Prior to my arrival to Totsukawa village, there was a three day orientation in Shinjuku, Tokyo. We landed at Narita airport around 3 or 4 pm, and after a couple hours of getting through immigration, baggage claim, and customs, followed by an hour drive to the Keio Plaza hotel, we were finally in Japan. T.O. for the most part was very useful and informative. I have never had any formal teaching experience, so the teaching seminars were (at least for me) very helpful.
I also found myself heavily depending on the conbini (convenience store) for food and drinks… which may not have been the best idea because apparently, there were many other conbinis surrounding the hotel that had cheaper prices.
As tempting as it was to visit other parts of Tokyo (Akihabara, Harajuku, Shibuya, etc) I decided it would be best to stay at and near the hotel and try to recover from my jet lag as quickly as possible in order to be well prepared for Wednesday’s departure to Nara and to meet with our Contracting Organizations.
I ventured out into Shinjuku, Tuesday evening. Sunday night was spent resting from the long flight and Monday night was spent in bed after I felt dizzy from that day’s ordeal. If there was one thing I could change about T.O., it would be to make *some* of the seminars optional… I felt that maybe that time would be better spent for some people who simply need to nap and rest up!
Tuesday morning, I caffeined myself up to stay awake and alert for the day’s seminars. By the time late afternoon came around, I decided it was finally time to leave the hotel and explore!!
Oh lawdy. I don’t know where to begin with Shinjuku. HOT, HUMID, and BUSY are probably the best three words to sum it up. There were several occasions where I felt like I was going to pass out from the heat and exhaustion… I didn’t have a map or GPS to really help me out with where I was going… so I did what I would do in any situation like this and just walked around until I knew I was going too far.
I don’t have any pictures, but from outside my hotel room’s window, you could see a large department store called Keio. I headed there first and went up to the stationery floor to get bags for my omiyage and really cute stickers! (Shown at the end of this post) From there on, I wandered about taking pictures and videos. You can see all of them below!
After being here in Totsukawa for a little over a week now, I realize that I much prefer the quietness of the mountains compared to the hustle and bustle of the city. People were constantly moving so much that I felt like I too had to be in a hurry. At one point, I saw firetrucks and police cars attend to someone hurt(?)
I came back to my hotel room soaked in sweat and exhausted. Good, because I tired myself out nicely to get a good night’s sleep for the next day’s trek to Nara prefecture and my new home.
Walking around the different stores of Shinjuku made me very tempted to buy everything cute I found! Asides from the large Keio Department store, I stopped in a stationery store, a multi-level arcade, a toys and hobby shop, a 7-Eleven, and a small electronics shop. I also made one more stop in the convenience store of the hotel to get a nice treat for Trevor.
I would love to come back to Tokyo again for a couple days to visit some of the other areas! 😀 Especially Akihabara… hehe.