How to begin. Well, packing was pretty tough. I ended up with 1 big suitcase, a medium one, and 2 backpacks stuffed with stuff. Stuffed with stuff. Beth will like that one. When I unpacked everything I was like omg, what was I thinking? You know how many skirts I packed? Well, maybe I'll end up needing them all at one time for some reason.
Anyways, I really didn't know how to feel about coming to Japan. I had recently decided I wanted to become a personal trainer and going to Japan didn't really fit that path. Then, I also recently had taken on eating mainly Paleo whenever I could and knew that a lot of the food here didn't follow that kind of diet (Eating out, that is. Cooking my meals makes it easy and less expensive. SCORE.)
I've never been on my own like this. Sure, I lived by myself in Milwaukee, but home wasn't far away. I could always call home or get a ride back if I ever needed to. Being 12-ish hours apart makes it kind of hard for that.
Anyways, the plane ride went well. Grant, the knight that he is, picked me up and took me to the airport at 5 in the morning. It was really hard to say goodbye to him. I could go on and on but I'll save the sappy stuff for my own journal and spare you.
Evan found me and then we were off on the plane to Dallas. *shruggies* The ride was fine. We didn't have much time until our flight to Japan. Our flight consisted of mainly Japanese people and the plane ride itself had Japanese signs and the overhead announcements spoke both Japanese and English. The plane wasn't full and I was sitting in the middle, the row to myself. Then, one of the flight attendants asked if I wanted to sit by the window and so I got to have 2 seats to myself and sat by the window XD. Sweet deal, mannn.
I spent most of the time just kind of sitting. The TV didn't work on the seat. Aw, I couldn't watch Men in Black 3 or The Lucky One with Zac Efron. Biggest loss ever. lololol. Listened to music here and there, slept a little, read a little, studied a little. I tried watching Stella that Grant gave me on a flashdrive, but forgot to install the VLC player >__<. Doh.
Yeah, so the food. I ate all the foods I never thought I would again. Some cracker pretzel salty mix, Milano cookies, some Snickerdoodle cookie (mmm, hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors), a kit-kat, some cresent roll ham sandwich, these lean cuisine-like meals. It was like survivor. You ate what they gave you. I felt like an experiment. They put down food in front of you and you eat it. One of the cool things, was that they gave you 2 pieces of sushi. They were really not sushi-like. lol, halp.
So after 14 hours of plane ride, we get our first glimpse of Japan.
When we get off the plane, some serious humidity hits us. The airport was so strange, because we were walking around and there were hardly any people in it. Luckily, some flight attendants help us find where to go. We find where everyone went, in a line to get residence cards. They would take my picture after 15 hours of flying. Mother of pearl. At least they used the picture on my Certificate of Eligibility. Anyways! Here's what we see after we get our card:
So I shouldn't have brought so much luggage. My suitcase kept falling over and I was lugging around all 4. THAT WAS STUPID, KAT. AT LEAST YOU HAVE ALL THESE COOL OUTFITS, KAT. The forever battle in my brain. I felt bad for Evan who had to wait for me. But he didn't seem to mind. We go and exchange some dollah billz for yen =]. AwwwWwW yeaAaHHHh. It's weird looking at a dollar bill and being like THIS MEANS NOTHING.
Then I'm supposed to make a phone call to Asato san that we arrived. My first Japanese conversation here. But she began to speak English to me in response, so I was like oh. haha.
We go buy our tickets for the bus that takes us from the airport to the train station. It was a 2 hour bus ride, but it didn't seem that long because we got to see some of Japan. THERE'S FOREVER 21 AND ZARA HERE?! And there were about 3 ferris wheels we passed along the way. The tallest ones I've ever seen.
Evan and I arrive at the train station at about 5:30 p.m. So that would be 2:30 a.m. back home. I'M SUPPOSED TO BE A SLEEPYBEAR. It's kinda like a dull tired that you ignore. Evan and I live in different places, so we have to separate here. He helped me find the train that I needed to take though. Then, there's trying to figure out what happens after you buy your ticket. Have you ever seen a train map? IT'S KINDA CONFUSING. What are all these pretty colored lines?
So yeah. I don't even know what to do with my ticket. All these people are passing through the ticket booth and I'm standing there like wut. Then I ask this 12-year old-ish boy for help. He speaks 0 English. So I try to communicate in Japanese the best I could and he showed me that you put the ticket in the machine and then it pops out the other side. MAGIC!
So I'm like...what now...I've reached the other side! So the boy points the right way to go and I go downstairs. Okay, so the sign says I can take 3 trains. Which...which way am I supposed to go? So, I ask a man next to me in Japanese...and he understands! We speak in half Japanese and half English. He tells me which train I need to take and which stop to get off at. He told me his English was bad and he doesn't have much practice with it. It was ridiculous, because his English was perfectly understandable. That's something about Japan. A lot of Japanese people who say they don't know English, are actually really good. When the train doors close, I see that the 12-year-old boy who helped me is there and looking at me. I wave and he waves back. It looked like he followed me to make sure I got on the train okay. XD Or he was just getting on the next train and it was total coincidence he was there. lololol.
So I get off my stop and call Asato san again. She says she'll meet me at Starbuck's, oooOoOo there's a Starbuck's. I ask a person where Starbuck's is in Japanese. AwwWww yeah, practicing Japanese. Even though that's like level 1 Japanese...but still!
