Adventures in Tokyo

こんばんは !

I have been in Japan for more than a moth now and I really can’t believe how fast time flies. I doesn’t feel like that long at all. I am still so excited and fascinated by everything. Sometimes I still wake up in the mornings, unsure if I am really here or if it was just my imagination and every time I realise that I actually am I get this really satisfied feeling in my mind.

I am slowly getting back into my school routines again and it feels good. However there is so much that I want to do all the time that it occasionally is hard to focus on the studies. I want to explore and be with my friends and not sit still more than I really have to. It’s hard to find a good balance between pleasure and ”work” but I am getting there. And I actually like studying most of the time. I really enjoy to finally learn this really cool japanese language but it requires a lot of hard work and I often feel very lost and confused during the lectures but when I give myself some time to really grasp it and let it all sink in I get better. 🙂

So what have I been doing during these past two weeks?

I have been to a french cooking class with Paloma at the French institute here in Tokyo which was really fun. It was only a one our class so we didn’t have time to make any warm food but what we did make was a very delicious aioli and a some french mix of cheese and sardines and french herds. Can’t remember the name..

We had a great evening together and have become really good friends.
The aioli was so good that we ate it all very quickly and then felt a bit sick because of  all the garlic and olive oil and not much regular food. But we were happy anyway. 🙂

I have also had time to visit a few restaurants with my friends. The other day I had a salmon teriyaki at a place here in Komaba only ten minutes walk from the lodge and it was so good! Yummie! And on friday we went to an other place in Shimokitazawa called Shirube. We were 8 people sharing different dishes and it was also amazing! I love the food here. It feels so healthy and it tastes so good. 😀 I am also making new japanese friends all the time which is so great! Sharing cultures and hanging out with locals is the perfect way of getting to know this city.

The restaurant in Komaba, very close to the campus.
I love eating out. ❤

 

Shirube restaurant.
Thank you Vincent for finding this place!

On this previous saturday many of us UStep students participated in this day trip to Asakusa and Ueno here in Tokyo arranged by the university for us international students with local students as guides. It was great! We started the day with a cruise on the river that took us to Asakusa where we split up in smaller groups and walked around the are and had lunch together. We walked to Tokyo Skytree which is the tallest tower and the second tallest structure in the world with its 634 meters. It was so misty in the morning so we couldn’t even see the top of the tower but it was still really cool to be there next to it and to stand right under it. After lunch we went to the Sensoji Temple. It was very touristic and a lot of people but I still liked it a lot.
Then we ended our day in Uneo Park were we finally met up with the other groups and went to a museum. It was a good day! Thanks everyone who made it great! 🙂

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On our way to the meeting point and river cruising.

 

Tokyo Skytree

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Great group of people I must say!
And I had dessert for lunch. A vegan chocolate cake made of tofu ice cream made of soy milk. All organic. Very delicious!

Sensoji temple and market place.
And yes they had great Mochies (do not know the spelling of that..)! Japanese sweets are sometimes very strange and other times just perfect.. 🙂

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Masaya-san teching us the purification ritual before entering the temple.

The ice creams and burger im holding are plastic food. They have shops only for that kind of stuff here. So weird and so interesting and funny.. 🙂

On monday it was a national holiday here in Japan so we had no school and Paloma and I went to a latino bar/club called El Cafe Latino in Roppongi where they held a very basic salsa lesson in the beginning of the evening (which was the main reason we went there). It turned out the so fun! After the class we had one amazing drink each before we started to dance and we kept going the whole night. We only stopped for the dance shows that were held on lower floor. It was amazing. When we finally went home way too late our feet and knees hurt. But we had a great time together! 😀

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I want to learn!

 

That’s it for now.
On friday I have my first japanese test so this week I am mostly studying. Now it is time to sleep.

おやすみなさい

 

 

Happy Birthday

Hi all,

So I have been really bad at updating my blog this week. I have realised that now that I’m back in school again and my everyday life here in Japan has really started I won’t have as much time to blog as I would like. The studies take up a lot of time and when I’m not in school or in the library doing my homework I’m usually cooking or hanging with my friends.

Anyway, I will make a proper post someday during this weekend. 

Now I just want to pay some attention to two very important men in my life.

