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Published: January 23rd 2006
So here I am - finally in TOKYO! Week one as a Tokyo Gaijin and I'm settling in really well.
A couple of first impressions: The Weather
- Despite what the pictures show, it's actually not as cold as I was expecting! In the last 10 days it has been mostly sunny, but crisp with temperatures around 5-8 degrees. My scarf, beanie and gloves are definitely getting a good work out, but short of of one day when the rain was torrential (reminded me of a typical Sydney DOWNPOUR!) and Saturday, when we were greeted by 10mm of snow the weather hasn't probited my settling in. Apparently Saturday was the most snow in Tokyo for 5 years... So anyway, I'm coping with the cold and for the time being, the snow is certianly a good novelty! 😊 I'm also pleased to have survived the last 24 hours without slipping over on the icy pathways. For a very intelligent coutnry, God knows why the Japanese thought to tile
a good majority of their pedestrian pathways! Tokyo
- Where can you start with first impressions of Tokyo? Living only 15mins from Shinjuku I have the pleasure of being walking distance
View from my room
Jan 21st.. Snowiest day in Tokyo for 5 years!
from one of the most spectacular city-scrapes in the world. It really could be the year 2099 every time I approach the end of the road. There's so much to take in everywhere you turn. I've heard there are up to 22million people in Tokyo on a working day and over a million that come through Shinjuku station and I'd really believe it. The city doesn't sleep and doesn't stop. Imgaine two days before Christmas at Woden Plaza, multiply it by 100 and then you'd have a quiet afternoon in Shinjuku. Job Hunting
- I've been lucky to secure a 1 month contract with a marketing agency, Wunderman Dentsu. I met with their CEO for lunch on my second day and he's offered me 1 month working on their Formula 1 account, preparing for the launch of the first All-Japan F1 team through ex-driver and multi-millionaire, Suzuki Aguri (for those F1 fans out there). I had a couple of other interviews in my first few days, and for anyone thinking of coming to Tokyo in the near future, don't worry about not being able to find a job. I was offered work with everyone I interviewed with and eventually
The streets of Nakano Sakaue
With friends from my apartment
had to turn down other interview appointments I had made because I started work at Dentsu 4 days after arriving. Living in a Gaijin House
- Well, what can I say... another lucky turn! Gaijin houses (Apartments where you rent the room and share common facilities with other foreigners staying for a short/medium term in Japan) are renowned for being poor quality, run down and somewhat noisy. As fate may have it, my choice of Gaijin house has been an extremely good one. Not only is the location great - with the ability to go out without the need to worry about last trains home - but the apartment is clean, well heated, close to so many transport options and affordable. I'm living in a 4 storey pink (!) building that has 20 bedrooms, 2 kitchens and several bathroom/shower facilities. My walk to and from the station includes a 3 minute stroll by a small river, shoulered by a broad pathway with oriental lanterns... lovely!
The best part though, is that my flatmates are a really great bunch. We're all about the same age, are young professionals or students and all seem to have an international outlook to
Me and Aussie Pete
the world. Dinner time conversation is never dull with topics ranging from 'What power does the Queen actually have in Australia' (I could answer that one!) to 'What German rock/punk bands from the 80s and 90s do we prefer' and 'Did David Hasselhof's come-back career start the night he sung at the Berlin Wall when he wore that jacket with the flashing lights'. We couldn't come to a consensus on the latter...
But enough of first impressions, I'm sure the anecdotal stories about things like their heated toilet seats (which I've got to say are bloody great) and the button you can press to make a flush like sound to drown out any of your own personal noises will continue to make appearances in other upcoming blog entries... 😊 Out and About
So, apart from interviewing and then working 50+ hour week last week, I've also managed to see a bit of Tokyo. The first sight-seeing type adventure was a vist to Asakusa Shrine, which I've actually been to a few times before. It's a nice temple, but by Japan standards, you can certainly get more impressive and less touristy and crowded ones outside Tokyo. One highlight of
visiting Asakusa however were some very cute
dogs we came across. Somehow Japanese dogs and their curly tails can make any cat-loving heart melt... Sumo
So you'll never guess who's become the biggest SUMO fan! Me! I must say, seeing snippits of sumo on TV over the years simply doesn't do justice to the live event. Drums, parades, crowd chanting, pillow-throwing, rituals, singing, wrestlers psyching out their opponents... The tension in the air when a wrestler nearly topples over the edge only to force his way back in really was something! And I couldn't leave the day without succuming to a new mobile-phone 'accesory'... my own little SUMO!
So ja-ne for now. Next installment to include an encounter with an old man who I'm sure is the Japanese Yoda.
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