1. Of course my friends and Reese are my number one. It is funny how much I miss the small things. Like not even going out or the parties, but watching movies together, "family dinners", complaining about our classes, and making plans together. There is so much I want to do once I get back I cannot even start to make a list.
2. Privacy. I forgot how different it is to live in a dorm. I don't mind being around people, but I prefer to do it on my own terms. Cooking in the shared kitchen is not my favorite thing in the world. I am used to quiet and calm while I am at home. Or that is what I have come to expect of my apartment or residence. There are just days I'd rather have the place to myself and not have to deal with the busyness and people at every corner that seem to characterize dorms.
3. Sharing meals. It is sad to cook for one. I used to look forward to dinners. I didn't even mind cooking. Now since it is just for myself it feels like such a waste. I miss the days I used to come home from class and there would be a note on the door and warm food on the stove. Megan is my favorite Hawaiian cook! It was the cutest thing to come home and find a freshly made meal. Miss her food, miss sharing mine.
4. Warm water and shower pressure. There are two shower rooms here. One for guys and the other for girls. They switch every month or so because only one has a sauna. There is an ofuro in the other one, but no one seems to use it and there is never water in it. We can't win with either of the shower rooms. The one with the ofuro sprays lukewarm water. The temperure can be turned to the hottest setting and it is hard to stand under it because the temperature is cold. In the one with the sauna, the showers have no water pressure. It feels like you are taking a rain bath. Really sad in all respects.
5. My down pillow! I am huge on having nice, big, fluffy pillows. I almost brought mine last minute, and now I am sad I didn't. The dorm provided a very hard Japanese pillow. But I bought myself a better one at Mujis (a home store). The store is not that cheap so I settled for a square pillow that was actually meant for decoration on a couch or something. It has not held up to say the least. It is totally flat and can't be more than two inches thick now. Should have figured, haha.
6. Using card. I am really shocked at the limited number of places you can actually use a credit/debit card as a form of payment. Japanese is very very cash oriented still. I knew they were, but not to this degree. The places that tend to accept plastic are the stores/restaurants that are either big chains or more expensive. The inconvenience factor is hard to get over. In Seattle I rarely carried much cash if any.
7. Casual dress code. Girls here go all out. Even going to class, practically everyone wears heels and skirts/dresses. I have not seen any girls wearing the typical sweatpants and hoodie that are frequent in the northwest. I feel like I am always underdressed. Always. I am the only one I've seen wearing slippers (flip-flops). They have some really nice fitted jackets and heels here though. Shoppers paradise :)
8. Personal space. I have gotten used to the packed trains, but not totally. I keep thinking how funny it would be to set up a train system in the US and try to convince Americans to pack into them as tightly as they do here. HAHAHA. It makes me laugh every time I think about it! People would only allow this type of crowding if they are in collectivist cultures. This would be a no go for sure in the America.
9. Late night transportation. Sure the busses in Seattle aren't as efficient or as fast as the trains in Tokyo. BUT they run till 2 or so in the morning. I know one of these days I am going to miss the train and it will be one of the nights I wasn't planning on staying out all night. I hate to think that I might have to kill upwards of 4 hours at an internet cafe or somewhere else. Walking is out of the question. I miss my car and the convenience that comes with having a backup plan.
10. American music. This may seem silly, but you would never realize the difference that it makes when you can actually understand the lyrics. Haha its been Japanese music only since I got here. I love Ketsumeishi, who I've primarily been listening to. More than anything I recently have been choosing music based on how it sounds rather than the words or actual meaning of the song. I finally gave in today and let myself listen to an hours worth of the American songs that are on Reese's iPod. Reese is right. My favorite songs are the repetitive ones. But they need a good bass and beat too. I think M-flow and a few others will hold me over till I get back.