First Week in Japan (what was left of Tokyo, and a teeny glimpse of Komono)

I made it! I have survived in Japan for over a week! I am adulting!

I use that phrase with liberty, because I have yet to cook anything for myself, and today for dinner I had two pieces of bread and jam… So I guess I am not 100% adulting, but I DID buy rice and will be taking on my Japanese rice cooker soon. :)

Anyway! Let me wrap up my last two days in Tokyo, which were mostly just spent in orientation, and short little trips out.

I think pictures will sum it up much better!

Opening Ceremony for our Orientation! LOTS of people!
Cute little hotel toothpaste!
A street in Shinjuku, the area that our hotel was in.
Another shot of Shinjuku. Reminded me of Times Square. :)
My friend Caitlin buying a beverage from a vending machine. These are EVERYWHERE, it’s amazing. And when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. Sides of streets, parking lots, etc. It’s wonderful.
A restaurant where you basically chose what you want from this machine, grab your ticket, and sit down! Minimal human interaction! :D
Leora and I went out for conveyer belt sushi! :) And a nice stranger agreed to take our picture! He said he had been born in Japan, lived in America for years, and now moved back. So nice. :)
Leora and I checked out this crazy, 4 or 5 floor store with all kinds of things, from tiny craft trees to video games, to plushies. Super bright, lots of stuff happening! It was wild!
We even saw a little ramen cart pop up by our hotel!

So that is about it for Tokyo. We left for our placements last Wednesday (7/29), and took the Shinkansen or Bullet Train from Tokyo to Nagoya, where we then switched trains and headed down into Mie via local trains.

Gathering spot!
Shinjuku Station, one of the busiest train stations in the world! We had to navigate this station with our luggage in order to get to the Shinkansen.
Forgive me that this is off center, but apparently this is called Tokyo Banana, and it’s not a banana, but a pastry that people apparently love. Like a banana Twinkie. I was too overwhelmed to get one, but thought I’d throw this in here!
Bought my self a drink, wait for it…
And omg, look at that little drink sock – it came with the drink to prevent condensation!
Shinkansen in the background!
We were hungry so Pusheen and I grabbed a bite!
Transferred at Nagoya…
Then headed off on an uphill journey which caused me to sweat through my clothes.
FINALLY HERE! :)

So once we got there, we were met by our supervisors. Mine were very sweet and I think surprised by the huge luggage that I had brought. Driving from there to Komono was a little scary, and I had a lot of feelings. I think it was mostly anxiety, hoping that I would like my new home.The first time I saw the mountains, I was blown away. I thought I was going to cry. I have always dreamed of living near mountains, and dreamed of “going west” and following the sunset. It’s unbelievable to me now that I can watch the sun set over the mountains. And even though I originally thought it would be crazy awesome to cross them on my bike… the unknown of what is behind those mountains is kind of meaningful and magical and hopeful to me. Those of you who know me well know that I daydream a LOT (sometimes when you’re talking to me ahhhh!) and I have a very active imagination… and I used to write a lot of short stories and imagine up little worlds, and having the mountains there is a little bit like… they could be right there. Who KNOWS what is behind them? It’s similar to when I was a little kid, and would pretend every grove of trees extended into a forest. I was heartbroken one day when I started to bike ride further and further into my neighborhood and realized that the trees ended and condos sprung up on the other side. But anyway, I am going off on a tangent here.

I am happy I can see the mountains from my town, because they center me, and I hope that I will at least be able to get to the foot of the mountains to do some hiking and experience nature in Japan. :) Hopefully, whenever I start to feel frustrated, I can anchor myself by looking out at the mountains and reminding myself that they’ve been here for thousands of years and I can make it through whatever blip I’m dealing with.

That, and Frank Herbert’s Litany Against Fear from the book Dune:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Agata

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