I’ve been pretty lazy those past days as you may’ve already concluded, but that’s also due to my moving and the fact that it was weekend – my first weekend in Tokyo.
Be prepared of a fullblown, exciting story of my weekend!
As I have told you already, I now live in Minami Asagaya located in western Tokyo. It takes me about 35minutes with the marunouchi-subway-line to Ochanomizu and is known for it’s many foreign inhabitants, though it actually has more japanese atmosphere than other, better known parts of Tokyo. Quite lucky i got here, because I especially wanted to experience those small, narrow, ‘filled with restaurants and bars’ streets. Lovely!
But I get off-topic. Let’s start with Friday morning, where I got to work around 11:15 and nothing special happened. We had gyu don for lunch (OISHII!), I did some copy and paste again, helped Micchan with damaged boxes and marking examples, and studied some more. Nothing special. I left around 5PM and was originally wanted to go home, yet I thought it was to early and I would only lay in my room, staring holes into my ceiling anyways, so I spontaneously decided on a shorttrip to Shibuya – a part of Tokyo I haden’t been able to discover yet. Getting off in Shinjuku to get on the Yamanote-line I reached Shibuya in less than 10, and I was overwhelmed by the sight that greeted me after coming out of the station. Since it was already dark, the lights decorating the place had an even bigger impact on me, as did the huge mass of people. In front of the Station, it was sheer impossible to just stop walking and stand there without being a bother to other people, about 20m from the entrance was a big street followed by a big cross-way. Lots and lots of people were lining the sides, building a wall, only wait for the traffic lights to change into green light. Standing right at the front really isn’t fun, you’re scared as hell because you think everyone is coming at you to run over you and some of you surely know the youtube video, showing a crossway in Tokyo from above. The first time I saw it I was like ‘How are you suppossed to get over the street alive and in one piece?!’, but it’s actually very easy, as long as you flow with the things in smooth movements. Either way, it was really hard to even decide on the simple question ‘which street do I look at first?’. I chose the middle one, with a Starbuck’s as the first store on the right and a lot of christmaslights (even more lights then the other streets). I bought one caramal macchiato and continued to a jewelry shop, selling piercings and more rockjewelry, and in one corner of the shop there was even a little gemstone part. They were soo gorgeous, all those different stones. I could’ve resisted buying one, but then this hexagonal amethyst didn’t leave my mind (I’m a sucker for amethyst’s since they are the gemstone of my zodiac sign and this one had this really special and enticing colouration, no way I could ignore it!), so I bought it and a leatherband too, to make a nice necklace after coming home. Heading out again, I mindlessly strolled through the colourful lit streets, looking at some random shoestores here and there, taking in the atmosphere and greatness of the place. Somehow I got to this really big ‘You can buy anything here’ market, which selled christmascostumes, kigurumis, make up, butt shaping trousers, men cloth, hats, underwear, shavers, haircolour, food, electronics, eyelashes, expensive italian bags, contact lenses, everything you could think of. Of course I had to look through, though I don’t know why I got in, it didn’t seem appealing at first. I ended up buying some things, but they were things I wanted to buy anyway. I continued on my mindless stroll again, walking through cozy, narrow yet lively streets, getting out on a big street again, walking past more colourful advertisements, everywhere people in front of shops, passing advertisements to pedestrians, occasionally even screaming out special sentences. It really is a different culture, but so lively, welcoming and enticing. Going up the street, I soon turned around and got back again, for it wasn’t so lively anymore. Eventually I got stuck in front of a barber I had passed by early and the girl who stood outside in the cold looked so expectantly at me that I couldn’t decline (and because I needed a haircut – baaadly!). It was a little difficult though, because nobody really talked english, making it hard to explain what I wanted, but luckily I can use hands and feet to explain things and the guy was really friendly and nice, he did his job very good! I got going again and walked towards the JR station where I originally came from, but I wasn’t ready to go home yet so I took the last street and calmly yet precisely looked around. This street wasn’t as nteresting as the others so it didn’t take me much time to look through. Walking back to the railway station I drove back to Shinjuku and got on my subwaytrain again. After coming to Minami Asagaya station I just walked home and calmed down from all those feelings I got and reading some fanfics. When I finally wanted to shut off, I went downstairs to brush my teeth – at least that’s what I planned on, but fate wanted something else. I met the first of my cohabitants, the italian chef Tamo. Oh such a lovely guy! He’s 36, talks english very, though he has a very strong italian accent, he has lived in London and Sydney earlier and doesn’t have family. He’s actually very much like me, always looking for a challenge, unbelievably tolerant, very passionate about his work, because he LOVES it (he’s a patissier for a restaraunt in Roppongi, a posh area in Tokyo near Shibuya or so). We ended up talking for about 2 hours, just sitting there in our living room skipping from topic to topic, exchanging knowledge, sharing opions. He has already lived here for 5 months, but can’t talk japanese at all, though, mostly due to his hard working hours (12-14h a day, only sunday off). Very interesting and nice guy and I look forward to living together with him, though we won’t see each other that much, but he already invited me for a New Year’s eve dinner with his workmate. The point of saying good night had slowly crept up on us and around 3:45am it was time to retreat into our rooms, for Tamo had to work on saturday. I luckily had my day off and could sleep in.
