A Traveling Scholar in a Distant Land

IMG_1684 IMG_1725 IMG_1701 IMG_1692 IMG_1658As of now, I have really adjusted with my accommodations as a whole. The bed is comfortable, though I need to buy a larger pillow, my room is compact, though if I use my space correctly it is easy to work with, the bathrooms are clean and the surrounding area is pleasant. All things considered, its what you would expect for the living quarters of a college student. I am able to sleep well, so no really complaints about my room. There is only one issue, which is the fact that the dryers here don`t really work well, so I have to hang dry my laundry, but I was prepared for that as it was the same way last time. Its actually a pretty cool dorm, if you go on the roof, where there are drying racks, you can see the surrounding area for quite a distance. It really has that Japanese adventure feel to it like out of an anime about how i`m a single pebble in the colossal mountain of Tokyo.

As well, the Cherry Blossoms are in bloom and everything is a nice bright pink, thousands of graceful petals float through the air as the cover the ground. It really is soothing to the soul, now I get why the Japanese love it so much. I went to Ueno park, Tokyo equivalent of Central park, to go see the Cherry Blossoms, it was cloudy, but that only made the blossoms bright color stand out even more fantastically. Turned out that I had the Japanese mindset down well, as thousands of other people from office workers to preschoolers were all over the park taking in the Cherry Blossoms. Got a lot of beautiful shots. The blossoms were also in full beauty in Shinkoiwa, at the local park and stream, so I went for some walks in the area. It is really nice just to take in all of it and realize that you are part of it. As well, I got Cherry Blossom Pepsi, seasonal of course, Sour-cherry flavored, to bring home for my best friend, also got one for myself, it was pretty tasty.

Though I usually just go to the 7-11, down the street in the immediate area around the dorm, I do feel like I am part of the neighborhood. You often see people walking their adorable dogs in the area or the neighboring the high school students either on their way to class or playing sports in their school`s courtyard. Despite just being a small corner store, the 7-11 here is stocked with a ton of things. Lots of meals, candy, drinks and at least 30 different magazines, usually weekly ones. It really is awesome that I can get whatever, I want here 24/7 with a 2 minute walk. It is peaceful here and I really like that about the area, though you can hear the trains passing by at night, when you are in the lobby here, still you get used to it after a few nights.

Usually for some reason everyone thinks that the Japaneses love sushi and eat it all the time, but truth be told its expensive here and sushi restaurants are a rarity outside of high-end areas. Though the Japanese do love fish, its noodles that are their favorite dish to eat, but of course rice is king throughout the East and Japan is no different. There are so many noodle dishes to eat, ramen, udon, soba, regular noodles, all served hot or cold depending on what you want. There are all other kinds of foods to get here like Japanese or Indian-styled Curry served normally with chicken and rice, though Nan, Middle-eastern flat bread, is another option if you are having Indian styled. Of course there are more distinctly Japanese foods to eat like Takoyaki, which is octopus served in little fried balls, Okonomiyaki. which is pretty much a giant meat and vegetable pancake, and Dango, which are round little dumplings on a stick, covered in sweet soy sauce because yes, the Japanese have even made a soy sauce for sweets.

Speaking of sweets, I have been eating a whole lot of different ones! Green tea flavored Kit-Kats, which are amazing, chocolate mushrooms, which are just reshaped pocky, and just regular chocolate, which is pretty good here. I have also been enjoying the different flavors of ice cream here like Japanese melon and green tea, the ice cream here as a whole is awesome, though it seems more like gelato, but i`m not complaining. The drinks here are also awesome, lemon seems to be a favorite of the Japaneses and fortunately myself as well, so I have had plenty of things to enjoy as a whole.

Despite all the eating, I have shed a couple of pounds, probably because of all the walking I have to do to get around. Of course, any day I have off, I go out and explore with my camera. There`s so many amazing things to do here and I seem to keep finding even more, so I will be off exploring even more ,when I get the chance!

Aaron is a History Major with the desire to see the world and learn as much as possible about it. He cannot wait to write about his adventures in Japan, making new friends, living in Tokyo and exploring both new & old Japan. This is Aaron’s second Study Abroad program to Japan through SUNY New Paltz!

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