My grandfather’s birthday was yesterday on the 5th of october and my baby brother’s is today on the 6th.

So I wish the both of them a happy birthday! ❤🎂🎁🎈

My grandfather is not with us anymore and I miss him everyday but I carry him with me in my heart always. 

My baby brother, however, is a young man now and not so small anymore. 23 years old today. I am very proud of you Lillebror! 

Love you both with all I’ve got❤

My cute and handsome baby brother 😁👌 You are the best! My life became so much richer the day you entered it. Can’t imagine it without you.❤

Me and my grandfather. We were the best friends from day one. How I miss you. My biggest inspiration in life and the greatest tutor. Thanks for teaching me to love learning. Thanks for all those nights we stayed up watching the stars together, from the roof and from the porch and from the big empty fields were no street lights could disturb. Thanks for everything. ❤ 
Two great human beings.. The world needs more men like you. ❤
Good night from Tokyo.

おやすみなさい 

Back To School

Greetings!

How are you doing people?
It’s been a few days.

The past weekend was actually quite calm. I didn’t go out on any bigger adventures, but stayed in Tokyo and slept long in the morning instead, washed all my clothes, cleaned and all those necessary things you have to do every now and then.

However on saturday night we decided (very spontaneously) to attend an international party in Shibuya. Someone had found the event on Facebook. Seemed a bit suspicious but we were all curious so Paloma, Vincent, Andrey, Luke, Henry and I jumped on our bikes and went to Shibuya. All of my friends here eat soooo late in the evening so of course we went to a restaurant first.

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Happy boys waiting for Pizza. From the left we have Andrey, Henry, Luke and Vincent. 🙂

I asked Vincent to take a picture of me and Paloma and this is the result… He is clearly not to be trusted with a camera. Last time he took a selfie instead and now this.. I think I have to find another photographer, haha! ^^’

We had a good time anyway but when we were finished we were rather late since the event only should last between 8-11.15 pm. We decided to go anyway and just check it out. But Andrey and I got left behind by a red light on a gigantic street somewhere in Shibuya so we got kind of lost and it took us some time find the others and when we did they had already checked it out and said it was quite bad so in the end Paloma, Andrey and I went to buy wine and chocolate and went home to see a film instead while the other boys went to a fight club. So all in all it was a good night anyway. 🙂

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Clear message in Mega Don Quijote in Shibuya…

On sunday I did some studies and in the evening Paloma, Vincent, Andrey and I went to explore Meguro city (a district in Tokyo) which is only a few minutes away by bike. It is a very nice and modern area with a lot of architecture and nice cafés and shops every where. Paloma and I found a place where they make organic and freshly pressed juices and decided to make a one day detox some day ahead. We also decided to visit a korean restaurant in the area on friday night after classes. Looking forward to that! 🙂

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Japanese homework

A rather long walk along the river (which is so clean!) in Meguro.

And now it has all began for real! I’ve had my first classes at the University which was so exciting! Yesterday I only had one class so it was a nice and easy start. Even so I fell asleep when I came back home and was supposed to study.. But I think I really needed it so it’s okay. Then I went to the supermarket in Shimokitazawa and refilled my fridge since I’m planning on eating mostly home-made food this week. When I came back I was in a hurry to cook since I was going to a Karate class held here at the lodge (it’s so convenient!) with Paloma. Since it needed to be quick I made a really good omelette à la Lithuanian style (thanks for the recipe Audrius!). It actually turned out delicious!

I’m definitely going to do this more often! The tofu and all the fresh veggies made it so tasty and the perfect light meal before training.

The Karate session was actually very fun! I had my doubts when I entered the room but it’s stupid to judge before you try so I’m happy I gave it a chance. Of course it is not the same as Kung-fu which I used to do some years back and I really miss it a lot but it was still fun and nice to some martial arts again. And since I wasn’t too bad at it I will probably go next time as well! Unfortunately I have no pictures but just imagine lots of people in white karate outfits with belts in different colours and three very serious black belt japanese senseis… 🙂

Today I began my first class at 8.25 am and ended my last one at 8.15 pm if I count the evening course I take in Japanese here at the lodge. One of my classes was however cancelled which gave me some extra time in the afternoon but it has still been a really long day and I am very tired but happy right now. I love my japanese classes! It’s going to be so much fun learning this amazing language. And the other courses I have tried so far seems interesting to so I am really going to enjoy this semester even if it’s going to be a lot of work. 🙂

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The entrance to Komaba Campus early this morning.

