Tokyo: Taking in the City

This first week here in Japan has been a rush–it’s a blur of fast and often crowded trains, fresh faces, clean streets and completely fascinating new sights. Taking everything in and making sense of it all has proven to be a challenge; I always have a camera handy, a notepad ready to be scribbled in and flipped and squashed deep in my bag, and I am constantly waiting to see the next thing that will make me smile or gasp or grin. Tokyo is something very remarkable, and the way its inhabitants move about you when you walk outside on a busy street or sway around you on a speeding train in the early morning makes you wonder how they perceive themselves. The Japanese seem to live life like an ongoing dance, a constant skillful swoop of motion. Every person I’ve met here so far has given me a new framework of viewing myself as a human being and of viewing and understanding the people I surround myself with back at home. Before I set off on the plane at JFK airport, I spent a lot of time staring at my luggage splayed on my bedroom floor, worrying. I thought about what Japan would be like–how I would fit in to the inner workings of TUJ and of Japanese society–but all that time wasn’t necessary because so far, there’s always a seat for me on the morning train and on the way back from school. So far, things are going smoothly! I’ve only been in Japan for a handful of days but already so much has been plopped on my plate and I’ve met so many cool people!


I’ve slept in a capsule…

9h Sleeping Capsules
9h Hotel in Tokyo’s Narita International Airport

…taken and seen many ways of getting around…

After the airport I rode a bus and then a taxi to get to the Kitazono Women's Dorm.
After the airport I rode a bus and then a taxi to get to the Kitazono Women’s Dorm.
I've flown, been hurdled onto Tokyo metro for the first time, and have spotted my new dream car.
I’ve flown, been hurdled onto Tokyo metro for the first time, and have spotted my new dream car!!

…eaten many new dishes…

Food from all over: the airplane, the airport, Kitazono Women's Dorm, and my first Japanese restaurant!
Food from all over: the airplane, the airport, Kitazono Women’s Dorm, and my first Japanese restaurant!

…and I’ve enjoyed so many new sights.

Here's Tokyo Tower, me with the view from my balcony, some scenes of Tokyo, and the lobby of the Kitazono Women's Dorm.
Here’s Tokyo Tower, me with the view from my balcony, some scenes of Tokyo, and the lobby of the Kitazono Women’s Dorm.

Tokyo has much more waiting for me to explore, and when my first full weekend of freedom comes, I hope to take in the foreigner’s view of Japan from new angles (and new train stops!). Today was my last day of classes for the week, and tomorrow is my second day of working with the students at Kanagawa Sohgoh–I’m excited to be heading back! I spent time on Sunday at a conference where I got to meet some of the high school’s students as they took on Japan’s educational system and more in several English-focused discussions. The students had very strong views on the way their English classes and education are handled in Japan. Wednesday I met more students as I bounced around between a few classes: I encouraged discussion in English for a group of students visiting England in the spring, I aided with pronunciation and critical thinking, and I helped ease English lessons and proofread classwork. I was really impressed with the high level that Kanagawa Sohgoh pushes their students toward and I was so excited that some students warmed up later in the day and were able to chat with me and the other English-speaking interns after classes. I was nervous to meet the staff and students at KanaSoh, but it all turned out to be an amazing new teaching experience and I’m eager to see what the kids have in store for me tomorrow!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s