“Spar dein Heimweh auf, dass du auf der Heimreise ganz viel davon hast.”
Since I didn’t update yesterday, let me sum it up.
So as usual i went to work, I’ve actually started to work everyday now and it’s really tiring. I can definitely relate to japanese people being spent all day. Most people start their work at 9o’clock and leave around 6pm and that’s also the way my workday looks like. Not so tiring actually, what get’s tiring is the way to work. For me it’s 9hours plus 2 more just for the way to work and back home. And when I get home I often stay up late due to relaxing or spending the evening with my cohabitants, like yesterday. The air conditioner is not really helping my situation, because sitting in the cool wind it produces freezing my ass off and an hour later sitting there sweating like there’s no tomorrow can’t be healthy. So I’ve been feeling kinda sick these last days, but nevermind.
So yeah, I was at work yesterday, came home and sat down with Agustin, the guy from argentina, and ate dinner in front of the tv and had a nice, long conversation and he too is quite similar to me, friendly, outgoing and a little crazy. Yuya-san joined us later and we continued our talk. Around 0:30 we bid our good nights and I went to bed half an hour later, only to wake up at 7am, to catch the train at 8:19 for work. I sat around, did some copy and paste, did some documents for Tetsuo-san, helped Micchan with some damaged boxes again and had some gyu don for lunch. In between I always slacked off a littel but that’s quite common here in Japan. I left work at 18:15 and got on my way home but made a stop in Shinjuku because I wanted to research on something. Trying to find the shop I was searching for, I ran around in circles for 4 hours, passing some spots for at least 3 times this evening, because it is just tooo fucking huge. The station alone is already a city in it’s own, having more than 20 exits. How are you suppossed to find a little shop in streets consisting of meters and meters high buildings, illuminated by thousands of advertisement, yet looking like every other street in that part. It’s beautiful, without a doubt, but still Shinjuku is too big for my taste, and crowded as hell, very expensive too and just not my taste. I need to pass by in broad daylight the next time.
Anyways, i came home about 22:45, completely drained. Now I have a headache and it’s time for me to go to bed.
See you all around!
I don’t think I’ll get that many calm days if this keeps on. Though, it’s nice to be away all day, seeing a lot of things, but on the other side it’s just as tiring. Coming home late with the only wish to just shut off, lay in bed and maybe read something it get’s hard to keep up writing everyday. So it may occur more often that I won’t update everyday. Anyways, yesterday was a fun day, even teaching me new things. I am really bad at going to bed early so I tend to be very sleepy in the morning and it has gotten even worse the past days. Getting up earlier than normal was quite the challenge for me but I passed, though I’d rather stayed in bed, the thought of going to the dentist seeming not really appealing to me. Already being a little late, I put on some clothes, packed my things, even leaving half the important stuff at home and ran out the front door ony way to the subwaystation. Changing train in Shinjuku, I drove to Harajuku – a very nice and appealing part of Tokyo I learned (maybe due to the fact that it’s one of Tokyo’s most expensive districts) – in search for the english speaking dentist I found via google search. It was only a five minute walk from the railwaystation, located in a small sidestreet. The interior of the location looked very nice and welcoming and the doctors assistant took care of me really well, since I hadn’t made an appointment due to the urgency of my visit – a hole in my tooth I’ve been living with for 5 weeks. Ugh. Never had I been so calm and composed during a session at a dentist, he not only closed my broken tooth but also let my long forgotten love for the dentist resurface. He was so collected and patient with me, though I’m not really a whiny person I still tend to show my nervousness with little protests and he withdrew the syringe instantly when I showed I’m really not ok with getting that, but he understandingly said ‘I know, that’s the most uncomfortable thing in the procedure, it’s only to numb your tooth’. Such a simple sentence probably every dentist uses, yet he made me calm down in a matter of seconds, his voice so soothing, but what caught me off guard was the lack of urgency. His tone was just so caring, trying to make me understand that he’d wait until I was ready, not pressuring the least bit. So I took deep breath and we got started, taking one full hour until I was ready to leave. Hell, I paid a fortune on that, but it’s legitime and I’m happy I spent it there. After paying I left again and