Tuesday

Good evening.
Or night actually if I stick to my local time.

It’s way to late for me to be blogging right now but still here I am..
This day felt really long. I spent a few hours practising my Japanese in mornning and middle of the day and then I went to explore the University Campus that I live next to. Since we are having an orientation day at Komaba as well tomorrow I thouht it would be good to know where to go before we start. I don’t want to be late again.. When I had learned the way I simply took a walk through the campus and around the area before I came back to the lodge again.

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Japanese requires a lot of determination. Luckily I enjoy it very much!

Some pictures from my walk

Sometime during the day Andrey knocked at my door and wondered if I wanted to join him and a couple of other people from our floor to a restaurant in Shimokitazawa in the evening (Vincent have been talking about this place since the first day so I was really curious and of course I said yes) and then later Luke came and asked if he could borrow my charger. I really like how simple and familiar it feels. It’s so easy and nice. I’m going to enjoy loving here so much and I know I will have a lot of fun with my new friends. They are all great people!

Vincent had booked a table to 19.30 and before going there we went out to buy a can of beer. It was my first try of Japanese beer and it was actually kinda good. It was harmony in the flavours as Vincent so nicely expressed it, haha!

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Only the can itself gets 10 points for looking so appealing… 🙂

When we came to the restaurant I was really pleasantly surprised. It was a really cool place and the food was awesome! Not very cheap but not super expensive either and definitely worth it! We sat on the floor and the atmosphere was very japanese in my opinion. Very nice!

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I guess I’ll start with introducing my friends. To the left you have Paloma from France. Next to her is Andrey (you already met him yesterday) also from France and beside him we have Vincent and surprise even he is from France. However to the right we are breaking the french trend with Luke from England. Wonderful people! 😀

As you can see we had a great time together and a lot of amazing food! I even tried real saké for the first time in my life and I really liked it. It was not too strong and had quite a.. natural taste I would say. And the in the bottom right picture was home made only minutes before we got I and it was warm and absolutely delicious! ❤

After dinner we went to a Lawson store to buy some desserts (and japanese whiskey for the boys, or maybe I should call them men?..) and then we went back to the lodge and saw a 90’s thriller film together in the common room called Basic Instincts I think. In other words a perfect evening and night. 🙂

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Now bedtime!

Oyasumi!

おやすみ

First day at Hongo Campus

Hej hej!

I woke up as usual just before 5 in the morning today when the first train passed by.. But I managed to go back to sleep again and woke up shortly after 7 instead the next time. I almost didn’t hear my alarm clock even though I had it turned up on the highest volume but only almost, luckily. I went out of bed, washed up, got dressed, had some juice and went to meet Andrey at 07.50. The academic orientation should start at 09.30 so we thought it was best to have some time since we were going to bike to Hongo campus. The GPS said 12 km so one and a half hour should be fine. But.. Of course we got a little bit lost on the way and when we finally arrived at campus we had some problems finding the right building (believe me Hongo is HUGE!) so we were a little bit late unfortunately but everything was okay and we didn’t miss much. I hate being late so I was really nervous but Andrey were just laughing at me and telling me to relax.. I tried!

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Meet Andrey everyone, my biking mate and neighbor on the same floor at Komaba Lodge. He’s from France (or actually originally from Ukraine) and a funny guy.

Biking across Tokyo is really cool but it requires a lot of concentration to avoid hitting all the hundreds of people walking everywhere, especially in the morning rush hour. But we did good!

The academic orientation lasted for about two and a half hours and we got our student ID cards and lots of papers with information about almost everything you could possibly need to know as well as an international student handbook. Very handy. After that we went to a restaurant at the top of another building were we kind of mingled for a while and had juice and cold japanese tea while we waited for all students to arrive and for the food to be served. It was very pleasant! I actually found two other swedish students from Stockholm University who were really nice. Viktor and Maja. I think we will be great friends. We don’t live on the same campus but there doesn’t seem to be too many swedes here so I have a feeling that we will probably stick together. I also talked a lot with my neighbour Luke and his friend Henry from Ireland as well as a guy from Switzerland, a girl from Poland, one from England and another one from Australia. I also met Freya, a really nice girl from Copenhagen University in Denmark. And people from lots of other places of course. When this year is over I will have friends from every corner of the world and that is amazing! I am so happy and excited about this chance and opportunity that I have been granted.

The student orientation classroom,
A cool view over Tokyo Sky Tree from the restaurant &
Some of the food we were served (it turned out to be an Italian restaurant).

