So my first week in Japan has been fun-filled with new events and new experiences. Despite the fact that it was my first time on a plane, my flight went by fairly easy and I can definitely say that I enjoyed it. Even though the flight was 14 hours, I found myself staying up for the whole ride! I was so busy watching movies and enjoying the view from my window, that I didn’t bother to sleep. Thankfully, the lack of sleep didn’t effect my ability to navigate my way through Narita Airport once we landed. Before the trip, my friend and I decided that we were going to stay at an Airbnb apartment, seeing that we had a late flight and it was going to be nearly impossible for us to check into our dorms before the check-in time. The place we stayed at was in Ikebukuro, and so we decided to take a bus from Narita Airport to Ikebukuro since we both had luggage. One thing I would suggest to those studying abroad, especially those studying abroad in a city: DON’T bring anything that you cannot carry by yourself. It’s difficult enough trying navigate your way in a foreign country. You will only make it worst on yourself by lugging around very heavy luggage, so packing light might be the best option.
Coming from New York City, I had initial thought that figuring out Tokyo’s train system would be a fairly simple task. I’ve been taking the train back home since I was in elementary school, and so traveling by train is something that I’m very familiar with. While I won’t say that Tokyo’s train system is very difficult understand, it is something that takes some work figuring out. Unlike NYC, Tokyo has several train companies that run on separate train lines. Furthermore, there is a difference between the train line and the subway line, so you have to figure out the specific train route from your dorm to whatever place you are going. But after a few days of traveling back and forth from your dorm to different parts of Tokyo, you’ll definitely get a hang of it.
The following day after we arrived, we had to make our way from the Airbnb apartment in Ikebukuro to our dorms using the train. In Tokyo, you buy your train ticket based on where you’re going, so the price varies from destination to destination. I had to put my Japanese skills to the test and ask someone how to order the tickets for the train, but people are super nice and are willing to help if you ask! We had to take the train from Ikebukoro to Shinjuku to meet up with another friend, so the ride was only one stop. I can definitely say that you can easily get lost in Shinjuku station. There are so many twists, turns, ups and downs, that you just kind of have wonder around a bit before you actually find your train. But eventually we made it to our dorms after walking around for a bit in Shinjuku. I was so tired that I wanted to take a nap, but my flat-mates in Izumi International House decided to invite me out to go shopping and so I decided to save my nap for later. I’m glad that I live with such cool people and I can’t wait to hangout with them more this semester.
This semester in Japan seems like its going to be really fun. I can’t wait to get out and explore Tokyo some more!