I woke up around 4:00 to 4:30 after a restless and uncomfortable sleep on a small mattress that's really more of a box spring. After unpacking and putting everything away, I went for a ride down into the southern part of the city. (I'm in the northern part, in Kita-ku, or "North Ward", 北区.)
It was good to get used to riding on the left side of the road when no one else was around, because when the streets are busy, in order to actually get anywhere by bike, I have to ride in the main auto thoroughfares. The side streets are just too full of pedestrians and slow bikes.
Once the shops started opening, I got an ice coffee. I thought the ice coffee Abbas bought me a few days before I left Vancouver would be the last one of this summer, but it's still hot enough here.
It was actually really good, but still not quite worth the 400 円 I paid for it.
I got my "Alien Registration Certificate" and did some grocery shopping, before Ken showed up to take me to look at some apartments. When I went to get the certificate in the morning, they had me fill out some paperwork and told me it would come in a month. Ken rightly decided this wouldn't do, so we went back to the Ward Office. He filled out some other paperwork in Japanese, I paid 400 円 and they issued the certificate that day. We then went to see some apartments, but we didn't have an appointment, so we could only see the buildings from the outside.
Although my apartment is tiny, it is really efficient and fairly well outfitted. Since it already has everything for cooking, including a rice cooker, I decided to start by making my dinner today. For about 2,000 円 I was able to get everything I needed to cook 4-5 meals. I lucked out in selecting sesame oil by the color alone, since I couldn't read any of the Kanji on the bottle and there were a lot of different oils to choose from. Cooking in the tiny kitchen was a bit involved but the food came out all right.
After dinner I took a nap and then another long ride around the city. This time I headed west and it was night - the roads were swarming with cars, trucks and scooters. I spotted my first Osaka fixie and talked to its rider about where to find bike shops. He circled two blocks in my map-book and wrote a name in the margin. Maybe on Sunday I'll go ride around in those circles and see what I see.
Now I'm back and ready to sleep.