Now that the new semester and classes have really began for everyone it is so much people everywhere. So many students. I am so excited!!

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I am definitely going to eat mostly home-made food this week as I mentioned earlier but I just had to try out the cafeteria at campus today and it was amazing! And cheap! So if I don’t feel like cooking one week it will still be economically okay to buy food in school which is great! 😀

Now I will be a good student for a few more hours and then go to bed early tonight! (I am aware I say that every day…)

Snapchat-160592158Have a nice evening (or day) wherever you are.

See you soon!

 

こんばんは !

 

Ueno Park

Hello  from a very rainy Tokyo…

I have come to the conclusion that when it’s raining here it is not just some light and shy drops that hits the ground. No, the whole sky usually just opens and pours all of its contents on us poor earthly beings. And not just for a few minutes but for at least a couple of hours and sometimes even the entire day, without any break whatsoever. Today it began in the afternoon and it has been going in since then. It would take me two seconds to become soaking wet if I went outside right now.. But im not complaining. It is still warm after all and the air becomes really nice and fresh and my room cools down to a nice temperature. And best of all, I love to fall asleep listening to the rain in the evening so since its dark outside now anyway I hope it continues through the night and stops in the early morning. I went two times to the university campus on Komaba today (picked up my new bank book for my japanese bank account) but other than that I have spent this day more or less in my room trying to figure out what courses I’m going to take this semester and going through some procedures which will grant me access to the University’s computer system. There is not much more to say about this day so instead I’ll tell you a little bit about when I went to Ueno Park on Tuesday.

Paloma and I went to Komaba Todaimae (our local station) shortly after  1 pm and met up another girl, also named Hannah, from Australia. Our initial plan was to go to Tokyo National Museum which is located inside the park (Ueno is one of the biggest parks in Tokyo) but it turned out be closed unfortunately. So we decided to just walk around in the park instead and that was just as nice as anything else. We came across this really cool street performer guy in an open square. I didn’t understand  much of all his talking but he was very interesting to listen to anyway and very funny to watch. 😀

I could probably have been standing there all day I think.. 🙂

Eventually we kept going anyway and came upon a big fountain, some shrines, Uneo Zoo, and the two lakes in the middle of the park. It took us a few hour to walk around in our slow pace but it was very nice and relaxing. Sometimes that’s all you need. A good walk and pleasant company.

Apparently you don’t need to go to New York anymore to see the Statue Of Liberty. At least not the upper half.. 🙂

Toshogu Shrine was a beautiful place in the middle of the park. I really love that you can find them (shrines) almost anywhere, small ones and big ones, old and new. It’s amazing and they always have this certain purifying atmosphere that I enjoy. 

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Here you have Hannah and Paloma in front of one of the park lakes. 🙂
It would be cool to actually rent one of those boats one day and just chill on the water for a while, watching the people as they are passing by. Maybe I will try it!

Just some random pictures from Ueno

Thank you girls for an awesome day. I hope we can do it again soon! Spending time with you was great!

Now I will go back to do some more studying, clean my dishes from dinner and maybe do some laundry (probably not).

Have a nice day wherever you are! 🙂

Best wishes from Tokyo

Hayama Beach & Ominesan Mountain

Good evening.

Today was another amazing day as Paloma, Andrey and I went out on another adventure out of Tokyo together. We met up already at 7.30 in the morning outside our rooms in the dorm and went out to get our bikes and went to Shibuya. We actually managed to find a parking spot near the station where they only charged 100 yen for 12 hours.

Since we knew the weather would be great today, Paloma and I sat down yesterday evening to do some research about a day trip somewhere to a nice place near the sea, preferably with a beach. Google can really be your best friends sometimes and informed us about this place called Hayama between 50-60 km south of Tokyo, past Yokohama. The beach there should be one of the best near the Tokyo area and there was also a mountain just next to it so we decided that we should climb in the morning before we went to the beach. I can only say this: Great planning results in great trips!