She meets me there soon after and told me they were expecting me yesterday. I'm not sure what happened 'cause I thought I sent them the correct itinerary. Oh wells! But anyways, we walk to the house I'm staying at and she shows me my room. The kitchen is pretty ballin'. A lot bigger than I thought. The room has everything and more. A lot more. Basics like pots, pans, utensils, bowls, refrigerator, stove, washer/dryer, dressers, etc. but then there's also a guitar, keyboard, some creepy reggae stuffed animal man that is playing the bongo, a toaster, rice cooker, water heater for tea, flat-screen TV. What is all of this?! Apparently, past students all leave things they can't take with them behind. Sweet deal, man. I can't believe all of this stuff.
Of course I forgot to take off my shoes at the door, which Asato san had to remind me of. Whoops. I still forget here and there.
I went to the local supermarket and grabbed a few essentials and some foodies.
Moving on, the night was kinda rough. I couldn't contact my family or Grant and I was like "What. Am I doing here?" I waited for my neighbor to come back because she left a note saying that she would show me how to use the air conditioner and Asato san said I could probably use her internet to contact my family. She didn't come in by 11:30 so I unpacked and went to sleep after trying my phone and the phone here to call home a bunch of times, listening to the cicadas chirp. There was also a thunderstorm, which was comforting. Also, Maywynd was with me and she was a huge comfort. (To those of you who don't know who Maywynd is, you should. lololol, kidding...she's the Blythe doll Lauren customized for me for my birthday. I'll post a picture sometime.)
It gets happier from here, I swear. XD
The next day, Evan and I had discussed meeting at Seijo at 3. First, I walked around looking for Wi-Fi and found a Starbucks. You need an account to use the wi-fi and then once you set it up, you have to confirm your email. Yeah. Yeah, I couldn't do that. lol. I went back to the house and luckily my neighbor, Kirsty, was home and let me use her internet and I was able to email some loved ones (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, you lucky people).
So that was awesome. Then, Asato san and the internet guys came by y to install my internet, but apparently THIS MAC IS TOO COOL FOR AN ETHERNET CHORD. That's what I get for getting the Retina. lolol. And so I've been using Kirsty's (She's so nice. And from London! omgz, accent). Then, Asato san and one of the Chinese guys downstairs, Yu san, and I went to go to the Municipal Office and bank to get things settled. Yu san speaks fluent Japanese and says he's not good at English. He is good. So, I try to speak Japanese to him and he tries to speak English to me. I feel so bad for these people who have to be so patient with me, haha. I met up with Evan closer to 4 'cause he got lost. That sounds so familiar. I still get lost going home.
He hadn't eaten all day, so we went to McDonald's and sat down. We also found a mall right by the train station. He needed to use the internet, so we came back to my place and then Kirsty knocked on the door. We had discussed earlier about going to Shibuya together to meet up with her sister and she came by to ask if we wanted to come. Bam, 2 minutes later, we were on our way to Shibuya.
To the train station! I learned how to do the Fare Adjustment thing if you accidentally buy the wrong ticket. What a handy little machine. Japanese trains and buses are so funny. Everyone is quiet and all looking at their cell phones. Evan and I realized we'd become the loudest in these places, when we'd probably be considered the most quiet in Milwaukee. And they are really crowded. But it's silent, so it's kind of a cool atmosphere, really.
Shibuya is crazy. It's so crowded. It's the city with the famous walkway with all those people crossing.
Well, not a great picture. These are all taken on my ipod. It's been...the most helpful tool ever. Especially when trying to figure out how to use the washer and dryer, translating the kanji.
That's the only picture I took of the outside in Shibuya, sadly. SO FAR.
But here are some Dunnies and other Vinyls I thought Lauren would like:
We went to a few shops and I finally got to try a UFO catcher! I didn't win and only tried once, since it's 100 yen a play. Woof, but the prizes are awesome. We passed a ton of places to eat, Karaoke places, shoe stores (omg, creepers, Beth), 5 story Forever 21's and H&M's (with huge Lana Del Rey posters, ughhh. So awesome.) We went into a store that looked like Spencer's when you first walk in, but then it turns into a beauty supplies store and then a food store, and then there were 4 other stories we didn't explore in it yet. There's still so much to see there, but it was getting late and we didn't have time to see it all.) Kirsty's sister was really helpful with telling us about the place. She works here and has for I think 3 years, teaching English to Japanese students. Apparently, they call Baskin Robbins "31".
Everyone is dressed so cool too. The guys all look like j-rockers. The girls all look like gorgeous porcelain dolls. And then you're like omg, i'm so gross and sweaty and greasy. It's all great though. ^___^
I came home and got to Skype with Grant =]. It was. of the happiest moments. Here is his nose:
It's really his nose.
So yeah! This morning I explored some more. I went back to the mall to check out the bookstore and music store. I also found this stationary place and a sweets store.
Oh, and flowers that I wish I could send to MoMo. Huge Orchids!
Oh, I found this at the music store for you guys:
Oh, and many of the streets by my place have room for only 1 car. Lots of bikers, walkers all the time. There's also always someone sweeping. The garbage system is pretty interesting too. More on that later. The streets are so quiet and peaceful here.
I'm going to go meet up with Evan at school and I have no idea what we'll be up to.