June 1998 – email2

From: Gary Ploski
Subject: Top a da mornin to ya.
To: shinyoda

        Just to make sure I get to all of your questoins I’m gonna do this…. Boommbb — I’ve now pasted alll of your thoughts. Does that make me a plagarist? Hope not. Hmm, who’da thunk it…

*****All values are put in via a $1 to 100 yen ratio utilities are separate, right?  …on average per month?

        Yes and let’s see… gas(50), water(bimonthly 25), rent (365), electricity(40).  How’s that for info huh. Hehehehe. I went into my books and pulled out all the fake numbers just for you. : )  Yeah! Hope that’s helpful.  Hehehe.

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.

        Liz delt with the winter in an interesting way…. in layers. I loved it, Philip was wise and covered himself up with a nice warm jacket. It gets cold, but you’ve experienced a winter that’s considereabley colder living in the Tri-State area. It does get cold and yes the heater-A/C works well. The beauty of it is that you can close off all the rooms so one room gets really cold/hot, whatever you want. No worries. Took that one from the AUS AET’s. Hehe. Fun stuff.

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? did you get to schools on your bikes even in the wintertime?

        Indeed that’s a yes. Though I did walk a few times cause it was a very strange winter here in Asaka this past winter. There was so much SNOW!!!! I loved it! Snow Angels! Made a few, : )   It’s not a slushy place. Wonder how that reads from someone elses point of view. Anyway….

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.

        Your local bill (NTT-JPN’s phone provider) will run between 50 and 100 depending on what you do with your bill. I have a service that lets me stay online for as much time as I like from 11pm-8am so I have an extra charge of about $36 added onto my bill every month. All up to you. No worry about installing a phone — it’s in and ready to use. My internationl bill is between 90-150 a month. I use AT&T. Here’s the home page if you wanna get info about it. It’s CHEAP for an international call. Check it… http://www.attnet.or.jp/indexe.html

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

        Got ya above…. ew… nice view up there. : )

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?

        At first you’ll meet lots of ppl and get thrown into the “Hi. I’m number 498234j-od-weoiw-e0w. Nice to meet you.” faze. Don’t worry, we all go through it. During the normal schedule we don’t go out with ppl from the city hall on that regular a basis. It’s not gonna drain your pocket. No worries. There I go again. Gessh, what’s happenin to me. Bloody … A-re! Now I’ve switched to British and Japanese. Ahh!!!!! HELP!   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?

        It is a bummer about the money thang. I don’t think ppl are leaving for the sole reason that the currency is doing poorly, but it is something to think about. Something that kinda helped me a little, not my sole reason, though something I did think about. The ppl here don’t do much differently because it’s not affecting them really. It’s kinda like the currency is doing poorly overseas, but domestically it’s not hurting at all. No worries that I’ve seen. I’m not an economic major though, so don’t take my word on it if you know what’s good for your money. I just like spendin it. Heheheheh, fun to spend. Let’s go to karaoke! YEAH!!! Seriously though, things are going ok domestically. You shouldn’t have any problems with the money stuff.

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?

        I’ll do that. Actually, I’ll print this up for them to read. Ken has contacted me. maybe I should give you each others email addresses so you can chat with each other about preperations. Think I’ll do that. have a crazy day. ciao cito

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