On Saturday though I did my laundry, cleaned my room, took a shower and got ready for the night. Sometime during all this my japanese cohabitant came back home from his worktrip. His name is Yuya, 25 years old and also a very nice guy, though his english lacks a bit and it tends to get a little difficult. Due to that and the fact I was in a hurry, for getting ready for my evening we didn’t have such a long and deep conversation, but we cleared the basics of introduction. Anyways, as I said, I wanted to go out and enjoy myself this night. Maybe a little naive of a 18 y.o. girl, but I can’t just stay at home every evening, missing out on so many opportunities to get to know people. My first night out in Tokyo had to be awesome and I had seen this really positive blogpost of a gaijin bar called ‘Gamuso’, the fact that it’s a music and arts bar only adding to my curiousity and will to go there. Luckily there was an event that evening, so I dressed up and wandered through the streets with the way memorized in my head. It is a bar located around the railway station Asagaya, about a 20 minutes walk from my sharehouse. The whole area is cramped with small restaurants, conbinis and bars, narrow streets leading the way through this part of the city, everywhere paperlanterns and advertising lighting the streets. Somewhere along my strolling, I found what I had been looking for for days – a vending machine selling my favourite drink; Melon Cream Soda. This alone is already reason enough for me to frequent at that place, because melon soda is quite rare, even though it tastes so wonderful. Anyways, knowing that the bar was located in the streets I wandered, I searched and found it after about 5 minutes, but when I stood in front of it I wasn’t so sure anymore if I wanted to. I decided to go up the street for some thinking and turned around after some steps, gaining sudden courage. Walking back, I stopped in front of it again but this time I walked up the stairs and what greeted me was a homey feeling, people talking english – and oh? what did I hear, british english? My heart melted, it sounded so heavenly. There was another flight of stairs and I went up to check out the size of the bar. To my disappointment, there was only a little stage upstairs and some pictures lining the wall. I went down again and sat at the bar, the room itself was alredy very narrow, so there were only about 10 seats along the bar, barely any place to go for the stairs to the second floor and at the entrance there were about 4-5 small chairs and a toilette outside. Not even 5 minutes past I sat down, the first guy came talking to me – in a heavenly british english. He somehow got me and the japanese guy 2 seats beside me into a conversation and it was already so fun, though it was even half past 8. The birtish guy’s name was James, the japanese’s was Daisuke and both were so very kind and I already had made me first friends in a matter of minutes. I sat there, talking with James and Daisuke, until James left to talk with some other people, so I continued talking to Daisuke and we, too, had an awesome conversation. Somewhere along the line James introduced us to Laura, an artist who had her pictures hanging upstairs. We talked just for some minutes, shortly doind the basic introduction for she just arrived that moment and had to greet her other friends sitting at the bar. I also found out during my talk with Daisuke that he already was 36 years old, still young, but twice my age. In the course of the evening he even bought me two beer and he was so stunned to learn that I was only 18. Sometimes Laura would pass by us and have a little chat with us and James, too, but eventually Daisuke had to leave around 10o’clock. He only went upstairs to buy one of Laura’s pictures and they actually already knew each other, because he had bought one of her earlier pictures. So he left and I was left alone once again, but not for long, because the next guy talked to me. This time a very good friend of Laura named Keigo. He, too, was very warm, openhearted and friendly, but looked just as suprised and stunned when I told him about my age. Kind enough, he had invited me to join them on New Year’s eve, but then he told me they were going to a club so I had to decline, knowing I’m still underaged in Japan. And that’s when he found out about my age, but I as well looked very stunned when I learned he was already 33. Both Daisuke and Keigo didn’t look the least bit like they were over 30, more like mid-20 maybe end-20, but not older. o we were equally surprised. That’s when Laura joined our conversation, because Keigo just had to tell her my age and we somehow engaged in another very lively and interesting talk, Laura, who also comes from great britain, and Keigo laughed about some old stores here and there, and I found out that Laura, too, was already 32 and that Keigo actually organizes some clubevents. They even invited me to one clubnight in mid-january, where I could attend