Woah, what’s this? A post just 5 days since the previous one? Nah, I don’t believe it. Well you should.
After a gruelling 11 hour flight with British Airways in which I watched Ex Machina and slept with the intent of fighting jet lag of all costs. My flight left at 1:30pm, Heathrow, and arrived at 9:30am in Tokyo Narita. I’ve heard that the best way to avoid jet lag was to get accustomed to the time zone you’re landing in as soon as you can. That was easy for me since I find the cramped conditions of aeroplanes impossible to be comfortable enough to remain lucid in. I just downed a few complimentary drinks and drifted off into some sort of sleep.
On arrival I marvelled at the fancy high-tech toilet and bought an overpriced data sim card that I couldn’t use because my phone was blocked. Catching a shuttle bus to Shinjuku, I met up with one of my hosts for my short stay in Tokyo (shout out to the Cutlers!) but was early so lugged my dying luggage noisily around, until I bought a prepaid phone with softbank – I have yet to top it up but I have an operating Japanese number. With my host, I went back and got changed. Leaving the UK I was all wrapped up in long black jeans and long sleeved shirt but was smacked in the face with late-summer humidity as soon as I landed in Tokyo. Dripping in sweat, I switched to shorts and a tank top, something I would regret.
Shinjuku would turn out to be the area I would pass through the most. It is one the biggest train stations in the world and there are so many people milling to and from it, the first night when I attempted to meet up with some friends here was a disaster and took hours. There is something awe-inspiring about it, the giant buildings and endless station. The huge screens showing idols performing outside of the Seibu-Shinjuku exit would gather crowds of people who would just watch until their set ended.
It’s a cool place. When I eventually did meet up with my friends we went out for drinks and wandered around night time Tokyo. Wasting a lot of money and blocking my card because I forgot to tell my bank I’d be abroad.
Shinjuku is also the location of Tokyo’s red light district apparently. I still don’t understand it. The station is huge and confusing. Tokyo is general is a strangely designed city and the few times I wandered around it alone I always ended up lost. A lot looks familiar but isn’t. All the konbini (convenience stores) are the same, and the roads aren’t parallel but perpendicular, and you think if you make a turn there or here you’ll get back to the place you came from but… no.
But I learned a few important things from my first few hours:
- Have cash. Few places take credit cards let alone debit cards. Even fewer take Visa.
- Do not arrange to meet up in Shinjuku station, you psychopath.
- Wear a bra. Nipples are invitations to creepy oji-san.
- Avoid the collection of Nigerian men near the red light district – they will harrass you and will not leave you alone.
- Get a data sim card – texts and calls are expensive and wifi hotspots are few and far between and convoluted to access. (And by proxy make sure your phone is unlocked).
- “____ wa doko desu ka?” is an important phrase to know (where is ____?) – however it is useless if you can’t speak Japanese and therefore understand the directions given.
I’m a bit tired and I have classes. So next time I’ll cover some more about my time in Tokyo and then going to my university all the way out in Kofu, Yamanashi and blahblahblahblogblogblogwooo!!!
[[All photos are property of me – gifs are property of the interwebs]]