Time Warp

Well, I've been back in Mt. Airy and the Eastern time zone for a week now. My head doesn't know where it is and my body still doesn't know what time it is. I either sleep about 4 hours a night or between 10 and 12 hours. I have late afternoon moments when all of a sudden I'm napping. Needless to say I'm not driving much. I have to be careful taking the train too ... our dirty, inefficient trains ... I was starting to nod off yesterday and then realized I was listening for the announcement that the next stop was Tamachi, the JR station near my Tokyo apartment ... oops. No. Here my stop is Upsal.

The cats are readjusting to me being here. Maxx is confused about who to take his boots too. Sometimes I get them. More often he takes them up to Marianne's room. He has become more of a bully. Lizzie has become a lap cat. And Millie? well she's obviously had enough of the two of them as she tells me each morning while waiting for her serving of the cat treats I brought back from Japan.

It's nice to sleep in my own bed. To cook in my own well equipped kitchen ... or should I say overly equipped kitchen. I've started my usual post Japan clean up, clean out and purge the stuff I don't use --- not just in the kitchen. The entire house.

It felt good to get out in the garden and pull weeds and play in the dirt. Finding some unexpected plants ... like a cherry tomato that came up from last year ... was a treat. Just being able to look out and see a pretty garden afterward is a tonic.

It felt good to sit on the porch in a rainstorm. To enjoy cooler temperatures. I know everyone here is complaining about the heat, but 34C is a whole lot cooler than 40C ... those 6 Celsius degrees equate to over 10 Farenheit degrees. We're talking 93F vs 104F ... not to mention the "RealFeel" that was +4C or +5C in Japan.

The things I miss most about Japan ... besides my friends ...

The Toto Washlet for one (the electronic toilet seat). Even public restrooms have them now. Only once did I encounter the old fashion "squatter" toilet. And at least that one had rails to hold onto and help get yourself up again.

Friendly service professionals who greet you with the ubiquitous "Irasshaimase" (Welcome) and don't act like whatever they are doing for you is an imposition.

The lack of loud cell phone ringers and conversations everywhere you go. People are encouraged to put their phones in "manner mode" in public places. I don't think there is a "manners mode" in the US. The din stsarted as soon as I landed in Newark.

I miss the Aeon grocery store across the street from the apartment. My first trip to the grocery store here was a shock ... oh my ... everything is bulk. Packages of six ears of corn ... not one or two. Piles of fruit ... not each one wrapped in it's own Styrofoam cushion. A big bunch of kale ... not three small stalks. Huge chucks of meat. The biggest steak I bought in Japan was probably no more than 6 ounces. Gallons of milk ... no tiny little containers of cream. But on the positive side, I could read the labels and there were lots and lots of pretzels.

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