After having filled our stomachs with a lot of salads, finger food, different pastas and Tiramisu we all rolled out of the building to take a group picture in front of the University before we went on a smaller tour of the campus. I think we were all too busy talking to each other to actually take in our surroundings and learning how to find our way around.. But we had a good time!

One of the University buildings and a big pond in the middle of campus area with lots of beautiful Koi fishes!

Then it was finally time to go home. I was actually very tired after all the given information and all the new impressions and meetings with new people. It took us about one and a half hour to get back to our lodge, this time because I wanted to stop all the time to look at buildings and people and take some picture. But it was a nicer trip now that we didn’t have to stress and a very good exercise. My butt somewhat  hurts after 24 km on a new bike.. Feels good to know that I was active. ^^’

We actually passed Tokyo Dome which is a big amusement park (I have read about it in so many shojo mangas that it felt just like meeting a celebrity in the street!). I so want to go there! You can see a glimpse of one of the rollercoasters in the upper right photo. We also met a lot of elementary school children on their way home and just look at them! They are so adorable that I almost fell of my bike twice just because I couldn’t stop looking. Same cute clothes and hats and many of them are holding hands. So lovely ❤

And finally I want to introduce you to this new friend of my. I’m sure she will be a faithful companion. I call her the Black Flash (I made that up just this second, it’s a terrible name…) because she is black and well.. If there only wasn’t so much people everywhere to slow her down she would definitely be fast as a flash…

I actually lost the key to my bike lock today so I told one of the orientation leaders that I had probably dropped it somewhere in the restaurant buildning, however I wasn’t sure, but I asked her to tell the staff that if they found a small key somewhere it would probably be mine. I had the spare one in my wallet so it would have been okay anyway but guess what, no later then 15 minutes later she showed up with my lost key! It felt so unlikely that they should find it because this building was so big and we had been so many people in there. But everyone is just so helpful and everything is so efficient! It’s amazing and fascinating at the same time. I can’t help but smile. 🙂

Now it’s time for more Hiragana and Katakana studies and then bedtime!

Good evening to you all!

Sunday in Tokyo

Hello people

The weekend is coming to an end. I can’t believe that I have been in Japan and Tokyo for five days already! My time here will pass so quickly, that is for sure. If I don’t chose to stay, that is.. Who knows what will happen. I am enjoying myself now, the rest will figure itself out I think.

I woke up shortly before five this morning when the first train passed by just outside.. Oh, this is going to be tough. It’s not good to be a light sleeper.. Then it took me maybe one and a half hour ta fall asleep again and when I woke up next time it was almost 11! I have some trouble getting into the right rhythm obviously. But tonight I hope I will do better. I will sleep with ear plugs and set my alarm signal on the highest volume to make sure I will wake up. Tomorrow I have to be on time because according to the schedule we have to be at Hongo campus at 09.30 in the morning (another campus, not the one I live next to) for an academic orientation. Hongo is located in the other side of the inner city and is about 10 km away from here. So not to far but it will still take some time. They say it takes almost an hour with the train but I’m going to bike since I bought one today! That’s going to be fun and interesting. I hope we will find our way without much trouble and that it will be easy to use the roads and not too much people. I am a little bit nervous but very excited. And it will be a good exercise!

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Since they do have special roads for biking there shouldn’t be any problem

Before Andrey took me to buy the bike in the afternoon I went to Shimokitazawa with Nathalie to do some shopping in the 100 Yen store Daiso and then in the regular supermarket. We bought cleaning products and things for the kitchen and some food of course. My fridge is full now of different kinds of tofu and I am so pleased! I love tofu! And they have so many different kinds. I have been a vegetarian for some years but since I am now living in Japan I have decided that I will eat some fish sometimes, however that will probably only be when I am eating out in the restaurants and not so much at home. I think it will make my life here a lot easier and that is okay. So today I had a very simple lunch with rice and beans, some kind of egg tofu which Nathalie advised me to buy (it was very good!) and some sort of vegetable beefs. Nothing fancy but easy, quick and tasty. I feel so good about the food here. It’s lighter and easier to digest and I feel so much better than I do when I eat at home.

It might not look too good but it was and it went down easy peasy.

I also bought lots of dried mango in the supermarket today! I’m afraid im going to spend more money on that than on actual food..  It tastes divine! ❤

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Only three left… Where did the rest go?

I have clearly spent the evening eating a lot of this dried mango but while I’ve been doing that I have also been practising my japanese skills. About a year ago I knew all the hiragana and katakana by heart but I have forgotten some of it and now I’m doing my best to learn it again. On friday there will be a placement test on our Japanese skills so that they will know what class they are going to pu us in. So I have to know it by then. But I will! My neighbour Luke left a Katakana chart with a note under my door earlier and I was very happy when I found it and got extra motivated to learn!
When I study languages and especially the ones with signs and not letters, what I do is to write them again and again and again until they get almost impossible to forget and I repeat the sounds and words and the translations just as many times as I write them. I think it’s so much fun! If I wasn’t into science I would definitely study languages (and creative writing)!

