June 1998 – email1

To: garyp@tkb.att.ne.jp
From: Shinyoda
6/1/98 16:05
Subject: Re: It’s gone. hi gary!!!

hope all is well with you:)

I got your video– it must have been Saturday…  I got back really late from my friend’s wedding in North Jersey (I was the maid of honor!  I can’t believe my friends are getting married– crazy how time flies…) I got back at 4 am and was absolutely ecstatic to see your video sitting on my kitchen table. Sleepy, aching and horrendously blistered feet and all, I made my way toward the vcr with your asaka video in hand…

i eagerly thrust the video tape in and despite your warnings early on in the video, sat down to enjoy.  Within five minutes, i was sleeping like a baby.

i fought it, gar, I really did.  but my slumber was not brought on by your video at all.  I was just so very, very tired from all the preparations for my friend’s wedding and had been up for a long while and had not slept much at all in weeks.  So enthusiastic as I was, i couldn’t muster enough energy to see much more than up to phillip’s apartment.  then I woke up late the next morning and watched the whole thing.

but in all seriousness, thank you so much for thinking of, planning and taking time out of your busy schedule to prepare the video-  I really do appreciate it.  It’s so nice to know what my living space and environment for the next year is going to be like… thanks.

and as well, it’s so nice to know the faces with whom I correspond.  what a wonderful treat the asaka people had in both you and phillip.  you guys must have gotten so many stares and been treated like celebrities for the foreign- ness (is that a word?) and easy-going attitudes and fun personalities you both exuded.  especially with both of you being so, so, much taller than the average japanese person.  and with your long hair too, gary.  aye.  so much character you have.  if anything, i just hope you guys didn’t get too many bumps on your heads from crouching down from the doorways:)

i’m afraid they’ll be a little disappointed b/c I am your average height– 5’4″ asian girl who can pass for japanese, chinese, korean (which i am ethnically) or whatever.  oh well– they’ll have to make do with a somewhat hyper personality and american attitude…

anyway, you guys answered many questions but I am afraid I have more… if you could respond to any unanswered questions from my first e-mail in addition to the following that would be great…  

utilities are separate, right?  how much do they run on average per month?

i get the impression that it gets very extreme weather-wise.  do the ac and heating work satisfactorily?  or are you only really warm under that heated table in the winter time?  that frightens me.  i hate being bitterly cold within my own home.

are the winters very wet– slushy snowstorms for example?  do you recall any average temps?  did you find yourself having to wear an immensely heavy coat in the winter?  and did you get to schools on your bikes even in the wintertime?

i know you guys said that the telephone is expensive, but how expensive are we talking here?  like what is the basic monthly fee, average amount of local calls and let’s say a half an hour call home to the states once a week… a roundabout figure is fine.  are you talking like $400 a month or something for monthly phone?  cuz if that’s so, that frightens me too.

and is there a initial telephone hook-up cost to be paid to have it installed or…?

how often do you and the other AETs go to obligatory city hall dinners or functions?  do you hang out with them (other teachers, town officials) much?   and finally, thanks so much for sending over the currency exchange info.  i’ve been keeping my eye on that for the last couple of years in anticipation of this program and unfortunately, i have chosen the economically worst time to be participating.  it would have been really great in the booming times of just a few years ago.  anyway, what is the general attitude of the japanese people and AETs about the japanese economy?  are a lot of AETs not renewing b/c of japan’s uncertain economic future?

thanks for answering my questions, gar.  hope to hear from you soon.  tell phil and liz i said hello.  hey, have you heard from ken yet?


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