Shortly after 8.15 we left Shibuya on a train bound for Yokohama where we switched to another line and went to Zushi station where we went off. Zushi is a small coastal city very close to Hayama so from there we took the local bus after buying some food at the nearest convenience store to bring with us.

After getting off at our bus stop we walked around in confusion for a while, while we were looking for a way up the mountain. In the end, we had to ask but after some help we managed to quickly find a small trail leading up, up, up and up… It was about 11 o’clock and it was already nearly 30 degrees. I function as best in heat like that when I’m active so it was fine with me but climbing a mountain is never easy and with already aching muscles from previous work outs it’s really tough. But it was so fun and the trees and views were absolutely amazing! It was definitely worth all the panting and sweating.

After maybe an hour we came down again on the other side of the mountain so it wasn’t a very long track. But it was enough because the trees were full of big and scary spiders and they warned for snakes on the track as well, we didn’t see any though. We had taken sight of a specific beach from the top so we went straight there after getting back on the ground again and oh dear… It was perfect! The water was clear, the sand was nice and soft, the sun was shining and there were not too much people. There was even a really nice and grassy spot on a cliff with water on both sides where we left our things and spread our towels.

When we went into the water we were even more happily surprised at how nice the temperature was. It was really warm and I love the feeling of saltwater and sunshine on my body so I felt so good. I went swimming three times, once with Paloma, once by myself and once with both Paloma and Andrey and we stayed in the water a long time every time.

In between our swims we had lunch, slept a little bit, listened to music and just enjoyed each other’s company. Around 4 o’clock we decided to pack our things and head back to Zushi by walk instead of taking the bus. The GPS told us it was about 5 km and would take us approximately an hour if we walked on the roads next to the sea. It took us almost twice that time since we walked quite slowly and because Paloma and I stopped every 5 minutes to take pictures of the surroundings and the sunset. And we went the wrong way for a short time. But we had some fun and interesting conversations on our way there so if didn’t feel like that long at all.

Just before we reach the station we went into a local supermarket and when we finally got on the train again it was completely dark outside. We were back in Shibuya again by 8 in the evening and hurried to get our bikes and then went straight home. We rested a bit, met some of our other dorm friends and had dinner (some had, it is too late for me to eat at 9.30 pm) and tea together and then we saw a film in our living room together. I love how familiar it is. We will really be a family here during this year. I am so grateful.

In other words: Fantastic day! Thanks to y friends who shared it with me ❤

Good evening and night to you all.
I wish you the same joy of life as I am now experiencing every day!

Enoshima Beach & Shrine

Kon’nichiwa!
こんにちわ!

The days are going by so fast here! Today it’s already been two weeks since I arrived in Japan. I don’t get it, how is that possible? I’m so happy that I’m not here only on a short vacation but actually for a year. 🙂

For once I am actually writing in the middle of the day and not in the late night.
Today I am going to tell you about the most amazing trip that I, Paloma, Vincent and Andrey had to Enoshima the other day. This is an area located about 45 km southwest of Tokyo just by the sea. By train it took us just over an hour to get there. On monday the weather was perfect, sunny and very hot with over 30 degrees so that’s why we decided to go to the beach. When we got of the station in Enoshima we instantly felt the nice sea breeze and could smell the ocean. It was so nice and it felt s good to get out of the city for a while.

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Me and Paloma

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Vincent and Andrey

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I love to take the train, especially when its going above ground.

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Enoshima station is my favourite train stop so far. Very japanese.

To get to the beach from the station was no more than maximum 10 minutes walk. There were actually quite much people and a lot of surfers since the waves were pretty big. In the sky above the beach a whole bunch of stunningly beautiful hawks were flying and keeping a close eye on the people and eventual food to steal (on of the snatched a rice cracker straight from my had just the second before I was about to put in my mouth but it didn’t hurt me in the least, just took the cracker…).

I went to feel the water and it was actually really nice. I have no idea about the temperature but since many people were swimming it was warm enough. However the water was a little bit dirty. Not because it was full of trash, it was more turbid and full of floating bottom material. That didn’t stop us though, Vincent, Andrey and I went in any way and it was really refreshing and it felt great to get some saltwater on my body again.

