The following day, a few of us left from school to go back to the Meito-ku Ward Office. We’d received our postcards the day before, so we could finally head over and register for health insurance. Everyone else had set up a bank account for transfers, since they take neither cards nor plastic at the Ward Office, but I’m not gonna be here long enough for a bank account to be useful. (I’m starting to think I should have decided to come for a year.) Unfortunately, due to my Japanese program’s policy of Not Teaching Many Words, I was at a loss to understand what the hell was going on, which was extremely frustrating. The Chinese girls with me had a handle on things, since their Japanese is miles above mine, but I honestly couldn’t get what the office guy was saying, and the school hadn’t sent anyone with us this time. They explained it later; it seems that if I don’t have a bank account, I can go to any post office or convenience store and pay there, but only after I get some other document (hello, Japanese bureaucracy) in the mail. Regardless, I got my registration card, so if I get hit by a bicyclist and knocked into the path of an oncoming car, it’ll cost substantially less to reassemble me. Afterward, we stopped at a 100円 shop, where I bought a container to use as a bento box and a pair of plastic chopsticks with a case to eat said bento.
Incidentally, at lunchtime, two of the Chinese girls (Sai and Isou) had offered to cook some traditional Chinese cuisine for me. I accepted, of course, so around dinnertime, I found the two of them hard at work in the kitchen. I have to say, they were very generous. Rice, thin-cut potatoes and carrots, and more, separated into three or four dishes — it was all really good, more so because they’d made it for me and ate with me. I provided the beverages, my fridge usually full of Coke Zero, oolong tea, and the Olympic-themed British Lemon Tonic (which is on its way out, it seems). We had a really nice dinner, and I helped wash up. I couldn’t have asked for a better dorm.