Found At: Vending Machine
The thing I really love about living abroad is that life is full of little victories. If I buy shampoo and not fabric softener? Victory. If I get off at the right train stop? Victory. If I learn how to pay for my amazon purchases on my own? Another victory! Back home, there is no gratification in doing the bare minimum. When you live in a foreign country, simply living a comfortable life is something to crow about.
So, you can imagine my delight when I successfully navigated the ward office. The ward office is essentially the neighborhood equivalent of the DMV. For me, it is where I got my health insurance card, my foreign resident identification, and where I register my address. This week, I had to notify my new ward office that I was now under their care, and had to have all my documentation updated. I’ll admit it was not elegantly done – I probably traumatized a few civil servants along the way – but it did get done. And as a barely verbal, mildly literate foreign woman, this is an unqualified success.
So, as I walked back to the train station, I took the liberty of buying a fancy tea from a nearby vending machine to celebrate. It is advertised fancy because it is gyokuro (“jade dew”) tea, a variety of Japanese green tea that is partly grown in the shade which supposedly makes it sweeter and more caffeinated. The bottle also claims that the “high quality, pulverized tea leaves” were steeped at a low temperature, which I assume is meant to enhance the experience as well. Not being much of a connoisseur myself, to me it tastes pretty much like every other bottled tea on the market. That being said, I do get a little extra boost of righteousness knowing that the proceeds go towards fixing the Kumamoto castle, which was damaged in 2017 by an earthquake.
Not only am I the queen of the ward office, then, but I am a sophisticated patron of culture. A good day all around.