Monday, September 12, 2016

Adjusting to Tokyo (Emma)

Tokyo view
Personally, I have always been good at remembering places and directions, which has come in handy so far during my study abroad experience. Knowing where I am has not been a problem (so far) during my time in Japan. While I have purposefully tried to go off the beaten path and get around by going down windy residential roads, I haven’t really encountered the experience of being physically lost yet. Mentally and emotionally lost is another story, but I think that comes hand in hand with moving to a country that has an entirely different language and culture.
My Street
Because I was able to visit Tokyo earlier this summer, I feel like my adjustment period has been very different from the other exchange students at my dorm. Having a good grasp of the Rikkyo campus and the area around Shiki Station has led to me spending a lot more time exploring other areas of Tokyo. Even though I’ve been living at my RUID Shiki for a grand total of 5 days, most of those days have been spent exploring other districts. I’ve gotten very used to taking the  trains everywhere, and it’s given me a much better sense of Tokyo- just the everyday hustle and bustle of people on their commute. Being constantly surrounded by crowds has been exhausting, but I’ve found myself growing more accustomed to it every day. In some ways, following the crowds has lead me to some very interesting places. However, I do want to find more streets and neighborhoods that don’t have a constant stream of people.
Big A Supermarket
Part of my goal this weekend is to start getting to know the area around my dorm, and to spend less time exploring Tokyo as a whole. The weather has been incredibly humid lately, so the thought of just walking around my neighborhood with no real destination in mind hasn’t been that enticing. However, it’s starting to sink in that I’m actually here for a long time. While I’ve been a frequent visitor at the discount food store down the street, I want to find some other grocery shopping options. I want to know if the gyoza restaurant I see every morning on my walk to the station has any good food. Part of me doesn’t want to stop being a tourist, but the moment classes start I know I’ll have to begin focusing more on school and frequenting the cafes and restaurants that are close by.  My mental map around my dorm feels very empty at the moment and I want to be able to expand my knowledge of this city. While my residence card may label me as a Shiki resident, in many ways I still feel like a visitor.
My Map

3 comments:

Hannah said...

I've found that thinking and looking like you know exactly what you're doing makes you really believe you know what you're doing and you feel more and more like you've been there forever. Really you never stop being a tourist since there's always something new to see. :)

Millie FAN said...

Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo!!! There are lots of good restaurants and Grocery stores!!! I hope you can have a colorful food map in your mind hahaha ^ ^

Ethan Rosa said...

Tokyo looks great! Hirakata feels big to me but looking at you picture of Tokyo it looks monstrous. I bet there are lots of great places to explore.