14. October to 25. October
A month since I arrived here, and I am quite happy with my stay so far. Have gotten into kind of a routine with the language school and the karate training sessions, so the time really passes by quickly. Mainly weekends left to do other stuff.
Thursday 14.October - anata ni tanomanakereba yokatta!
Got up early to get my hair cut before lecture. Not a big deal you would say? Well for me it was, especially after looking up in the Lonely Planet's phrasebook on hairdressing: In total 4 sentences about the matter, one goes like the headline suggets, meaning something like " I should never have let you near me! However, I found a western style saloon, with an excellent service. The cut cost 5200 Yen, but I was so pleased that I payed gladly and did not even bother to claim student discount.
Friday 15. October – low bloodsugar
Went to a morning class (10:00AM) for a change (hardly get up by this time). It became lot tougher than expected, as I went there on an empty stomach and the practice itself was quite tough. Another lesson learned. I went to a Korean restaurant after the language course. I really love the food in this country! Korean tend to be a lot more spicy than the Japanese food however.
Saturday 16. October – e-l-e-c-t-r-o-c-u-t-i-o-n….
Did a bit of study, before I went to the first afternoon karate training session. After the practice, Fabrice (the French instructor) asked me to come along to a Furo (Japanese style bath). He told me that this one was for Japanese only, but people from the Karate was allowed to enter as well. Met Alexander (K-1 fighter and former Kyokushin) and his girlfriend who joined us. Men and women are separate. The Furo was really nice, part of it made with natural stone having running water over it. It had hot water tubs, massaging tubs for almost every parts of the body. Fabrice insisted that I tried one of the fairly calm, body tempered ones. It turned out that it had electricity in it. So now I know how it is to be electrocuted. Strange customs, or should I say pleasures in this country... Afterwards Fabrice and I went to a really good Indian restaurant that he knew about.
Sunday 17. October - earthquake
Went to a knitting conference in Roppongi hills (!) with Helena. Met some friends of hers - Cathy and Hans and Sasa.. During the conference I experienced an earthquake for the first time. It was supposedly around 4 on the Richters scale but was noticeable as if a train or subway passes near you. I don’t know where the epi-center was. It seemed as if I posses some talent in both knitting and crochér, maybe I have found a new way of living? Later we went walking to Hachiko (well known meeting place named after a dog who allegedly used to follow his master, a professor, to the train station everyday, and continued to so 10 more years after his master passed away until his death) and met Rob and Rune, and then the whole lot went to a karaoke place.
Friday 22. October – dining with my classmates
The class count has sort of stabilised now, and half of the class joined for some food. went out for a Out for dinner. Went out eating after class with some of the schoolmates; Bo from Thailand, Gerald from France, Edgar from Spain, Anna from Russia and Susanna from Peru
Saturday 23. October – Akihabara
I asked Helena if she would come along for a shopping spree in Akihabara, but as it turned out, she had already plans for the day. When I left the Akihabara JR platform, yellow signs indicating “Akihabara – the electronic town” started to appear. I spent most of the day wandering around in the shops. I wanted to get one of the electronic dictionaries where you can input Kanjis (quite useful to learn/practice Kanjis with) but it turned out that it was only Canons top model that had it. Containing lot of Chinese libraries, I dropped it for now.
I went into one of the gambling halls to have a look. This one was a proper hall, with 5 floors,
The most noisy games on the lower floors to the online PC-based gaming rooms in the top floor. Seems as some of these guys are really good, making them entertainers for groups of people. I saw this guy on a drumming machine who was really amazing.
My second scope was to get a mobile phone, as I picked up my Alien card on Friday. Not very successful here either, as the shops I went into only offers 1 or 2 years subscription contracts.
So as a comfort, I ended up buying myself a sleek, 5Mpix casio camera (half the thickness of my current one) along with a 1GB SD-ram card instead. The price? Turns out that the duty free shops were the most expensive ones, even with their Duty Free bargains. The shop I went into was not one of those. But it seems as if you mention duty free, they are willing to give discount (the competition seems quite high). I paid 40.000 Yen in total, around 7.000 for the card. And I have seen the camera alone advertised at 49.000, so it seemed to be a good buy.
Sunday 24 October – Tokyo EDO museum
Today we got a new flatmate – Zed from the USA. He has completed a law degree in the Netherlands, and decided to spend a couple of months in Japan.
Around noon Helena asked if I wanted to come along to the Tokyo EDO museum.We ended up being a group of 8 Japanese and 6 westerners. The museum was enormous, and it was quite interesting to watch all the Samurai related stuff. Amazing paintings. It is, for instance, hard to imagine the way they made books back the 16.th century – they actually carved the negatives out from wood down to an incredible level of detail, and then used this to imprint the books.
In addition, they had miniature models, also these incredibly detailed. The models on the pictures are less than 5cm in height.
Afterwards we went to a proper Japanese restaurant (the ones where you park the footwear outside the eating area, and you sort of sit on the floor, with the legs in a boxed space below) with some of the Japanese who accompagnied us in the museum - and ate, guess what - proper Japanese
food. Most of it was really good, but some of it a bit strange as well.