After a shockingly long time, I’ve posted ONE (yes, one) more entry from my travelogue thus far. It’s not really polished, but hey.
I have been feeling slightly guilty about neglecting updates recently, especially as it seems slightly more people are interested in reading about what I’m up to this time compared with Canada, where I wrote a lot more, ha.
Anyway… for now I am staying in Tokyo and taking a Japanese language course until the end of August. After that, I will probably stick around for an extra two or three weeks as I am also taking a corporate finance course from UCLA extension, and the final exam for that needs to be done by the 10th September. Probably easier to do it while I’m still stationary rather than on the road, though writing university applications for next year is going to prove interesting whilst travelling again, hmm..
The place where I live right now is seven minutes from Shibuya by train, and the rent is 2/3 the price of my place in Balham. The Japanese prime minister’s house is actually just down the road. Well, one of his houses, and apparently his favourite, but who knows! A policeman is permanently stationed outside the building in a mini-police box. This makes the location very easy to find for any would-be ne’er-do-wells. I feel sorry for the policeman who has to man the post, as it’s not the most exciting quiet residential street to be standing around in for hours at a time.
I recently acquired a mamachari (old woman style shopping bike resplendent with basket) from my friends Akemi and Matthieu, which means that in theory I can cycle to school every day, and most places around this side of town. This was a brilliant money-saving idea (although my train fare to Shibuya only costs 75p [for the sake of comparison, the equivalent London fare would be £2.40]), BUT (parents – look away now) I rode to school once and not only was I ridiculously hot by the time I got there, the roads were SCARY. For the most part you can ride along the pavement, but at points it gets too narrow so people dodge out into the road. Into oncoming traffic. On a three-lane road. Hmm. This would also be fine if my back tire wasn’t on the point of perishing completely, which causes a slight wobble with each turn of the back wheel :) still, what can be expected of a freebie?? And it’s pretty damn sexy.
I’m enjoying the language course, and think I am making some progress. My classmates are all Asian, and most of them are probably advantaged in that they can either read and write the Chinese characters (Taiwanese), or understand the grammar structure (Korean). Still, forces me to try hard to keep up. To start with the workload was fairly intense, but it seems to have calmed a little. Though am very wary that might be due to greater slacking off..! Which will bite me very soon when I have to take a test on the entire text book/course content up to this point in a couple of weeks’ time. Eek.
There have been a number of people passing through Tokyo in the past week or so that I know from home. Right now Gurpal is here, and I met up with Jeremy, Rena and Abs in the past week too. It’s great to have some familiar faces around to hang out with. Of course I have met some cool people here too, but old friends are old friends.
Anyway, my current plan is to be here ’til mid-September, then travel through the rest of Japan and around SE Asia, returning to England in mid-December. Plans, as always, subject to spontaneous changes!
Will try to write something more interesting next time round..! For now, I’m sure everyone will be relieved to hear that for the most part I am feeling a lot better about life these days :)