headed for the train, back to Shinjuku, switching trains and off to work. Yesterday I sat the whole day fusing plastic bags, cutting off the ends and filling them an instruction book before closing them. Actually I liked it a lot, I favour practical works over some copy and paste, especially since it was rather easy. It kept me occupied for the whole day, before I tiredly drove home around 6pm. On my walk home I stopped by one of the conbini and bought some toilette cleaner and my dinner. When I finally entered my house, cleaning the toilette was the first thing on my mind. 5 guys living under one roof – you don’t expect them to clean, do you? The toilette stinks and looked like shit and I was so happy when I had cleaned most of it. After that I proceeded to clean the kitchen area because that looked just as disguting. I’m really not someone who lives super clean, actually I’m rather messy myself, but kitchen and toilette are something that must be kept clean in an acceptable state not with old food pieces laying in the sink, rotting away or everything getting oily because of the dust it’s collected. Ugh, I just had to clean, so I stood there the whole evening cleaning the working space and sink, even cleaning the ricecooker and the dishes. Meanwhile I tried to cook rice, but I failed big time, my rice dissipating into a sticky unidentifiable substance. Yuya-san, my japanese cohabitant, came home somewhere during my cleaning, made himself some dinner and started watching TV. I joined him after finishing, sitting there with some cupnoodles and a tea. We sat there occassionally talking, watching TV until the guy from argentina came home, a japanese girl named Eri as his guest. He went to shower so Eri-san sat with us and talked english with me and japanese with Yuya-san. Autin (the guy from argentina and hell I don’t know how to write his name) came from the shower and joined us, too, so we talked quite friendly and it turned out to be a nice, funny evening with my cohabitants. In midst of all, even the weird american guy showed his face when he wanted to take a shower. I’ve seen him once, the night I talked to the italien guy the first time, but we haven’t even talked with each other even less, not even introduced each other, but he needed to nag and complain yesterday the first thing he does. He never as much as showes his face to us, neither is he talking to any of us, but when you see him he is groggy and weird and complaining. He has this ‘just-fuck-off-and-stop-bothering-me’-attitude all the time, 24/7, so I don’t really want a conversation with him, that’s fine. Anyways, after he left the shower again, the other two also left for their room and I was alone with Yuya. We finished watching a programme about the Titanic and then he wanted to call it a day, I was fine with that and just got under the shower before I too retreated into my room, it was already midnight so I played around a little more. When my neighbor, Tamo (ital.), came home he knocked at my door and gave me some really delicious cake as a welcoming present and that made me really happy. Not longer after that I got to bed and groggily woke up in the morning. I got up early again, havingto take a detour for the dentist once again, but not for long so I arrived at work 10:15am and instantly started working, continuing with the files I did yesterday. Today I had to label oxygenmasks and attach the instructionbook to it, 140 times. It was occupying me and my mind so I was happy about doing it. For lunch I went down to the conbini with Micchan and we got some things to eat, I got myself some Onigiri (riceballs, oh they taste so good) and a box of takoyaki, while Micchan took the same cheese-noodle dish I had days ago for our shared dinner at the company. We got up, sat down together and ate happily and just as we were about to finish, Tetsuo-san came in for the first time that day, reminding Micchan that she actually had to go do something so she rushed up and wanted to clean up but I assured her I would do, so up and away she went while I cleaned and continued my work too. Tetsuo-san has this habit of randomly showing up by your side to just involve you in a small chat before disappearing again, so this happened quite often today, sometimes he would tell me something interesting, sometimes it would be to remind me of things I had to do. Finishing my task with the oxygenmasks around 16:35, I sat around, waiting for time to go by. I left 5:30pm, caught the train home, went home straight, an unbelievably strong wind striking my face, but that calmed down in the safe confines of my neighborhood. When I came home I got up in my imidiately and relaxed and somehow I got so sleepy that I took a little nap before I started writing. Now it’s two hours later and I’ve finished, so I can go downstairs to ready myself for bed. Night~ SeYaSoon! ;3
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!
