Anywhoodle, as we were making the descent into my new home for the next 3 months (still cannot get over this btw), I quite literally had my nose pressed against the glass and drank in all the nighttime city lights. I would have taken pictures, but my camera is an electronic device and if you have those on while you're in the air the plane explodes. Or something.
First off: Everything here is so...CLEAN. And bright...and really shiny.
So I was surprised at how easy the whole customs/immigration thing was. I literally filled out a form, showed them my passport and Visa (it was so cute, the immigration dude's face lit up when I told him that I would be here for 3 months), got my luggage, then walked away. There was this really cool body temperature measuring...thing that I guess was there to make sure that you weren't a walking bomb...? Or something? Noo idea.
So I walk to the reception-looking area, and see 3 peeps holding up a colorful AIESEC sign (yayyyyy!). They, of course, were all incredibly adorably dressed and were all smiles. At this point I'm still incredibly (how many times can I say incredibly...) awkward because I'm nervous about speaking Japanese in Japan. Does...that make any sense? No? Okay, I figured. But yeah, I was terrified at the prospect that these last 2 years studying Japanese at Northwestern was actually leading up to me in Japan, speaking the language. But at the same time, I got a little frustrated when they spoke English because I wanted to practice, dammit!
I did one very exciting thing, which was have my very first currency exchange, yay yay yay yayyyy. The exchange rate is...kind of ridiculous. 5,000 Yen is only about $50, which is all I had on me at the time (whooooooo.) Still, seeing 5,000 anything was kind of a shocker. Never held that much money in my hand EVER, even if its worth was entirely different. It was a little trippy to have Kenta (the dude that coordinated my internship, aka one of my very first friends in Japan yayyyy) look at all the bills in my hand and go "....that's it?" /FAIL.
So, one drawback about being in the very center of Tokyo; literally, in order to get anywhere, you have to navigate this ridiculously confusing train system. But for real though, if I hear anyone complain about the CTA, I'll smack them (jk but not really.) I think in the span of 30 minutes we transferred trains about 5 times, went down one escalator in one station to a train, went up an escalator at another station to get on ANOTHER train, went up an elevator, waited 10 minutes, got on another train only to go DOWN an elevator onto another train...the first Japanese I spoke to my little reception party was "もう一度電車に乗っていますか??" which means "We're riding a train again?" (at least in my head that's what I meant to say, but I probably butchered it in my nervous-ness. Fail.) to which they laughed and explained that, yeah. Tokyo's train system is rull dumb.
I did the really nerdy thing and started reading every sign I came across. It still blew my mind that I was able to understand some of it!
And so concludes post #2. Up next in #3; Holly meets the childrens / Marching bands in Japan?