To the left is one of my scrap papers and to the right the katana chart from Luke

Now I’m having tea and when I have finished my cup I will go and prepare for bed. Even if the actual classes doesn’t begin until the 25th of September tomorrow is a big day with a lot of happenings and events and new people so I need be at my best and well rested.

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Good night from Tokyo!

おやすみなさい !

 

Harajuku, Yoyogi park, Gyoen and Shibya

Greetings!

I hope you all have a great weekend so far. I do!

Today I met up a friend from Norway who also lives in Tokyo. It was actually the first time that we met but we have been in contact with each other for the past six months and are acquainted through his aunt who was my ”landlady” during some time when I lived in Norway so he didn’t feel like a stranger at all. It actually felt like we had known each other for a long time since we had so many interests in common and share the same love and passion for Japan. Jamie and I will be great friends! It feels good to have another Scandinavian around and to be able to speak swedish with at least one person.

We met up at Harajuku station at 1 pm, just outside of Takeshita Dori Street (where you can see lots of people dressing up as Lolitas etc and so many cool shops of all sorts) and stared by taking a really nice walk in Yoyogi park just next to Harajuku. It is so big! Like a forest in the middle of the city. There is also a temple in the park which we went to see but they since they were doing restorations we didn’t go inside but still stayed in the temple area for a while. Then we kept walking in the park for a while and I must say that the trees, they are amazing! So beautiful that it’s breathtaking! I could look at them all day and ever get tired of it I think.
After a while we came to Meiji Jingu  Inner Garden, also called Gyoen, which is also a part of the park but you have to pay a small amount to enter. We did and it was really beautiful so I appreciated it very much.

The Temple in Yoyogi Park

Some beautiful trees and treetops

Meiji Jingu Inner Garden (Gyoen)

After that we went back to Harajuku to have a somewhat late lunch. Jamie knew a good place so on our way there we went through Takeshita street and looked into some cool shops, I even got him to follow me into some store full of wigs, dress up clothes, lolita shoes, weird glasses and other stuff. Happy girl! It was the same store as I went to with my mom last year and really emptied my wallet in. So happy to be back!..
We had lunch and Jamie ordered everything completely in Japanese! I’m so impressed and just a little bit (or maybe very much) jealous! He’s been here about two months so I hope I can do the same in that time. After having some food in my system again I felt really good and just enough full so we went to walk through Harajuku to a store in Shibuya called Bic Camera, which is basically a huge shop for all kinds of electronics. There he helped me to get a japanese sim card so I have a new number and can use the internet on my phone again. Now I really feel like I’m living here. That I will actually stay and not go back home in two weeks. That’s amazing! I’m going to love it here. Every second of it! This is my place. Maybe not Tokyo specifically, even if it’s awesome, but Japan. It feels like home.

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Another Udon noodle soup with fried tofu for me, really tasty!

Harajuku och Takeshita Street

We found a small shrine on our way to Shibuya!

Then we went for a drink at a cafe somewhere in Shibuya and on our way there we stumbled upon another shrine, just like that. You gotta love Japan! It was a really calm and nice place with almost no people so it was a welcoming break for a few minutes.
We had our drinks and then went back to the station where we parted. He took the train back home but I decided to walk. On my way back I stopped in a store to buy some dried mango (my favourite snack) and oh God, it was sooo good! Here they taste so much. So I was chewing mango all the way home and can proudly say that I find my way around pretty well now!

The second Shrine. Bigger than the first.

It was a good day but it’s almost bed time here. First I will learn a few more hiragana signs though.

Have a lovely morning, day, evening or night wherever you are and a nice weekend!

おやすみなさい !

I have no idea what kind of instrument this is but we found this man playing just outside Harajuku station and I really liked it.

Welcome to my humble home

Hello dear people!

Today I will give you a tour of my room and the International Lodge of Komaba.
But first I want to show you where I live on the map and tell you a little bit about the area. Komaba is located on the outskirts of the most central parts of Tokyo and is located within walking distance to Shibya and Harajuku, just to mention a few famous places. So it is absolutely perfect! Actually it couldn’t be any better since I believe these are among the paces I will hang out most at. From my lodge it’s no more than 5 minutes walk to the train station if you don’t feel like using your legs and what I have seen from the area so far it is quite calm. The international lodge is located on Komaba campus area which is one of the main campuses of Tokyo University. That means I will have about a 5 minutes walk to school if I take my courses here in Komaba. So convenient! I couldn’t be happier and more thankful about my accomodation. It’s great! Of course I also have very easy access to the rest of the city. I’m thinking about buying a bike though and only take the train when necessary.