Lots and lots of bags laid sprawled out in my room this morning and I had still some things to pack away. I was desperately trying to stuff them somewhere. But thankfully I got up in time to pack the last things calmly. When I went down for breakfast I brought the first few bags with me and went to the kitchen to fill my stomach with a toast and some tea. Tetsuo-san already sat in the diningroom, working so early in the morning. After I finished, we proceeded to bring the rest of my things down to pack them in the car and took a rest until 10o’clock. Like every other day we drove together we were headed for Tokyo, taking a little rest along the way. Arriving in tokyo we drove by the company to pick up Micchan, since we invited her to come with us – she get’s off the subwaytrain just one station before me, so she lives quite in my neighborhood. The ride there was already worth a billion pictures, getting on the metropolitan highway in Otemachi, a business district, lined with lots of high buildings, continuing our way, passing by Yoyogi, Shinjuku and other big districts. It took us about 45min via highway to reach from Ochanomizu to Asagaya, which is located in west Tokyo and the highwaystreets are an adventure itself, I bet many men would love to race down these streets in a match. My point is, that I still can’t grasp how big Tokyo is, it’s incredible, unbelievable. And as big as the streets are on the highway, as soon as you come into the living area of each district it get’s cramped and stuffy and the streets are practically nonexistent – at least it seems like it when you sit in a car. The house itself is more like a backyard house, very cozy, maybe a little shady but still has it’s charms. On the opposite side of the small street there is a park for kids to play at. We have a nice living room, a very cramped and old kitchen, my room is small and lovely, just the right size I’d say, and the rest is ok. Though japanese house in general have very big negative points, like no heater, just an aircon, or the fact it’s actually only paper surrounding you. The cold and chilly temperatures from outside tend to creep inside the house through the walls and closed but still open windows. Anyways, we cleared all the signing and stuff and after Tetsuo-san and Micchan had left I took a long rest in my bed to calm down my nerves. So I laid there quite sometime, nobody of my housemates at home so I decided to take a look around and getting familiar with my surroundings. I located the subway station, found a huuuuge shopping street just along the street, only parted by a row of houses and I found the JR station, connected by that shoppingstreet. Asagaya, my current home, really is lovely with it’s narrow courtyardstreets, a huge variety of shops just hidden behind a wall of houses and broad ways along the centerroad. You have no other chance bit to fall in love. Even th subway line is perfect, connected to Shinjuku, Tokyo and Ikebukuro. The only thing many people would dislike is the fact that as soon as it get’s dark you tend to get lost because at night the living area turns into a scary maze where you think yor are never going to find the way out and it turns very dark and shady too. But other than that, it’s lovely, and actually rather famous for foreigners living here. It was a nice time out I had out, yet I got back early, thinking my housemates would sometime drop by but getting home by 7o’clock showed me otherwise. I was alone in the whole house for at least 3 hourse so I just stayed in my room not caring if anyone was coming home. And so my evening went by. Now it’s time for bed, so byebye!
I got to work alone today, taking the railway for the last time for what I found later found out. Arriving at work around 10:45, I was there before Tetsuo-san and nevertheless got to work imidiately by helping Micchan repacking various boxes and sticking stickers to them, sometime during that work Tetsuo-san came and got very surprised. After finishing that, Micchan asked me to acconpany her to get our Obento we had ordered earlier. We got the 7 obento and misosoups and got back to the company for a nice lunch, only talking english. Getting back to work after lunch, I continued helping Micchan by sorting out damaged boxes and labelling the good ones. Clearing that task, I got to copy and paste 20 more googlepages for Fujie-san and that’s tiring as hell. The rest of the day I spent studying and listening to music a little, while the others worked hard, having a lot to do. Sometime during the day, Tetsuo-san asked me if it was ok for me to move tomorrow instead of saturday and i said ‘yes, why not?’