectionately (and ironically) known as ShoySauce:

1) Name/Hometown/Exported to: Shoy/ Atlanta/ Japan


2) Why Japan? I followed my husband,who's in the NAVY


3) First impression: I no longer feel short. Wow, these people are polite! Clean streets, cabs, trains and subways. All the food looks just like the picture! Oh, and ghetto fabulous aint ghetto over here LOL!


4) Language/Accent issues:  I don't speak a lick of Japanese, well that's not fair -- I know a little, but if they don't know ANY English the convo's not going very far...I'm always getting something I didn't order, and not getting what I thought ordered, but funny enough that happens when people are speaking the same language.

5) Housing: Everything is smaller in Japan! Electrical outlets are two prong, furniture sits low and is smaller, and most affordable furniture is veneer or made of polyurethane. Most homes have a tatami room with bamboo floors, rice paper doors and I believe clay walls.  Most doorways are narrower than in the states... oh, and no central heating and air - most rooms have a wall mounted unit. Also, most chuos (as they're called in Japan) don't have ovens -- just stove -tops and maybe broilers. Also they have these great fancy toilet seats that are heated, spray your bum, play music, and a couple other functions I've never tried out.



6) Work: While I primarily worked on the US Naval base, I do know that most Japanese people take their job and duties very seriously and work long hours and Saturdays, which is also why you can find men in full suits stumbling the streets in the p.m any day of the week after tossing back a few.


7) Food: GOOD: sushi, sashimi, ramen,karage, yakitori, yakisoba, okonomiyaki, takoyaki,yakiniku, bread/pastry shops, bentos, cakes and sweets etc. BAD: Natto ( it's not that bad, but it kinda is LOL) Oh, it's fermented soy beans by the way. UGLY: Some of the seafood is pretty creepy looking -- they'll eat just about anything that comes out the ocean.







8) New customs: Take off your shoes everywhere you  go - fitting rooms, restaurants, doctor offices, your neighbor's house, just about anywhere indoors. There are numerous festivals and holidays to participate and celebrate in. And obviously bowing is done often; as a greeting, a thank you, you're welcome etc. AND eating everything with chopsticks.


9) How would we say "Hi, my name is, please, thanks and 1 bad word" in Japanese: Konnichiwa, Shoy desu!! Kudasai/Onegaishimasu (please/pretty please) Arigato/Domo/Domo arigato gozaimasu (thank you/thanks/thank you very much) I'm a good girl ;-) so I don't know too many bad words, BUT I went to a pleasure party and learned the word "manko" (another way to call a cat a kitten...) LOL!  Other words: Ohayo gozaimasu (good morning) Daijobou desu (it's okay) Genki desu ka? (How are you?) and you've probably heard Kawaii! (cute!)



10) Ever get homesick? Here and again. I don't necessarily miss home much, but I miss my friends and family, and the night life (the clubs are small and surprisingly can be dirty)

11) How is the night life? There are definitely bars a plenty. If that's your scene, you'll have no problem. However, if you like big bouncing clubs, I'm still searching. There are clubs and many of them , but they're rather small and folks are packed in like sardines on a good night. I haven't gone to all the party districts though, so I know there's bound to be more out there...stay tuned! But all in all, Japanese people party hard and the girls throw on sky-high heels, blinged- out nails, hair -sprayed extensions, false lashes, colored contacts, and tight short dresses to party until 9am in some places.




12) What do we need to know before visiting... Ladies, should definitely know about the squatty potties! Small old-school dive bars & restaurants, and public lavatories will most likely have them. They suck and ALWAYS smell horrible! Oh, and if you're a healthy sized woman, don't plan to do too much shopping at Japanese stores. Most cute little boutiques largely carry M, and it's not an American medium. But, in the city there's plenty of non - Japanese retailers, and there are larger chain stores that carry "plus sized" clothing. Guys, be ready for big hair, tight jeans and pointy shoes galore (I'm talking about the Japanese men, by the way...) Oh and one little think I like to exercise often, no "open container" laws...hell yea! Try a chu-hai when you get here ;-)



13) Have you explored Japan and the surrounding countries/islands? We moved from Sasebo to Yokosuka. Yokosuka is near Tokyo, Sasebo is near Nagasaki, both very different -city vs. country. While overseas, we've visited Boracay in the Philippines, Phuket, Thailand twice, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Osaka, Japan. I plan to do much more traveling: Kyoto, Hong Kong, Seoul, Bali, Singapore, Australia, and China are all on my radar. Japan has a lot more to offer in its diverse cities, as well as the other countries surrounding it.




14) Dating scene... What can I say --- I'm a married woman ;-)


15) Plans for moving home anytime soon?  Not in the near future...


-Shoy

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