Skip to main content

Home Sweet Home

So I've made it to Japan and, more importantly, to my new apartment!

I was picked up at the airport by a Nitori representative and she help me with my luggage (which was a lifesaver since I had three bags) as she took me to get my apartment key and then to the apartment itself.

Here is my apartment building, run by Leopalace; I'm on the second floor.

Here's the view from my window at 4am, overlooking a small farm-garden thing.

The apartment, at 26.08 square meters (the .08 is important!), doesn't feel terribly small for one person. I actually have what I could call rooms--or at least designated areas for different things.

I have one main room, which has my bed and table in it. I'm sleeping on a futon (which Nitori kindly provided me) on a lofted frame, underneath which is a huge empty space for storage. I also have a closet that's bigger than what I ever got at Yale.

The other half of the room is my table, chairs, and TV/TV stand. As you can see I've already started "decorating" with the limited number of flat and light items I brought from home.

Then I have my kitchen area, which has a decent-sized fridge/freezer, a microwave, a small sink, and a stovetop with two burners on it. Nitori also gave me two pots, some utensils, and some plates to start me off so once I go get some kitchen basics (EVOO, salt, pepper, butter, pasta, bread, and sliced cheese) at minimum I won't starve. It's tomato season though and I found a yummy-looking tomato pasta recipe on the New York Times cooking site so maybe I'll try that and see how it goes.

Lastly I have a bathroom and washing machine (this is only the shower/tub, the toilet is in its own room through the brown door to the right of the sink). I couldn't get the washing machine to work at first, but after calling the Leopalace help line I eventually figured out I was supposed to turn a small, unlabeled, grey valve on the floor NEXT to the washing machine to allow it access to the water supply. Go figure.

I haven't done much these first two days. I went to open a bank account with my local post office and register my address officially with the nearest ward office. I also bought some useful things like dish soap, shampoo, detergent, toilet paper/ paper towels/ tissues, a thing to clip my clothes to while they dry outside, and some breakfast foods to tide me over for the first few days. My list of things to do is pretty hefty--figure out how to pay my utility bills, a phone plan, internet, the local system for dividing up your garbage and recycling (this is WAY more serious than it sounds, people) and prepping for my job orientation and training period, which start on the 30th.

I did take some time to walk around the neighborhood, however, which is charming and residential. There's a park nearby where people were jogging, playing with their kids, and walking their dogs. There's also a Literature Museum which I'll have to check out at some point. I found a variety of Italian restaurants, a cafe, a specialty coffee bean shop (!!), a bakery, a cake shop, and a Taiwanese restaurant--and that was only walking in one direction, so it seems this area has plenty to offer. Not many weird stares from people yet, but I'm the only foreigner I've seen thus far in this part of the city, not that this surprises me.

Look for more updates in the days to come as I (hopefully) settle in more, get over my jet-lag, meet up with some friends, and even attend a Yale BBQ!


Popular posts from this blog

Final Touring Excursions

Tomorrow is my last day. It felt strange to write that sentence, knowing that I've been gone six weeks, which feels like both no time at all but also forever. Even though this is my fifth time coming to Japan (and the fourth for an protracted trip), the coming-and-going is something I don't get used to. Just as I start getting over my "ugh, I just want to go home" hump and settling in, well, it actually IS time to go home.

What have I done the past few days?

Well, on Sunday my host family and I took a drive to Yamanashi prefecture (re: near Mount Fuji) to visit the Oshino Hakkai, the Eight Sacred Ponds of Oshino. According to the signage, when people used to hike up Mount Fuji for pilgrimages, they would purify themselves in the ponds before starting their journey. And having stuck my hand in an (acceptable) corner of the main pond, Wakuike, it was FREEZING. Some other ponds have specific purposes, however. One was for people who wanted a good marriage, for instance.

Cat Cafe

Today I went with my host brother to a cat cafe for "research". Yes it is a cafe and yes it has (canned) coffee, but also I really really really wanted to go to a cat cafe. By doing a little research, I found one off a convenient train station that not only didn't require a reservation in advance, but had free drinks and was actually significantly less expensive for more time than other cafes. On to Nyankoto!

For cat lovers, this is paradise:

This shop had fifteen cats, each with their own names and personality described in a photo book:

This cat's name is Kinta and he's a mix--though most of the cats there were breeds I was unfamiliar with and had fur of various kinks and degrees of fluffiness. 
They were all very social, active cats as well.

Kinta greeted my host brother by literally jumping on his back. 
The other cats often ran around chasing each other (one was a very energetic kitten, so he was always pouncing on the others) or flopping down to be pet in co…

Shibuya and Ebisu

The past few days I've been in the Shibuya and Ebisu areas (think: south-west side of Tokyo) to check out some of the up-and-coming cafes, as well as wander around the neighborhood. I've decided that wherever I go, I'm going to find something to do in addition to spending 3-5 hours in coffee shops--while the research and the people I meet are incredible I do regret that I don't get to spend as much time exploring the other aspects of Tokyo. 
Yesterday in Shibuya I checked out The Local Coffee Stand, Coffeehouse Nishiya, and The Theater Coffee. The Local is a pretty unassuming space, even though it is on a main street. It's goal is to be the sort of jumping-off point for people just getting in to specialty coffee: they showcase beans from local roaster and run a website called "Good Coffee" in both Japanese and English to help people find "that local spot" in a neighborhood near to them. I'm including a link to the site, HERE. CLICK THIS.