. So fact is, due to complications at my current home, I learned on Sunday that I had to leave and my chances of staying in Japan for 7 more months was quite slim, because Tetsuo-san only looked for an apartment where I could stay for two month and that wasn’t my plan at all. So I searched for a host family and imidiately found a sharehouse in west tokyo for 50000¥ ~500€ a month, really cheap for tokyo standards! We looked at the room and I knew I wanted to have it. It’s small and cozy, I’m living together with 5guys – 1 each from france, italy, argentina, america and one japanese guy, all around 20-30 y.o. That’s going to be some fun! Haven’t even met them. The guy who showed us around the house was from poland, yet had already lived in japan for 5years and i was massively impressed by that. But I look forward to the exchange of information and stuff that’s waiting for me in my new home. Anyways, due to my moving tomorrow, Tetsuo-san decided to help me and drive me there by car, implying that we drove home together today. Since it was already quite late (and japanese people love to eat out) he asked me if I’d want to try some real japanese sushi. Many people don’t know, that japanese people don’t sushi that often, it’s actually a really expensive dish for people living. Of course there are some less expensive ones, but they also lack in quality. Still we drove to one kaiten-zushi restaurant in Chiba to have dinner. (Kaiten is the name for the famous rotating bar, where you can grab the sushi driving past you) And if you talk of sushi here, you mainly get nigiri (rice with fish/seafood, sometimes meat ontop), barely any maki (nori-rice rolls with filling). Quite the opposite to everywhere else. There were small 4seat-booths, on one side the treadmill transporting the different kinds of nigiri and maki, even drinks and desserts, a little faucet pouring hot water for instant green tea, some ginger and a box with chopsticks. On eyeheight there was a little computer where you could search for special dishes you wanted to have so you could order them without bothering anyone, very nice! We sat there and ate 8 plates full of sushi and an icecream for dessert. It was delicious to say the least, but sushi always makes so full, it’s somehow disgusting, but nevertheless worth it. We drove home and I got under the shower imidiately. After I came out I went to sit with Tetsuo-san and Emiko-san one last evening. Later I went upstairs to pack the last things here and there, so there’s only tomorrow left to come. I’ll sleep to make the time go by faster. Seeya’ll! ;3
I woke up early today, even before my alarm ringed, but stayed in bed until 12. Not just because I was lazy, but because I was feeling a little sick and somehow depressed. I just didn’t feel like getting up, so I layed there, dozing off sometimes or just staring at the ceiling. It doesn’t happen often I’m depressed, so I feel bad if it happens. Though I’m not homesick much. Either way, when I finally got up and ready, I headed down to have brunch only to find out Emiko-san had already left. So I had a little meal and went upstairs. Half an hour later I heard Emiko-san come back and I rushed out to greet her, she said she bought some sandwiches for lunch. Going downstairs, I went to the diningroom so we could have lunch and after that we had that reeeeeaally delicious apple from Fukushima, I’m not exactly a fan of apples, but those are too delicious to deny them! In the center they get yellow and semi-transparent, that’s what you call honey here in Japan and it tastes fantastic. And they are huuuge! Finishing lunch, dishes and a little talk with Emiko-san I went up to do some writing and relaxing before I decided to take a tour Nagasaki-ya for I had some little things to buy. I went down to say I was leaving and Emiko-san offered me to drive me there. 5 minutes I arrived there and said my thanks, before entering the mall. The first thing I saw were cute, fluffy wintersocks and since winters in Japan are really hard and cold, I thought I would need some. Looking around a little more I found gorgeous cloths for sewing, typical japanese ones, comic style with onepiece or hamtaro design or simple flower design, quite a big variety for a little mall. Later I headed for my beloved hyakuen shop, where I purchased two ricebowls and a cup for me. The ricebowls though were presents for Emiko-san, she had birthday yesterday. There wasn’t much more to do, so I left and took the monorail for one station befor getting off again and going all the way to the supermarket that laid on the way. I got in, tucked some icecream and porkslices (they were cheapier today, on tuesdays they sell a lot of things for 77¥ about 80cent) into my basket, paid and bought 2 melon cream soda at the vending machine (ooooh how i love it, favourite drink!)
Getting home, Emiko-san was at a conference, so I packed her present, made dinner for myself and got a call from my mom to update her on the latest news. I watched some program about orcas later and then Emiko-san came home and made herself dinner. I went up to ny room and got ready for bed, because I’m going to work tomorrow, so byebye!
