I’ve finally arrived. In Japan. I don’t know if culture shock is contagious, but it must be, because I’ve culture shocked every Japanese person I’ve come across. It’s a weird feeling to know for a fact that you are drawing the gazes of everyone around you. I even heard some people coming off the plane saying “Dekai!” which means “huge” or “big” essentially (I’m translating loosely, I’m sure someone on the world wide interwebs will comment and tell me if I’m wrong). He even made a guess to my name, he thought my name was “Frank”, I guess a typical American/Big Person/Black person name? I resisted the urge to turn around and correct him. I figured I should get used to it. Plus, it’s kind of nice to be able to pick up on conversations about you when people don’t know you understand what they’re talking about.
My first day in the country was quite an eventful one. After getting off the plane, I got my heavy bags mailed to my dorm for around $35, which I thought was amazing, considering it was quite far. I met up with some people from the college I’ll be going to (Sophia Univeristy), and had some of my first conversations with actual Japanese people. I don’t know why people make a big deal about communicating with people in other languages, it was actually kind of fun figuring out how to say what I want to say, and then saying it, and making sure I was understood correctly. Unfortunately, despite promising myself I was going to study numerous times this summer, the only studying I did amounted to reading the notebook from the FIRST Japanese class I took… Needless to say, I should study some more later…
After that, we took multiple train transfers, and a bus, and got to my train, finally. It turns out the Japanese concept of space must be different than the US… Because evidently, two locations that are 50 minutes away from each other by train are still considered to be in the same city (Tokyo). That can’t be normal. I also learned the hard way that everything looks close on a map, yet reality is much more tiring.
Later that night, I went on my first Japanese adventure, finding the convenience store. I had a map, some money, and long strides on my side. Despite all that, I got lost pretty quick. Turns out I was reading the map wrong (not to get into too much specifics, but I’m not a bad navigator, I just misunderstood that the exit point to my dorm wasn’t as it was marked on the map…). However, I found the convenience store eventually, and got some snacks, drinks, and made some copies (yeah, convenience stores in japan have copy machines… go figure.). Then on my way back, I promptly got lost.
I’m really not a bad navigator. What I did was try to engineer a new route back home from where I was… I guess it was a little too early for me to be making shortcuts. Either way, I found my way back, and plopped down on my bed to sleep.
Well, that’s it for the first day in Japan. This post is a little retroactive (I guess that’s what I’ll call it, this post was made 1 day or more after the fact), I can say that the next post should be pretty entertaining… I took a trip with some new friends to the Tokyo Game Show. Being my first time to a game show, I was taken aback by the sheer number of things they had to do and see there, as well as the sea of heads (some pictures I took will illustrate this more). Look forward to it!