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This is where I live. Shinjuku, which is one of the most trafficated train stations in the world, is not far away either.

Now that you have seen my location let’s move on to my dorm. Komaba international lodge is big! Only in the main buildning (where I live) I think there are a cuople of hundred students devided over 6 floors. I’m on the 1st floor. I would prefer to have a room a little bit higher up in the house but I can’t complain. I will have quicker access to the exit if an earthquake would strike so I guess I’m actually lucky.

My room is super small. I think it’s 15 or 16 sqm only and that includes the bathroom. However I do have a my own little balcony and a bathtub (the smallest one I have ever seen but still a bathtub!)! A bed, desk, chair and wardrobe was provided and I don’t see the need of anything else so I don’t mind the small space. It’s only me anyway and it’s kind of cozy. Everyone on each floor share a common room, washing room and kitchen together. Now please have a look.

Small as you can see,  but perfect for me.

Let’s move on to the common parts of the dorm.

Here is the common room, the corridor and the washing room.

The kitchen. It is nothing fancy but it is good enough so I am happpy.

Our mail boxes (there are a few of them), the entrance hall and the reception.

And here we have Komaba International Lodge from the outside. Doesn’t look so bad I must say. The only negative thing is the train track just outside the buildning on the same side as my room is located. But its okay, it could be worse.

 

Hope you enjoyed the tour!
Now I will go wash my dishes and then study some hiragana and katakana and after that, maybe, I will manage to go to bed early…

Vi hörs!

Meguro City Hall and Shimokitazawa

Konnichiwa!

Today med and my three french friends (another one joined the team) went to Meguro to register our addresses in the City Hall and to fix a Japanese health insurance. We decided to walk there and even though it was raining it was really nice and the air felt somewhat fresh and clean, at least to be in the biggest city in the world. We walked for about 40 minutes and now I definitely feel like I know my way around a little better, which is a comfort.

The City Hall building was not very beautiful.. We agreed that it looked more like a prison. But inside it was okay. A mega huge office!

We spent a few hours in the Meguro area and visited a Nitori store which basically have a little bit of everything that you could possibly need for your home. Since we need to have our own kitchen gear I had to buy more things than I expected (I really thought it would be included since we have a shared kitchen) but we decided to share as many things as possible between us. Since none of are staying more than a year it would be a waste if everyone got everything and then had to throw it away. I will try to keep as much of a sustainable lifestyle as I can.

We also stayed in Meguro to have a late lunch around half past two. Or it was actually breakfast because non of us had the time to go shopping for food yesterday so we didn’t have anything else than water to our disposal this morning before we went out. Speaking of water, we can actually drink it directly from the tap here! When I was here with mom last year we always bought it so I didn’t know that. It is not as good as it is back home in Sweden but still a pleasant surprise and it isn’t too bad.
Anyway, we were all half-starved to death by the time we were finally served. I had an udon soup with fried tofu which was really good and easy for my body to digest. I think it’s hard to eat the first few days when you are jet lagged and have to get your body used to a new rhythm for food and sleep. So it was perfect. I am slowly getting there.

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My udon fried tofu soup with cold tea

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And some huge bottles of something unknown…

After our shopping and lunch we walked back to ohappy!ur lodge and rested for a while before we went back out again, this time to an area a little bit closer, called Shimokitazawa. There we visited Daiso, the 100 yen store (everything that doesn’t have a price tag only costs a 100 yen (approximately 7 swedish kr) and that is most of the stuff) and bought some more supplies for the kitchen and bathroom and then we finally went to the supermarket and got our selves some food for a few days ahead. Now I am happy! I really like to walk around in food stores when you are abroad because the supply is often so very different from home and it is so interesting to see what they offer. Some of the japanese groceries look fantastic while others seem to be… absolutely disgusting to tell the truth. But it is still fun to look around! Unfortunately I didn’t make any pictures from the supermarket today but I will definitely do it another time.

I know I said I would show some pictures of my room today but I just finished unpacking all my things and organizing everything and it is late and dark outside here so I will take better photos tomorrow. Then I will also show some pictures from my lodge.

Here are instead some random pics from todays walks. Just look at the thin house in the traffic picture!

 

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At Nitori the Halloween sale is on full go and here it seems it is normal to put Halloween ornaments in the Christmas tree.. I don’t know what to think or say about that…

 

Konnichiwa Tokyo

Ladies and Gentlemen….