Here I was again, getting up around 8o’clock to accompany Tetsuo-san to work. We left 8:55 and had a calm, a little crowded trip to ochanomizu, but right on the highway to Tokyo I remembered that I had left my purse at home. Getting there around 10:15, I got some small job, just to help the others out. After that I once again had some copy and paste work to do – 10 pages worth of googleanswers, just the links though. Fujie-san wanted me to do it for researchpurposes. Having finished that I fooled around a little more before I went out to have lunch with Suzuki-san and Micchan. We went to a seafood restaurant Micchan favoured a lot and I got myself some bacon, rice, misosoup and other side dishes while the other took some fishbowl with sashimi and rice in big size. Like everything I don’t like much, it’s not that it tastes bad, but you need to know what to combine to make it taste good and my bacon wasn’t different. Though the problem was I had to stuff my mouth so full to my it taste good so that was barely able to chew, it was a little difficult. All three of us complained about being so full. Anyways, Micchan and I got back to the company alone, Suzuki-san wanted to buy something in Akihabara so he went over. We came in and Fujie-san asked me to copy and paste some more links and so i did 5 more pages. After that, I only studied a little more japanese before Tetsuo-san took me out to Minami Asagaya, a part of Westtokyo and a really nice living area, though it takes about 35min with the subway from Ochanomizu. He had some things to do, and after half an hour we rode back, getting to the company by 5:45PM, where we bought dinner in the convinience store beneath. The people left at work came together at the conferencedesk and had their obento for dinner, including nice talks and some learning for me. It was around 8:15 before I left the company to head home, taking two really delicious apples from fukushima with me. They really are awesome in taste! I came home 22:40 and directly went to bed, tired as hell and maybe a little ill. Good night to you, n seeyou!
Yay I’m back and since nobody knows where I went to yesterday, you can read about my adventurous trip to Fukushima today. Yeah Fukushima, but not in the very dangerous tone of the reactoraccident, but the city, 2 hours carride from the eastcoast. It is a very beautiful prefecture of japan, even in late autumn. Still, many foreigners wouldn’t visit it, because they are to afraid of getting sick or maybe even other reasons. Maybe I should explain my reasons of accepting to the trip to let people get another view into this matter. First one is clearly the probably most important rule here in Japan – you don’t say no. And even if people here say it’s fine to decline you still shouldn’t, just out of politeness, because they know that they have a very different maybe even ‘weird’ way of life so they want you to at least give it a try. It’s really important to show them you at least try to get accostumed or else you won’t get accepted in the social life and that’s not a thing you want to experience – ever. Also, I don’t want to be treated as a foreigner much, I want to show my curiousty and interest for Japan, so I can’t act like a whimsy foreigner being picky and frightened, making trouble. Furthermore, I am not exactly afraid of aftereffects of the radioactivity, people live there and they feel good. Of course I’m not a coward, I know it is very unhealthy but I also believe if it’s only for a few days you aren’t going to suffer major problems. Naturally I was aware of the state of the prefecture, wary about eating and coming in contact with my surroundings. Thirdly, to pay my respect. People living in that area have suffered major losses and problems, but they can’t just up and leave, it isn’t that easy here in Japan (i believe it’s nowhere, not just in Japan). Yet leaving those people alone isn’t helping and I’m very surprised and stunned that japanese people, too, are trying to somehow help and are willing to show their support and respect. And my last reason is that I’ve come here because I wanted action, I wanted to travel and experience Japan in every way so I can’t pass up a trip to Fukushima. Keeping that in mind, my diary-entry starts here! Leaving early yesterdaymorning, about 7:30, taking into account that the morningtraffic is suffocating and tiring, doubling the normal time you need from Chiba to Tokyo, we met Fujie-san and Micchan at the office to pick them up. The reason? The whole trip was actually a work related trip, as a thank you for the employees for their hard work and staying with the company for the whole year. A japamese working year starts 1 december and stops 30 November, so every year has such a celebration, like a christmas dinner. Our journey, a group of 10 people plus 2, should bring us to Fukushima, taking the chance to visit an old friend of Tetsuo-san and spending one night in a ryokan, a traditional, japanese old-fashioned hotel, setup with tatami-mats, futon and shoji, the room itself is called washitsu. It often also has hot spring baths and so did ours. Before we