Sunday, 28 October 2012

Tokyo Orientation + Crazy (awesome) Cat Lady

Here is a video of the lady I saw with a cat on her shoulder =)

 Anyway, cat ladies aside lets begin the story of how my life in Japan is going. We landed in Narita August 5th, leaving New Zealand which was about 10 degrees Celsius the jump into 35-40 (104 Fahrenheit) and around 100% humidity was quite a shock, not to mention carrying bags too.

 Everyone was naturally excited but unfortunately we didnt get through customs and into Tokyo city till after sunset, so we couldn't see too much of the city but were greeted with a great view of the lights from the hotel. Wellington in New Zealand while the capital is a very small city with around 400,000 people, Tokyo has over 12 million so the shear size of it was very daunting.

 The people from out group were lucky enough to stay in the Keio Plaza, which is located right in Shinjuku.

 It was a shame we only were able to stay in Tokyo for 3 days, since we were busy with the orientation we only had the evenings to explore the city.

 Something that I didn't expect to see was the amount of homeless in Shinjuku, but also that the homeless were quite clean and looked just like normal people with clean clothes, just living in cardboard boxes. Apparently some of them just crack under the pressure of city life and become homeless but their families will bring them things. One of the more interesting people had 10 cats living with him, which he was feeding at the time although understandably he did not want his photo taken.

 Probably my favorite part of the city was the architecture of some of the buildings and a mix of cute restaurants like the one above and the tall office buildings with amazing designs. 

 The above being the definite favorite.

 The fun thing about wandering aimlessly around a foreign city is you tend to stumble upon things you might not otherwise see if you were headed straight to some location, and during one of my nightly wanders I found something I had always wanted to see.

Cat Cafe!

 When we walked up to try and get in we were very disappointed to hear it was closing in a few minutes, but when one of the patrons left lots of the cats ran out to greet us. Even though we missed out that time I have seen been to one which ill talk about in more detail another time.

 Sadly our three day trip was coming to an end and we all split up to go to our home prefectures. So we boarded the bullet train (shinkansen) and speed across the country to Kyoto. But the adventure had only just begun...

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Still Alive

  Well well well, what do we have here? Holy it's been a long time, was just about 3 Months ago I made my last post. Now I will admit that when it comes to updates I a bit slack, in fact amazingly slack. However this time I have a good excuse! As you may remember I landed a job in Japan as an English teacher, and I simply haven't had a computer to actually post from.

Holy Tokyo!

Its been an amazing couple of months so far, in fact I have so much to write about that I'm going to have to take some time and write them in retrospect, so I guess this is sort of to be a bit of teaser while I sort out what I want to talk about first. Briefly Ill go over whats been happening I think then Ill go into details in following posts to be able to fully give justice to the experiences.

  Our trip begin in Tokyo, about a thousand people from around the world (although mostly America) came for orientation before heading out to designated prefectures. We were only there for a few days, never really having been to a super large city before it was quite over whelming, combined with jet lag and 35-40 degrees heat and 100% humidity it exhausting, but still amazing. 

New Home
 After leaving Tokyo our group headed to our prefecture, Shiga. So far it has been pretty good, its only 30 minutes by train from Kyoto as well =D. Admittedly I had never heard of this particular area of Japan, so I came here without any expectations which I think has allowed me to enjoy it all the more. Of course it helped that our first night in Shiga we were able to view the best fireworks festival of the year by the lake side.

I arrived in Japan with around 200,000 Yen ( around 2.5k USD ) and immediately had to pay 130,000 in just rent. My first pay check wouldn't for an entire month, and after factoring in money for trains and necessities I found myself with 50k (around 600USD) Yen left, however I literally had nothing in my apartment apart from a futon. With a lot of surprise costs showing up in the first month I was down to around 50 dollars the night before my first pay, so things were a bit tight for that first month. Although I still don't own any tables.
Cat Cafe
However I did have enough money to do some fairly unique things, such as going to a cat cafe! It literally a cafe where you have some coffee or cold drinks while pats walk around and you play with them and stuff.

Cats are naturally very popular over here, I even got a video of this woman who had a cat riding her shoulder while she was going for a bike ride.

Again I have been very brief and will go into more details soon, just after I decide how I want to format the content, if you guys want me to look into something specific while I'm over here let me know! Cheers.