I am happy to announce that I am here!
I am in Japan! I am home. I am exactly where I should be.
Finally!

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And so it begins….

It was a long flight but everything went well and smooth all the way from take off to landing. I spent most of my time reading and watching movies , the usual. I tried to sleep but failed. However I got at least two hours of just resting. Better than nothing. Now as I am writing this at about 11 pm in the evening here I am exhausted. I will fall asleep in ten seconds when I go to bed. Feels good. But first I want to give a quick update on my first day in this amazing city.

We landed at Narita airport at 10 sharp this morning, which is the same as 3 am in Sweden and in my body. It was 22 degrees outside and cloudy but still very pleasant. I went through the passport control without any problems and got my japanese Residence Card (which officially makes me a real citizen here now!!) and then went to get my bags and pass the ”nothing to declare” counter before I finally was out. Then I bought a train ticket to Shibuya station and from there went two more stops to my final destination Komaba. From there I walked to the International Office of my accommodation and registered and got the keys to my room and a tour around the area and buildings.

My room is supersmall with an even smaller bathroom but believe it or not, I have my own small balcony as well as a bathtub even if it really is…. tiny, to say the least. It’s perfect! It’s very simple but clean and will do great for me. I even made two new friends today and to be my first day I’d say that’s pretty good. Their names are Vincent and Nathalie and they are both from France. We spent the afternoon together in Shibuya shopping for necessities like cover and pillows, trash bins, hangers to our closets, shower curtains and all that kind of stuff which was not provided in the room. For those of you who don’t know Shibuya is one om the most trafficated stations in Tokyo and there are always a looot of people! And yet it feels a lot calmer than walking around in Nordstan i Göteborg.. Weird.. How is that possible? Anyway, we did our thing, went to have a simple fried rice dinner and then back home again.

Everywhere I went today, from the moment I put my feet in this country, people have greeted me with happy smiles and asked in english how I am doing today, they have helped me and guided me in the kindest and happiest way possible. I have been smiling all day. No where is like Japan. People are happy, helpful, kind and curious in a pleasant way. They make jokes and laugh and even if you don’t know them they feel like friends.. It’s kind of unique and wonderful.

That will be all for today I think. Now it is time to sleep. Tomorrow we will go look for a bigger supermarket and do some food shopping. I will also show some pictures from my room.

Good night from Tokyo!
おやすみなさい

A Hanna with more energy and a Hanna with less energy after some hours of flying.. But at least I had a lof space to stretch!

Just landed, tired and excited to go into the city and look for my new home.

A little bit of train and a little bit of Shibuya

And some food of course!

Hello

Since this is my first blogpost I thought I would just start with saying hello and introducing myself. You can find some short information about me to the right in ”About Me” but I will do it a little bit more detailed and at length here.

My name is Hanna and I am from Sweden. However I chose to write this blog in english since I have both friends and family of different nationalities and since it is simply good practise. Maybe some posts will be in swedish but I will try to stick to english.

I am 25 years old and a student at both Uppsala and Göteborg University in Sweden where I study Earthscience. It is the best and most interesting and exciting subject in the world! It is never boring and it is always important. I love it! And I also love being a student. Well, sometimes I hate it but most of the time I love it! The perfect combination of always learning new things and being able to decide how to divide and spend your time yourself while having great friends around is awesome.

Before I began my studies I lived and worked a few years in Norway which was a great experience and it gave me new friends and family which I will cherish for life. I went there just a week after graduating highschool and I had only planned to stay for the summer and then start studying again. But it happened to me as it happens to so many others when they go to Norway. You get stuck there. If not forever then at least for a much longer time than you had intended from the beginning. I don’t regret one moment of it.

However tomorrow I will begin a new life, as I am moving to Tokyo. A completely new chapter in my book. Finally! I have been waiting for this for so long. Japan has been my dream for more than 15 years. Now it is my turn to live my dream and I can’t wait to begin. I will continue my studies there, at Tokyo University, also called Todai. This is the highest ranked university in Japan and of the best in Asia so I am both very proud of myself and excited about this chance and opportunity. I will have the time of my life and it will with no doubts be my greatest adventure so far!
I will write more about this later.

I am a happy girl, very passionate about life.  I love to explore new places and to be active. Reading, writing and food (cooking and eating) are some of my biggest interests and of course everything that has anything to do with Japan. What could be better than reading a great manga or watching an awesome anime?

If you stick around to read my blog you will get to know me a lot better.

Hope to see you here again!

Ciao

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Hello, this is me