Vacation in Tokyo

Monday, September 18, 2006


The Kochi news team came in and interviewed me, (which I was not prepared for) and then stuck a camera in my face the entire class. Then, towards the end of my lesson, they actually interviewed some of my students! And I had to pretend they weren’t there! I’m not joking when I tell you that the camera was inches away from my face. I almost tripped on the guy when he was taping me walking into class!

I taped it and I’m going to send it home sometime. Get a hold of my parents if you want to see it! If I still had all my DVD making equipment, I’d be able to put it on the internet…but oh well.

The lesson that I came up with wasn’t bad! While I was sitting at my desk on Tuesday, freezing, uncomfortable, tired and irritable, I found some old magazines that my predecessor had left under the desk. I flipped through them and came up with ten questions the students had to answer. For example, what is the title of this magazine? How much does it cost in the US? What is your favorite advertisement? What is it for and what is happening in it?

The students got into groups because there were only 5 magazines (perfect amount) and after they answered, one person from each group stood up and answered a random question for me. I asked them the more interesting ones like what page has your favorite actor on it, what are they doing? And they had to answer in English to the entire class (and all of Kochi). It looked really good and I think everyone enjoyed it!

I don’t think anyone in Japan noticed but everyone back home will, one of the times that they caught me on tape was when I was reading a question to a student while they were still working in groups. I asked “what page is advertising alcohol?” because every magazine had an advertisement of some sort. I think in America, the teachers wouldn’t be allowed to “promote illegal substances for minors” but in Japan it was no big deal. No one even noticed or made a comment to me. Once people see it back in the states, I know they’re going to notice ;)


I hopped a plane and flew to Tokyo!!!

Note about Japanese flights. When they say that the flight is at 10:40am, they mean that they start boarding at 10:40 and there’s no point to arriving at the airport more than a half hour before then because it takes only 15 minutes to check the ticket, check the bags, and walk through the gate after which there is nothing. You might as well stay on the outside of the gate because (at Kochi airport at least [which only has 5 gates total]) there is nothing of interest besides a vending machine and an Omiyage store which is seriously lacking. It’s only good if you’re desperate.

I was visiting my friend Tomoe. She is a girl whom I met while I was a junior at UCF through a conversation class. She came over with a group of about 15 people who attend Meikai University in Tokyo. It is the sister school of UCF. I don’t know if it was planned this way or not but Meikai is right next to Tokyo Disney and UCF is…well, right next to Disney as well.

Anyway, she is still in college and is currently looking for a part time job. She lives at home with her wonderful parents and older brother. (More about him later)

Anyway, I got into Tokyo at noon and the first thing I did was hug Tomoe! I gotta remember to stop doing that! Also, I would overestimate that about 5% of all people in Tokyo are Gaijin. It was crazy to see so many people from English speaking countries! And we all stood out like a sore thumb too ;)

We palled around and were never in any sort of rush but Tokyo is so big and there were so many things to just look at that my feet were killing me by the end of every day!

I went up in Tokyo tower which I recommend to everyone. Saw the Diet Building (Japanese capital? I don’t know why it’s called the diet building but whatever) and Tokyo Castle where only the Emperor lives. Not Princess Kiko who just gave birth to the next heir.


Shinjuku, Harajuku and the Ropongi Hills! Talk about interesting! Also got to hang out Naomi whom I also met with Tomoe at the conversation class back at UCF.

First, I decided that I wanted to buy some clothes because it seemed like a good idea and with that in mind I also decided to try out some Japanese fashion. I chose a pair of jeans, my white ucf t-shirt and my purple dress. It felt so strange to be wearing a spaghetti strap dress over a white t-shirt. I kept looking at Tomoe who was wearing something quite similar and she didn’t seem to look too strange but then I looked at myself and I just felt weird! By the middle of the day I took off the dress. I also didn’t buy any clothes because I just don’t understand Japanese fashion. Not at all!

Harajuku was interesting. Many strange people with strange outfits.


Uhhh….what did I do?.... Oh, we finally went to Asakusa which is the historical section of Tokyo. Honestly, it has one really old looking shrine (which is HUGE) and about three streets chock full of little touristy shops. I was in heaven. We then went to see the Fuji TV station which I had so much fun at! It was the last of three huge buildings that I went up in and looked out on Tokyo. Only this time I got to see a bunch of Tokyo TV stuff that I actually knew some of and I got to play a cute guessing game which I won a prize for in the end. It was a guessing game because it was Japanese Trivia of which I know nothing nor could I actually read because it was all in kanji. *sigh*

Once we finally got home, I was totally exhausted!

