My first days here were pretty overwhelming. Some other faculty folk took me to Kyoto, and showed me the Chion-in Temple area, helped me buy bus and train tickets, and so forth. And yet, when I went to do those things a second time, I needed more help. But now, I'm beginning to get the basics. I understand the train schedule signs, and can buy tickets (at least the ones I'm familiar with). I know where to go to get bus tickets. I can get myself to the drugstore, grocery stores, and around Kyoto a bit.
I was particularly happy yesterday that I was more comfortable walking and taking the bus in unfamiliar areas of Kyoto. And I've learned a few more kanji.
Today, I got a phone call from the local library. Alas, I said that I couldn't speak Japanese, so someone with good English got on the line, and we figured out that I'm not the person they're looking for, and don't know that person. I apologized, and the woman on the other end of the line apologized, and I realized that I'd bowed. Yes, there, alone in my apartment, I bowed to the phone. Weird.