The Quest to Visit All the Cat Cafes

Hi! I'm Jess, and for the duration of this blog I'll be studying in Japan, at Meiji Daigaku in Tokyo!

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A month by month summary of my Japan experience: September!

What stands out to me in the earlier months is the more touristy photos I was taking.  That sense of ‘wow, I’m in Japan, this completely foreign place' just sort of disappeared over the months, so it's nice to see it still lives on in photos.   

They reflect one of the reasons I hated getting on trains at first - the amount of people packed into one.  Not good.  And also shows my first karaoke and cat cafe! Two of my favourite things about Japan :D

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Wow! Thanks for answering my question so quickly! Another question I have has to do with money side of things. I'm definitely worried about how I'll fund this adventure so I'm wondering if you have tips on that. How did you budget your money, etc. etc. I mean, Tokyo must be so expensive!!! Again, thank you for your help! :D
tokyoheiku tokyoheiku Said:

No problem!

Aha, to be honest I’m probably not the best person to ask about this. I had fairly steady government and parental income o.o;;.  That said, I still managed to run out of money on various occasions =\ Not sure about other people. Tokyo isn’t cheap, it’s just what you want to do with it I guess.  Mostly my policy was ‘I’ll only be able to do this once so hey, why not’, but on occasions that might not have been the way to go…! I’m also a terrible budgeter so that doesn’t help ;-; Not to mention the awful exchange rate… -.-

You can earn money whilst you’re there, mainly through teaching English. (but only cash in hand unless you can get a work permit; though this is particularly difficult through Meiji.. =.=) I didn’t, but I wish I had sometimes! 

Thing with Tokyo is, you’ll probably end up spending more than you think you will, what with official things to pay for and the masses of travel (you do come to rely on trains in Tokyo, particularly if you’re in Meidaimae (where Izumi House/campus are), since it’s slap-bang in the middle of everything. Definitely not a bad place to be in, but definitely train-heavy.) So really… depends on you.  Overplan for money is probably the best advice I can think of right now, since I really wish I had..! Hope that was some help? :P

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Hi Jess! I'm going to apply for study abroad at Meiji Univ. next year and reading your tumblr has been a blast! One of my goals for the study abroad is to become more fluent in Japanese so I'm wondering was it easy to immerse yourself in the language especially in Tokyo and at such a international uni? Thanks! :D
tokyoheiku tokyoheiku Said:

I’m so glad to hear that, thank you!  I really hope you enjoy Meiji, it’s a great uni :D  

In terms of immersion, as long as you put the effort in, you *can* get really good results!  For example, the Campusmate scheme provided for international students allows for interaction with a lot of Japanese students, which means you can easily make friends.  (You do sometimes need to put some effort into making sure they become friends you regularly meet with though, I’ve found…!).  And it does depend where you’re staying - in my case it was Izumi International House, which is a fantastic dorm but doesn’t allow for much Japanese communication. So it’s a case of finding a good balance between speaking English with hallmates and speaking Japanese as much as possible!

If you can, taking extra modules in Japanese really helps to build up vocab etc, as well!

Everyday life in Tokyo is great because you find yourself getting used to the daily life Japanese pretty quickly.  Buying things, getting around the trains etc.  Trying to deliberately place yourself in situations where you’re speaking Japanese is of course a great way to get there quicker =]

Hope that helps! If you have anymore questions don’t hesitate to ask! :D

So yeah, I’m officially back in England, where pretty much literally everything is the olympics.  I’m sorry it’s been a bit quiet round here!  I had a pretty rushed last week; seeing everyone for the last time, going to karaoke, packing… :P So it all feels like a bit of a blur to be honest.  

The flight, at least, was very smooth!  No delays or anything, just straight on and off to Heathrow.  

Culture shock set in earlier than I imagined, a.k.a at the airport and from there on.  Main points being these:

1) Hearing English conversations all the time.  In all England’s various different accents - it’s just a bit grating right now.  And weird.  

2) The lack of people!  I figured it’d be a good thing to get away from the masses of people per square metre but apparently I find this strange since being in Tokyo!  

3) Politeless levels.  They are… really quite different.

But apart from that it’s cool.  I’ve been pretty much binging on all food that I’ve missed lol. Seeing people, getting a new laptop, new phone in the works..

I don’t know if I miss Japan yet.  I can’t say I’ve been thinking about it too much, which might be a good thing, might be a bit of a ‘still adjusting’ thing.  Or I just haven’t had much time to reflect and talk about it all.  Hmmmmmm.  Time will tell. 

Back in England!  Longer post later.  Here are some photos for the time being.

My flatmates - last semester and now =]

A summary of the past few days.  First up, photos from the Sumida River Fireworks Festival.  One of the most famous fireworks displays in Japan, and also one of the most disappointing displays I’ve been to, like, ever… hence the crappy firework photo.  Just sums it all up. An opinion backed up by many.  Why.. well, there were thousands upon thousands of people so getting from the station to the river was pretty hellish.  Then it turned out that the fireworks were at two ends of the river, when we were right in the middle of those two locations, so seeing the fireworks actually turned out to be pretty difficult =.=;; And then finally the actual fireworks… weren’t that impressive.  I’ve see better. Hell, watching the Olympic Opening Ceremony fireworks on my laptop was a better experience lol.  

Still, I’m glad I went.  It was an interesting experience :P 

Theen I saw Rahayu for what could be the last time in a looooooong time.  We mainly just hung around Harajuku :P 

Then today… not shown in photos: going to the ward office to go and hand in our health insurance cards.  They had us going back and forth and waiting for ages and not sufficiently explaining why they were making us do all that… bit grating.  But in the evening, me and my flatmates went to eat sukiyaki (the soy sauce/mirin/sugar soup mix that I lovelovelove), take purikura and go to karaoke :D So second half of the day was considerably better.

Packing is slowly happening.  I’m now down to seven days in Japan!  Which is.  Very strange.  Really, really strange.

We went to Sushiro the other day (a revolving sushi place), and I tried battered prawns for the first time!  There were two on that plate when I started.  :D 

lol yeah yeah i know.  i see it as an achievement……………

possibly my last gusto meal… for now 

aah gusto.  i will miss you :P  (maybe)

Jindai Botanical Gardens and the nearby temple.  It was pretty, but it was so, so hot, hence the shaved ice.  The weather really makes it difficult to be outside for long periods of time, right now..!