without worries, because Keigo could get me one the guestlist and I wouldn’t need to show my ID-card. He, too, had to leave soon, so there I was talking to Laura again, James joining some minutes later. She told me about her job of being an english teacher, and I felt like every one I got to know was some kind of teacher, James too and I think Daisuke too. So I tried to get some information from her on how to start teaching beginners, since I’m having some difficulties teaching my co-workers. Either way, we talked about teaching, here and there, and somwhere along the line Koh, another friend of Laura, who only has lived in Tokyo for 4 months now, joined us and I started chatting away with him happily. I think I had my longest conversation with him and it was so so nice, and I learned that he, too, is already over 30, if I remember correctly 35. But they all look so young and they all are so very nice and kind people, having the same problems as me, but are so much more experienced and accustomed to life here. I’m still so happy and overjoyed I had the chance to make such good friends. Sometime during all this mess of meeting new people, talking and drinking a beer, even 2 elderly german men named Andreas and Thomas joined us in the bar, saying they were in Tokyo for a work-related trip. Thomas had already been in Tokyo for 3 times earlier on, but for Andreas it was his first time encountering the japanese culture and he told of him difficulties, but that life here in general seemed very nice and exciting. We talked some german, sometimes some english so Koh could understand too, and they had so much fun, their advisor even got a little much tipsy and I haven’t talked about the bartender yet! Such a hilarious, british guy and he was very tipsy at that point too but it was so nice to have this british humor around me, never failed to make me laugh. Sometime later the german guys left and some more time passed before I asked Laura to go upstairs with me, because I felt the urge to buy a picture, this evening had just turned to meaningful to me to let this chance slip past plus they were quite cheap so I didn’t dwell on the fact of spending money carelessly. She actually is a part-time photographer for a music magazine where she takes pictures of j-rock and heavy-metal bands and her photo’s are amazing and it’s definitely a picture I’ll hang up in my room later, even years after. On the opposite wall were weird but so cool pictures of trash cans and bins with moustaches photoshoped into the picture and I fell in love instantly even before I got up there with her, so I bought another picture called ‘trashy love’. I’m happy about those two pictures, It’s not only memories for me, but help for them too because those pictures are just some hobby they don’t earn money on.
Either way, after that point, it somehow got rushed, Laura got home and Koh went with her, but without saying goodbye and I was standing there alone, awkwardly talking to another guy but at that point I wasn’t really into getting to know more people, it was already 3:15am and the guy was also a little bit too tipsy for my liking, so I rushed out, too, in hope to get the two who left earlier so I wouldn’t need to go home alone, but I didn’t find them. Later I even found out that Koh went back again and ah, somehow really messy, but I think it isn’t that bad, it was more than a nice evening, I made friends and I’m definitely going to go meet up with Koh sometime, Laura even invited me for a girlsnight with one of her friends the upcoming weekend, which I’m really looking forward to.
All in all, I’m more than satisfied I went there.
I went to bed straight and laid there until now, only getting up one time to make dinner and a tea. Coincidentally even bumping into my third cohabitant – the guy from argentina. Oh and he is so cute. Quite tall, quite manly, 24 years old, perfect english and he’s moved in here 4 months ago, so another newby into the japanese culture. He too, is a chef in a restaurant though I don’t know what he’s cooking or where, we just had a nice little chat. After that I went upstairs again to have my meal, I tidied up my room again and sat at my laptop for hours, trying to write this, but then came tumblr and FUCK it always get’s to me and I just can’t stop looking at those gorgeous, derpy pictures of my biases.
You see, everything has been quite overwhelming those past days and I have a feeling they are just getting started, especially with those new people. There’s a simple reason why I like them, they are pretty much like me, very kind, very crazy and they understand my reasons of coming here, because they have similar, are not afraid and I feel so very much understood in midst of all those people, it makes me feel alive.
So this has got to be all, nuff said. I hope you all had a nice and relaxing 3. advent, omg, next week christmaaaaas and I’m probably going to be a lost soul walking through lost streets. We’ll see!
SEYA’LL until next time!