Japanese Firsts

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It was an eventful day in Tokyo for this idiot abroad…

I’m still very much in tourist mode, but I sort of feel as if I became a real resident today – I got my first shoe locker, and my first commuter pass. 

Be it ever so humble, my guesthouse near Kichijoji at least feels a bit more like a home than the hotel did – and it’ll tide me over till I find an apartment anyway.  I’m somewhat proud of myself for managing to navigate my way through three transfers with two enormous bags on wheels, a laptop bag and a backpack at the tail end of rush hour.  Also, for managing to locate both my language school and my apartment using the Byzantine Tokyo address system (street names are basically useless).  Learning, albeit slowly.

My one excursion of the day was a trip to Parco, in Shibuya.  Why a department store, you ask?  No, I’m not a shopoholic – though Japanese depattos are a tourist attraction in themselves (especially the food halls) but the sixth floor there is dedicated to pop culture, mainly anime.  And of course, that’s where the NoitaminA store (no photos allowed) is.  That’s holy ground for me – they have a “wall of fame” showing all the NoitaminA series, and it really brings home how many great shows have aired on the block over the years.  And yes, they still have a good supply of Tsuritama stock on hand.

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24 comments

  1. e

    Soo, how many kilos did your luggage amount to?
    Are you close enough to your school? :>
    I might be brain farting, but… what's that piece of furniture between your desk and the bed? It looks like a mini-wardrobe to me but the design reminds me of a fridge too ( I'm doubting it's the latter though).
    Also… wondering at the sight from your window. I'm getting the impression you're on a high floor.
    The parquet is a nice touch and looks in good condition. Me likes.

    How long is your NoitaminA store wishlist already? :p

  2. A

    Wow, just wow.

  3. e

    @Anon: provided your comment wasn't addressed at Enzo's post instead…
    Kimi ni arimasu! I'm a tireless sucker for this kind of 'traveller/expat's diary' posts&pic – and books, and documentaries, and… – :p.

  4. The wood everywhere is about the best thing – it does make the room smell nice. It's only on the second floor, the view is just the neighboring house and the yard. And that's a fridge!

  5. e

    @Enzo:
    Thank you for graciously bearing with my Chitanda attack.
    I was ruling out the fridge option because it seemed a bit weird to me to have it placed right next to your head and sort of looming close to your pillow. I mean, going by the shadow of your sheets on the fridge door it seems so close to the bed frame it's like ot's glued to it (I like to think I'm pulling a Mutta Observational Skills Time here instead of a She's A Nutjob* ). No humming? No vibrations transmitted to the bed? <—- my not-so-awesome-nor-Japanes fridge next to the cupboard vibrates enough for the glasses and dishes in said cupboard to clink if I leave no space between the piles for instance XD. And it vibrates to the touch, if ever-so-slightly.

    Wood ftw. It's simple, elegant and gives a sense of warmth. Plus the smell I agree.

    Good luck for your careful and responsible purchase plans.

  6. K

    I really hope to visit Japan someday. It sounds great

  7. d

    You please do so. With Low Cost Carriers its easy to get there. Go to any part. Whether Hokkaido, Kanto, Kansai, Chubu… You wont regret it. Well, at least you most likely wont regret it.

  8. K

    So did you buy anything at the Noitamina store?

  9. I want to do some reconnaissance in Nakanao Broadway and make a run to Cospa in Akiba before I buy anything. My space and finances are both limited…

  10. L

    Funny, when I lived in Tokyo (albeit a long time ago now) I didn't even step into anything anime/manga related in the first six months. Granted, anime/manga isn't exactly a significant hobby for me as some of the other stuff I do, but it's still weird now that I reminisce about my time there.

    Oh, and your space and finances will ALWAYS be limited in Tokyo, Enzo.

  11. C

    Enzo are you eating your vegetables? Are you studying properly and don't stay out so late, you need a good amount of rest.

  12. i

    Enzo,

    Have you ever been to a maid cafe? I went once while i was in Japan just to say i did it. It was the most embarrassing thing i did while there. I'm totally not that type of person. I'm glad i went though because it makes a funny story.

    I never did challenge the onsen though. That would be too much. =P

  13. d

    No Onsen? Now this is interesting.

    Because you never got out of Tokyo? or are you just uncomfortable using shared water + being in the nude with strangers + the high chance of getting some strange disease from using the same shower materials with hundreds other people?

  14. i

    I don't like being naked in front of people i don't know. In fact, I don't like being naked in front of anyone at all. I've never done that kind of thing in the States and it would be even more awkward in Japan.

  15. I won't disagree, but somehow, once you're used to it the whole experience is remarkably relaxing. In a funny way, I don't think anything is more fundamental to understanding Japanese culture than understanding the appeal of the bath, and the communal nature is part of that.

  16. d

    Actually I find it alright as i'm in a different country. Its like strangers seeing strangers. I'll feel strange if i'm with friends though.
    And the towel can be used to cover yourself while entering and exiting the bath. And in the bath, the hot spring water is usually translucent or opaque so its fine.
    In the changing area just pretend you are in a hospital or in a communal swimming pool. (Do they have those in the states?)

  17. I

    Glad to know that you're settling okay in the guesthouse. I remember a while back a friend was sort of complaining that there were just too many stairs in Japan (and Tokyo specifically) when we were so used to elevators and escalators… Especially getting on/off at the train stations. Kaidan bakkari…!

    So, I composed a poem (LOL) to describe it:

    Heya ga semai
    Seikatsu-hi wa takai
    Kaidan wa nagai
    kedo kono omoide wa
    totemo arigatai

  18. A

    For some reason I giggled a bit to myself at your apt word choice of "Byzantine Tokyo address system" … especially because I always thought the Byzantines made a lot more sense to me than the postal system in the older cities of Japan. 😀

    – Flower

  19. l

    Sounds like you're settling in nicely and still excited about your surroundings. Instead of doing the touristy things, it's best to actively search for an apartment. Use that search to familiarise yourself with the transportation system and getting your bearings. Let your curiosity guide you by occasionally going off the usual track. You'll discover a lot more and maybe find a nice place to rent.

    By the way, how's the weather there? Asking because I'll be flying in to Tokyo later today and will be there for nearly a week.

  20. Warm! Mid 70 highs, lows in the lower 60s. Occasional bouts of rain.

    I'm actively searching. Looking at one tomorrow. I know the train system pretty well, buses not so much.

  21. l

    Just got in to my hotel room (the hotel is about 600m from Tokyo Station). Light drizzle now. About 19°C (or mid-to-low 60s F).

  22. Make sure you check out Maruzen in the Marounouchi Building across from the station. Fantastic manga section even by Japanese standards.

  23. l

    Just got back from a late dinner at a Yoshinaya outlet. Beef bowl + coleslaw set = JPY490. Cheap (in Tokyo, that is) and most satisfying. Checking Maruzen will have to be tomorrow night or Friday evening. Have to take care of work first during the day.

  24. M

    Enzo I know this is a bit too late (no internet connection lately) but congratulations on moving to Tokyo! Of course I will stick on reading your posts because you're the only other Miyu Irino fan that I know.

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