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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pushing One Month Here!

So, in a few days I will have been here a full month (on the 7th). It really doesn't feel that much like I've been in an entirely different country for a whole month. I mean, Japan is just a country full of people doing their normal everyday things. Here in Tokyo the traditional Japanese culture really doesn't smack you in the face like it might were you in a smaller region/city of Japan. Tokyo is almost it's own special country inside of Japan. I'm really enjoying it though. I know enough Japanese to get by, so I haven't had a big issue with culture shock or anything. The issue for me will probably be reverse culture shock when I go back to Manhattan :P

Also, for those who were worried: I survived the typhoon just fine. And for those who didn't know: ... there was a typhoon that hit Japan over the weekend. Typhoon Chaba, I think it was called. It was a category 4 storm, but the part that went over Tokyo was just the very edge of it. Poor Okinawa though got smacked a bit hard. The coast of Honshu (the big main middle island of Japan) only saw a bunch of rain and wind from the edge of the storm. It really wasn't all the bad for me at least. Hell of an experience though, let me tell you. The wind ended up killing my umbrella and forcing me to walk home in the downpour from the station to my dorm (about 20 min if I'm walking quickly). I guess I could have taken the bus, but I would have had to backtrack a bit to get back to the bus stop... plus I'm a poor college student and didn't want to pay the 200 yen fare (about $2.50 ish). I looked like a drowned puppy when I got home, and the dorm manager was concerned. "What happened?! Why didn't you take an umbrella?! You're
going to get sick!" she seemed kinda pitying when I explained that the wind killed my poor umbrella.

I did a few nifty things this week with some friends. On Halloween me and my friend from my dorm went down to the area called Ikebukuro. It's sort of the the nerdy/geeky/anime area here, and it was lots of fun. We went to an 8 story anime/manga store with all sorts of outrageously awesome merchandise for so many animes. Some were familiar and are in the US, but many of them are only recently coming out in Japan or have never made it to the states, so it was pretty cool to be able to peruse the new things and see what I recognized. We also went to the Denny's (Yes, it's exactly the Denny's you're thinking of, with a Japanese twist) and here in Japan Denny's doesn't suck! It's sorta "meh" in the US, but the food was delicious here and was for the most part all Japanese food with a few standard exceptions like pancakes and stuff. I got a seasonal desert for the fall with caramel and a leaf on it that was pretty good. The amount of people in the area was a bit overwhelming though.

Last night I went on a spontaneous trip to Harajuku (the fashion and some shopping district) with a few Americans from school. The atmosphere there is just crazy, but super energizing and entertaining. We checked out some excellent clothes stores and I got myself some nifty earrings and a freaking awesome goth/J-Rock shirt from a used clothes store. Harajuku is also pretty much famous for its crepes, and they totally lived up to the hype. I ended up having a kiwi one with ice cream and whipped cream in it. The variety of them was insane, and there were like 4 crepe trucks right next to each other competing for business. It was a long day last night because we decided to go to Harajuku right after school was finished at about 4 pm which meant we were out most of the night. I got back to the dorm at about 11 pm, but it was worth it. We all did what's called "purikura" (short for "print club" in Japanese) which is the photo booths where you have strings of pictures taken and then the machine prints them out on sticker paper so you can stick them on things. I'm absolutely going back to Harajuku sometime, maybe next week :)


Alright, the first pic was taken in Ikebukuro when I was at Denny's overlooking the street below. The rest of the pics there were from Harajuku of my friends and me eating crepes, the crepe truck itself, and of the entrance to Takeshita-dori (the street we wandered down for shopping)


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