got there we had lunch at a very famous soba restaurant, sitting at those clichéd low tables, which was actually my first time. (Soba are cold noodles served with tea and some side dishes like vegetables and some soysauce, wasabi and spring onions) Finishing lunch, we continued on our course to the ryokan when suddenly it started snowing at the foot of the mountain, so Tetsuo-san’s friend decided we should leave our cars and take the bus up the mountain to where the ryokan was located. The higher up we went, the whiter, snowier and foggier it got, already building a thin layer of snow when we arrived around 7 minutes after leaving out cars. For me it was the first snow this year and I think theother haven’t seen snow in a while, too, since it’s not a very common thing around Tokyo. Checking in to the hotel we got on our rooms and I was once again breathtaken. Tatami-mats are mats made of dried ricegras, knotted into a mat which was used as a material to build the floor. They are one of the reasons why japanese people have the habit of taking of their shoes everywhere they go. Futon is the name of an old version of a japanese bed. It’s actually just a thin matress you can roll up and put away easily, the blanket on the other hand was really, really big, fluffy and warm with the simple explanation of it being winter, there two versions of blankets used for Futon. They are really comfortable. Shoji are the sliding doors made of paper. Though I believe the word ‘washitsu’ is too much, our rooms still had a western touch and washitsu is mainly used for complete japanese styled rooms, but i’m not sure about that. Either way, I roomed with Micchan, since we were the only girls on that trip and we got comfortable. We talked a bit and laughed and somehow 2 hours went by, Micchan didn’t want to miss out on the chance to take a bath in the hot spring, japanese ‘onsen’. It is a very famous thing here in japan and in some areas very common, though not an easy task for most foreigners, I at least had some problems, just thinking of taking a bath completely naked with strangers. Yet it was my task to overcome that and show Tetsuo-san I could do it, because he was actually really worried I couldn’t do it. In the end it was so easy, because once we changed into our yukata’s (summer kimono, just one thin layer of cloth) only wearing underwear beneath, the atmosphere changed drastically. I ignored the fact I was going to be naked in front of strangers (I wasn’t raised with the outgoing nature of showing myself naked to people). We went down to the exit where we changed shoes and got out. There were actually 4 sorts of onsen, all outdoor. The first one we took was a little house with 2 baths, 1 for each gender, parted through a wall. Opposite from the entrance there was a locker wall with small cubicles where you could place your clothes and to the right side was a square filled with milky water, smelling like bad eggs. And it was hot, like freaking hot. I couldn’t go in neither did Micchan, luckily there were small bowls placed at the edge, which you could use to splash some hot water over you in preparation. Finally in the water, I felt my limbs go numb from the temperature, it was really nice and relaxing but hot. I was beginning the feel dizzy, my head pounding after not even 10 minutes of sitting in the water, my body numb and itching a little just seconds before we got out and that’s when the real relaxation washes over you – when you leave the water, a feeling of freshness and freedom comes over you and it feels incredible. Putting on our yukata again, we headed for the next one – and my favourite one. It was an ‘only women’ outdoor bath and definitely had the nicest view. You came in and left your shoes at the entrance, on the wall to your right there were the locker spaces, and to your left a wall that parted the bath from the lockers. A peaked aroun that wall offered an awesome view of the hot spring, milky water steaming under the cold temperatures surrounding, snow-clad gras and trees lining the view and a small descent that lead the hot water freely, parting us from the cliffy mountain. Uttering a chorus of ‘Ooooh~ sugoiii~ kirei-neee~ aaah’ we hardly could stop admiring the amazing picture that displayed in front of us, but the coldness got to us and we were more or less forced to meet the hot, steaming water and yet again it was painfully hot. The view actually got even prettier while sitting in the water, enjoying the atmosphere to the fullest. And just as I thought nothing could disturb us, I felt the earth and wood beneath us quiver, the trees and bushes slightly shaking, too. Micchan didn’t even feel the earthquake, though it was actually rather strong, I could only enjoy it, I like earthquake, but that may be because I’d never experienced a serious one. We calmed down instantly and continued to enjoy our bath. It was also no problem to just get out of the water for some minutes, because the heat lingered on your skin and the water didn’t get cold. I liked the frequent change of temperatures because the hotness sometimes really got suffocating and the