Update on My Life in Japan!

So I’ve been living in Japan for more than a month now! So much has happened, but here’s my attempt at giving a quick rundown of all the amazing things I’ve been able to do so far. I’ll attempt to make detailed posts about some of them in the future :3

After the initial week in Tokyo, which I was able to blog about, we took the Shinkansen down to Kyoto, where we met with people from Kansai Gaidai, and took their bus to the school campus in Hirakata, Osaka. During orientation week we all lived in the Seminar Houses, which are around a 15-20 minute walk from campus. I was in Seminar House 3, and got to meet so many good friends because of it! My current close friend group consists of mostly people who lived in my suite during orientation. Some Japanese students live in the Seminar Houses as well, so I was able to make my first wonderful Japanese friend ^o^ (Many many more to come lol) But yea, my suite alone had people from Kenya and Iceland (my two roommates), Canada (Quebec), Norway, China, Vietnam, France, Japan, and America. Orientation itself was crazy hectic, but thanks to it I got to know the campus and surrounding areas well. We also went exploring almost every night and had a kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi) day, ramen day, pizza party day (pizza in Japan in delicious but SO expensive), and karaoke day.

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Tokyo Day 4: Akihabara, Harajuku, and Shibuya!

Update: Sorry for the complete lack of posts guys, didn’t have internet the first 2 weeks since moving to my homestay, and then was just overwhelmed with activities that I never got around to uploading! it’s crazy! Will try to update more, forgive me!

Today we left bright and early around 10:30 for Akihabara, the electric city! Holy molies, I have never in my life before seen such a large amount of manga, anime, cosplay, and game products concentrated in such a small area. It’s crazy. We randomly entered a shop thinking it was a small comic book shop only to spend over an hour in there once we found out it was 8 floors of all the manga and manga/anime products you could ever imagine. We also saw tons of girls dressed as maids in the streets, trying to get people to visit their maid cafes. Just maids alone, there were cat maids, gothic maids, kimono style maids, and etc. We went into an arcade also to realize it was floors upon floors of just games in all forms. Some were really high tech stuff I’m pretty sure don’t exist out of Japan. This one guy was pwning this 360 degree touch screen game that was like DDR on steroids but with your hands. Crazy! And we took purikura ^0^~

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For lunch I ate Akihabara’s famous Black Hotdog. The bun is black too! They use octopus ink to color it all black, but otherwise it tasted just like a normal yummy hotdog. Continue reading

Tokyo Day 3: Asakusa & Tokyo Sky Tree

Today, we met up with みどり, this past year’s awesome language intern at Colgate, at Asakusa! I was really excited to go to Asakusa because a lot of the traditional temples are there. The 雷門 (Kaminarimon) was a great sight, although the place was swarming with tourists (including us, haha). In fact, some TV people wanted to interview us, probably cause they saw were were a group of foreigners, but we didn’t have time so they left us alone. Past the 雷門 and leading up to せんそうじ were a whole bunch of food/souvenir shops selling traditional type goods. It was really lively!

kaminarimon streets full of traditional shops

statues in the gate

statues in the gate

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Tokyo Day 2: Imperial Palace, Shibuya, and Dinner with Alumni!

Japan is so freaking hot and humid. D: You would think being Taiwanese-American and having the experience of visiting Taiwan often would help a bit, but there is literally NO BARRIER against the inevitable sweat showers you get just from walking around outside. Ugh. Other than that, I am loving this country so far, and Tokyo has something new every day. Today we found out that all the bumpy tile lines traced around roads and subways are actually meant to help the blind navigate! Wow, I’ve never seen that kind of thoughtfulness anywhere else before. But yea, today we met with Maiko-san (our intern guide ^_^) once again and first went to Shibuya station and got ourselves Suica cards. Now we finally don’t need to buy one time use subway tickets for every ride. You can just fill up the card with 1500 or 2000円 and use the card until the money runs out. Then we headed to the Imperial Palace Gardens!

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Arrival + Tokyo: Day 1 (Heavy post!)

The adventures began before the adventure could even begin. That is to say, I arrived to the airport a happy, bushy tailed, excited, and hopeful young girl totally early and on time for her 2:15 pm plane. All fellow classmates arrived, and then – the flight was delayed to 6 pm. No problem, we’ll find stuff to do… And then it was delayed until 9 am the next day. Are you serious??? Sayonara expectations! We were all pretty pissed, that’s for sure. Well, long story short, the whole thing was a disorganized mess, and some classmates ended up staying over at my house since they traveled long distances to get to the airport.  They didn’t give us new boarding passes or even arrange hotel accommodations for most people. Well the next day we all got vouchers to buy stuff from the airport, and free chocolate to boot. The plane was also a newer comfier one as well. Guess they know how to satisfy the customer. Not complaining though cause I got a huge box of Godiva as おみやげ. After a grueling 13ish hour flight, 3 movies, and hours of trying and failing to sleep, at 11:30 am Japan time, we finally arrived at Narita!

about to land in Japan! Continue reading

Le Perigord

Went out last night with the family to Le Perigord to catch the last of NY Restaurant Week before I go. My mom wanted to eat French cuisine, so I made reservations. Le Cirque was completely booked up, but I still managed to get Le Perigord, so woohoo! The normal pricing for a meal at Le Perigord is pretty expensive, with one of the cheaper dinner options being their $65 appetizer and dessert buffet + an entree I think. However, their 3 course deal for Restaurant Week is $38 for an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Everything was drool worthy delicious!!! Here’s a glimpse of what I had: the vegetable tart, veal kidney with creamy wine rice, and floating island meringue with vanilla cream and strawberries.

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My Packing List :O

I’m finally done with Physics and now I can focus on preparing to go to Japan, which will be in 2 DAYS!!! Whaat?!? Thank goodness I made a packing list earlier on so I’m not running around thinking of what to pack. I thought I’ll share it for those of you who might need help packing for semesters abroad! This is only my general list, but  I also have several sub-lists for clothes, etc that are specific to things I have, so I won’t post that here. Also, these are just things I think I need, and might be helpful to bring! 🙂

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New Camera!

I’ve been wanting a nice camera to bring to Japan to take some awesome photos that are a step up from a basic point and shoot. And recently, my Dad and Sis took me to get an ILC (interchangeable lens camera) for my birthday gift this year! Yippeeeeee! I’ve always wanted a lens camera so this is like a mini dream come true. I chose the Nikon N1J3 in white, and its beautiful.

nikon n1j3

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3 More Weeks~

In exactly 3 weeks I will physically be in Japan. People keep asking me “Are you ready?” “Are you excited? Nervous?” and honestly I haven’t thought about it much. How it’ll be once I’m there that is. I guess I’ve been so busy with classes and other things that I haven’t been able to give it much thought and planning, besides writing the occasional post on this blog. Of course, I AM super excited/nervous, and it’ll probably increase as the days draw closer. So far, I’ve gone to pick up my Japan visa from the consulate a few days ago, which involved me walking in, picking up my visa, and walking out.

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Getting My Visa and Speaking Partner!

Some updates on what I’ve been up to recently: I finally received my Certificate of Eligibility last week from Kansai Gaidai, which is a relief. I was starting to think there might have been a problem! It also came with some info about what I can’t bring into Japan and a campus map. Was super excited about the map booklet until I opened it and everything was in kanji and katakana. Gack! Good thing maps can be figured out by the pictures.

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