We arrived in Enoshima pretty late in the afternoon and the sun started to set not long after we had been swimming. (Already by 6.30 pm it’s dark.)
There is an island connected to the mainland with a big bridge. Enoshima Shrine is located on the top of the mountain on that island. We decided to go there and watch the beautiful landscape and setting sun from there.

It. Was. Amazing.

I can’t believe I live here. ❤

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Just look at it.. I can’t even explain what I was feeling when I saw this. But my life was complete. Everything was just right. I love this country. This is home ❤

On our way up the Shrine on the mountain on Enoshima island.

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Magical

So to sum it up, this day was definitely one of the best so far. This country is amazing. There is so much beauty here that is beyond comparison and when I get to see it with my own eyes, be surrounded by the wonders of nature, then I get it. Then I understand what love truly is and what life really is about. I am so grateful and so happy. I feel so rich.

If or when you go to Japan, no matter how amazing the cities are, don’t forget to see the countryside, nature and all the magnificent landscape!

Now I will go practise my hiragana and katakana skills some more and then I will go to the supermarket with Paloma.

Have a nice day or night!

Love from Japan ❤

My Weekend, Part 2

Hello and good evening from Tokyo.

I’m going to give you an update on the rest of my weekend, like I promised yesterday, right away.

Saturday

I was very lazy the first haf of the day and didn’t do much at all except lying in bed, practising my hiragana and katakana skills and looking through the course catalogue for this semester. In the late afternoon however I decided that I had to get out so I took a walk to Shibuya in the slightly rainy weather. My plan was to buy a thin mattress to put on top of the one I already had in bed since it is very hard and look for some kitchen gear which I was still lacking. I found my matress for a good price in huge Nitori store and also ended up buying a new and better pillow as well and a frying pan, a pot and a baking dish together with some other well needed kitchen-ware so now I’m all set I think.

Today there is some kind of national holiday in Japan and I think that there was some kind of small festival or at least preparation for it on saturday because both when I came into Shibuya and was about to leave I saw these well dressed up people (see the pictures below) walking around with this ”I don’t know what it’s called” on their shoulders while they where singing or maybe chanting something. It was really interesting to see.

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The culture is so rich and fascinating! I am so happy that I get t be part of it!

The rest of the evening I spent at the dorm with my friends from the lodge, just hanging out and listening to music before we went a short turn to Shimokitazawa in the evening (night) to let some of them eat. I had a good time even if it got a little crazy and was raining on us the whole time. Except in the restaurant of course.. 🙂

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The dining room at the second floor of our lodge

Sunday

On Sunday I and Jamie had decided to meet up to go to Kagurazaka which is a quite old part of the city with a Geisha district and todays it’s also called the french quarter of Tokyo with lots of french cafés, bakeries and restaurants. We walked around for a few hours (in lots of rain!) and came upon a small food market, a few shrines, some beautiful alleys and interesting streets.

It never stops being boring to just walk around.

We even saw a japanese wedding in one of the shrines! I didn’t get any pictures of it but it looked pretty amazing! I wish I could have seen it up close.

Then we had a somewhat late but very cheap soup lunch for no more than 450 yen (about 33 swedish kr) before Jamie took me to the most amazing place ever! A bookstore called Book Off. It was heaven! There were two floors with almost only manga! Book Off is a second-hand store which makes the prices incredibly low but everything still holds quite high quality. I bought a manga for only 108 yen! 108 yen people! That is almost for free! Of course it was only in Japanese but my plan is to practise my Hiragana and Katakana by reading it and pronouncing all the sounds even if I don’t know all the words. Then when I can master the language well enough this bookstore (which can be found both here and there) will be my paradise, my favourite place to hang out! So thank you Jamie for bringing me there! It was amazing! I was and still am so happy about it!  I could probably have stayed in there forever… 🙂

I love how people are just standing there reading and it’s okay. Completely normal. Wonderful atmosphere!

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The new manga from the creators of Death Note! ❤

After the book store experience I went home and took a nice and resting evening.
So all in all I had a very good weekend.

Now its time for bed, its late in Tokyo.

おやすみなさい