fresh air was a good help to calm down again before taking a dip again. We repeated it a few times, before we decided to take our leave and try the next one. It was again a bath for both genders, but this time one with an open view, too. The water there was just the right temperature, one where you could sit for hours, but we had a timelimit to keep, so we left not long after entering, to see that the last one was a footbath-onsen with already kind of cold water. With the seats a little wet, we just sat down 3-4minutes before freezing off our backs, and just as we went back in again, a man came along looking if everything was alright, telling us that there was a big earthquake near Sendai, a town not that far away from our location. Arriving at our room just in time, we met up with the others for our dinnerdate. We had reserved a large washitsu and when we got in there was a stage to the left side with a machine in the center and in the room were 12 small tables, each having a small sidetable and pillow to sit on. Lots of tiny pieces of food served on different plates decorated the table as well as a small sake-cup and something to drink on the sidetable. The dishes were very special so left out a lot of things, being not hungry as well. And I concentrated on drinking sake, because the hardest task came with the start of our dinner – karaoke on a big stage. We had a lot of fun, everyone drank aside from Micchan and they sang and I somehow ended up singing, too, kind of tipsy, too, all in all it was a special yet nice dinner japanese style. It ended 8PM, being too tipsy for a dip in the onsen, we went upstairs to our room and were invited by Tetsuo-san to join them in his room. Micchan and I agreed, yet I don’t know what took us more than 1,5h to get into the room next door. Either way we somehow found the way over, me still being very tipsy, and the guys weren’t different, suddenly have more sake and even a big bottle of jaegerbomb – one way to kill me. And as if not being tipsy enough we drank more sake and someone was so polite to pour me and the others some jaegerbomb (oshaku, you remember) after the sake was empty. Time ran by, we downed the jaegerbomb quite fast and not even 5 minutes later everyone said they were tired – me too, but I was still too tipsy. It didn’t even take me 5 minutes to get ready for bed before I laid there and slept like a stone. Micchan woke me up in the morning, saying we should head to breakfast, I followed even though I was super sleepy, but sitting there at the breakfast table, staring at the food made me think it may would ‘ve been better to just stay in bed. I only drank tea, water and orangejuice because I have problems eating just after waking up and maybe I was a little ‘sick’ (like my ma likes to call it). We headed back, seeing that our futon had been rolled up and packed away so I couldn’t even lay down, thankfully tatami are quite comfortable. Deciding to take one last bath we went down for a shorty, since we yet again had made up a time for us to meet. It took us 30 minutes for the 2 outdoor baths and then we rushed up again, for we had only 15 minutes left before checking out. We nearly made it on time, though this time it wasn’t my fault for being late.
Either way, we checked out and got on the bus, heading for the cars waiting at the foot of the mountain. The snow fading with every meter we went down the curvy way. The view was once again breathtaking, beside the street the descent that started already at the hotel continued leading the hot, milky water over lots of stones and leaves, digging it’s way down, the fog surrounding the mountain clouded the view on the city below and made everything seem mysterious, yet gracious (I enjoy watching scenery go by a lot if you haven’t noticed yet).
Anyways, we reached the cars and tucked our luggage away safely again, but we didn’t say good bye, so I concluded our trip hadn’t ended yet, but then I remembered, Tetsuo-san mentioned something about going to the seaside, near the place of the accident last year and we actually did, but first we rode one of us to the Shinkansenstation, so he could catch his bullet train, but then he felt he left his purse in the car and luckily he caught up to us before we were gone. We had to wait an extra half an hour before we picked up where we left of. After two more hours of carride through the sunny countryside decorated by many high mountains and leafless trees, we arrived at a harbour harbouring many fisherboats. Tetsuo-sans friend lead us over the street in a neat, little japanese-style restaurant. Tetsuo-san told me, that there was nothing left of the city after the tsunami crashed there last year. I remembered that the houses all looked very new. Our lunch came, it was salmon-sashimi and salmon-eggs with rice and a miso-clam shell- soup. Being a little sceptical, seeing the clam shell’s and huge fisheggs, I tried and was positively surprised because it tasted really good, it just depends on what you eat to every dish. I was very lucky to have some ginger, improving the taste, making it richer in hotness. Oishii! (Yummy!)
