Five first day observations in Japan:
- People really don’t jay walk across roads. Unless they’re foreign. The only two instances of jay walking I’ve seen today were both committed by white people
- Japan is not crowded unless you’re in Tokyo or Osaka. I was travelling on the subway at peak hour, and I managed to score a seat, despite the obviously roaring crowds pushing and shoving their way onto the train.
- Traffic lights in Japan sound a tune or a rhythm of sounds for blind people when they turn green.
- For all its advanced technology and such, Japan really has no wifi or Internet anywhere.
- All stores and department stores seem to have loyalty cards for points. At every place I’ve been to today, I’ve been asked everywhere if I had a card. (answer: mottenaidesu 持ってないです [I don’t have one]).
At the moment, I have no wifi at the dorms or Internet of my own to connect to, and so I’m writing this on a Word document… by the time I’ve actually posted this, I would have already been in Japan for a few days at least.
But whatever. Posts are posts, belatedly or no hahaha
Regardless of my Internet situation, I’m not as excited as I thought I was. Breathing that first breath of Japanese air, feeling the blast of refreshingly chilly wind from the still-cold weather as I stepped out of the plane, seeing the mountains that look like any other mountains but different… those did make me excited, and I caught myself grinning and getting slightly emotional (no single tear happened, unfortunately. Would’ve made for a good story. ‘That time, when a single tear was shed as I stepped off the plane into Japan for the first time…’).
But once that was over, and the mundane reality of going through Immigration and Customs and Baggage Claim took over, my excitement kind of got killed off. Even when I found out that because I’m special part of the International program and not some other thing, I got a personal taxi ride to the dorms, and the taxi driver and I had a successful, albeit slightly broken and stilted, conversation in Japanese, nothing really made me go OMGSH I’M ACTUALLY IN JAPAN I’MA GO PEE MY PANTS IN EXCITEMENT NOW.
I mean, meeting my ‘tutor’, or ‘buddy’ and having her help me navigate restaurants, shopping centres, cafés, the subway system, and the streets surrounding my dorm was pretty amazing (her name is Haruna, she studied in New Jersey, U.S.A during her middle and high school years and so has an American-Japanese accent, she does Education and is super nice), having one of the senior JTW students come down and introduce himself and welcome me and give me ice-cream was heart-warming, but still… at the moment, Japan is feeling just like any other Asian country, just with cleaner roads and super polite people.
Doesn’t help that I still feel a bit nauseous from the plane ride (CURSE YOU, TRAVEL SICKNESS) and unpacking is a massive chore that I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy.
Maybe once I get to know more people and I really get into the swing of studies and exchange life, the excitement will start building and I’ll be like, ‘I’m so amazed I’m actually here and I’m so blessed and thankful and yay’.
But for now, I’ll just quietly go through the days, enjoying the stillness and peace, slowly getting to know everyone, and keep observing, so that I can start writing posts about life in Japan to prepare for all the nugus who want to come hahaha.