This was the first time that I actually met Tomoe’s brother (24yrs old). He works the night shift as a security guard. He works totally shit hours (three days working 5pm – 9am or something and then two days of weekend) but the pay is good. Anyway, this guy is totally tall! He’s probably over 6’! And on that note, a lot of the guys in Tokyo are way tall! And way cute too ;)

But I digress, so this guy looks at me and his eyes just get big and he sits there completely dumbfounded. I smile and say good evening and the guy doesn’t even nod. I’m too busy looking away because he made me so damn….self conscious. The rest of the night he didn’t look at me or say a single word…to anyone. I told Tomoe that I think he hates me and she told me that he’s not only super shy but he doesn’t get to talk at work so that only adds to his constant silence. She told me later that he did a couple of strange things just because I was there. Strange thing #1: Usually after work, he comes home and takes a bath without taking a shower first. He just wants to relax (I can totally understand that) and then he takes a shower in the morning. However, when he knew that I’d be coming home that night while he was there, he took a shower and cleaned himself instead. Strange thing #2: he normally walks around without a shirt on however since he knew I would be there, he put on a shirt. How kind! (Personally, I don’t think any of these things are strange. I’d do the same thing…if I were him…?)

His mom (who is very kind and speaks almost no English but for some reason thinks I understand a whole lot of Japanese) kept trying to get him to talk to me. I realized later that it was because he takes an English Conversation course over at Aeon every week so he should be able to talk freely and easily. I asked him Monday (after he had kinda sorta gotten used to me) if the teacher for his conversation class was a Gaijin and his answer was the first thing I ever heard come out of his mouth (remember, this is the second day after meeting him!). His answer was also in English and I was completely floored. He told me simply that there are about 5 students and 5 gaijin who sit around talking (I’m assuming one on one). Not bad. Tokyo totally has gaijin to spare so they can do stuff like that!


Fun Fun! I ended up hanging out with Hiru and Kenzo. Both boys I met when I did the conversation class with Tomoe.

We met up around noon and went book shopping! I spent too much money on 2 magazines (normally $6.00 were about $12.00) and two books which were also double the price ($10 instead of $5) You can bet I’m going to read them cover to cover!

We then had lunch after which we said goodbye to Kenzo because he had work and we then took a quick trip to Akihabara. By this time it was around 3ish and my plane was at 6:45. You’d think I would be freaking out about the times but I was in Tomoe’s hands and I was completely relaxed. For once, I just didn’t want to worry! (it turned out alright in the end…luckily!)

Anyway, Akihabara is so cool! I could have spent my entire life there and been satisfied! It’s an Otaku’s dream! It was street after street of anime, manga, electronics, and cheap toys! I wanted to buy everything but by this time I was running low on cash and it wasn’t a good idea to buy crap anyway ;)

We ended up not having enough time to go into a maid café but that would have been nice to see. Akihabara is getting quite famous for maid services. This is where a girl will do anything from serve coffee to give full body massages to cut hair and they do it all in cute maid get ups and go the extra mile to literally baby you (just short of feed you) and they call you the Japanese equivalent of master. I saw these girls walking all over the place! It was crazy!

After all of that, Tomoe and Hiru escorted me to airport and I was very happy for their assistance. I said a hearty “See Ya” because there’s no way that I’ll never visit Tokyo again, and I was off!

My conclusion: In my opinion, Tokyo is the Japanese version of the world. I can do, see, and buy absolutely anything from all over the world the only catch is that is has a slight Japanese twist to it. The food is slightly different and the culture helps to switch a few things around but in the end, the world comes together in Tokyo. It has everything and everyone in it.

At the same time, I’m glad I don’t live in Tokyo. Sure, I’d like to shop everyday there, but I’d never learn Japanese and it really doesn’t feel like Japan. Not true Japan. When people see Japan on TV they are seeing Tokyo. What they don’t know is that that is not real life at all. It’s like looking at Hollywood and saying it’s the same as Ohio. Sure, they have their similarities like….pizza…but they stop there! Hollywood is not reality! And neither is Tokyo. It’s a fantasy that is too expensive for most people to live in ;)

0 shared their love:

Spreading Nina Love All Over the World - by Templates para novo blogger