We left the restaurant and took a stroll along the harbour, taking in every detail. 10 minutes later they decided to take a tour along the water, which in fact only was one street. Passing the maybe last significant reminders of the past, we only could get a small idea of how it had looked like right after the incident. Aside from this completely broken house and the big betonsquare, everything looked very fresh and new, like nothing every happened, just occasionally some construction site.
Soon we were on our way home again, having fulfilled our sole purpose of supporting the people living in Soma. And hell, it was so windy, the people driving had problems controlling the cars. Somewhere on the way we stopped and ate an super delicious ice cream, very good, made me very happy. The day so far had every weather possible, snow, rain, sunshine, wind, coming near fukushima the snow-rain started, more wind along with a dark, rainheavy sky joining in. Luckily we reached the highway quite fast, only stopping shortly to say our thanks to Tetsuo-sans friend by endless bows.
Finally back in the cars, we started our journey back home, a ride thick with sleepiness. After about 3h of driving and pausing thrice, we came to Tokyo and it took us another 40 minutes to arrive at the office, but the awesome nightview of Tokyo helped a lot to endure them, we also got a close-up view of the Skytree in all it’s nightlights, and I first then realized how tiny everything get’s in comparison to it’s 634m height. Really impressive.
Arriving at the office, we just went up, let some things there and got back down, saying good bye to Fujie-san and giving Micchan a lift to the Metrostation, continuing our way to Chiba and since the it was an early saturday evening the streets weren’t crowded with traffic.
Coming home, Emiko-san was quick to prepare dinner for us and we came just in time to see the last 3 participants of the ISU grand prix finale of figure skating in russia. Suzuki Akiko was the next up and got third in ranking, the next was some girl from usa and last but not least Asada Mao, skating her seasons best and getting 15points more than the earlier first in ranking. Her run was really perfect. (http://m.youtube.com/results?q=asada%20mao%202012) This was also her winning performance for the NHK Trophy I wrote about. Beautiful.
She rounded my evening well, so I said my good nights to both and went up in to my room, to write the first part of this, since I originally wanted to update yesterday, but I was too tired to stay up any longer. Today after getting up, I went down for breakfast and up again, because my room needed a thoroughly cleaning session and I must say I was quite successful. But other than that, nothing really happened. Dinner were oyster-tempura, brokkoli, miso-clam shell- soup housemade, and some leftover curryrice. Was very tasty. I got up in my room quite early today and now I’m going to bed.
Those past days have been quite calm and non exciting, since I’ve been alone at home most of the time with Tetsuo-san still being in Italy and Emiko-san working part-time.
I can’t say today was utterly exciting, but at least I came out of the house today. Eniko-san went to work today, too, so I sat in the diningroom, listening to music and packing presents, until Emiko-san got back around half past 1. I drove to the postoffice together with Emiko-san so I could send my box with christmaspresents home (holy crap, expensive as hell) and after having done that I ate some little lunch, went upstairs until dinner was ready.
Had some really nice curry japanese style with rice, tasted very good. After finishing we watched TV and a report about ‘supa ninkinmushi’ came on. ‘Supa ninkinmushi’ are some sort of mutated huge fleas, they bite and you get really ugly, itchy marks that leave deep scars. They are labeled as pest-insects because you can’t get rid of them, aside from letting all your furniture be backed in a huge stove with over 90ºC and their population grows very fast too. The girl they interviewed said she got traumas and couldn’t sleep because she got so afraid of being bitten, kinda really scary and disgusting.
I went to shower to clear my mind of things and when I came out again, Tetsuo-san had already arrived. We talked a lot and had some fun and then he found the oysters the post brought the other day so he started cracking them all to only get the meat and freezed it. I tasted a little raw piece and they are very salty but not disgusting at all, actually everytine i’ve eaten oyster in some kind of variation it just had a faint taste and nothing more.
I proceeded to go upstairs in my room because I wanted to do some more things before going to bed early. Now it’s early in another way.
Anyways, I should really go to bed now, we’re going on a trip tomorrow again, so you won’t hear from me the next two days. Where I was and what I was doing there I’m telling you next time!