I've already been in Japan for over a month- how time flies! It's been incredibly busy, in a good way, and I'm already starting to feel like living here is my real life. I'm getting a handle on the most important aspect of my new life, which is Tokyo's train system- or at least, I'm getting a handle on the three lines I ride with any regularity, and getting better at not feeling overwhelmed by the size of the stations and how many people are in them at any given time. It still amazes me that it's possible to know, to the minute, when the trains will leave their station: the sheer organizational power!
Given that the train system comprises the city's arteries, it shouldn't surprise me as much as it did that the English students who have mentioned driving have such a different relationship to it than I do. Back home I had a thirty-five minute drive to work and drove about three hundred miles a week, and often found any additional driving to be tiresome. But I've had two students mention that they love to go driving on their days off, and one said that the hours-round-trip drive there was one of the reasons why he loves going to his favorite hot springs. Maybe after a year of not driving I'll miss it, but for now I'm excited by the thought of not getting behind a steering wheel any time soon.
I think a large part of why living in Tokyo is feeling like reality is that I've finally started work rather than training, found a grocery store, and started cooking meals since I moved into the Murder Lodge. (Oh, right, I moved! Given everything else, that actually seems like small potatoes.) Every so often I still think about how strange it is to be living in one of the most exciting cities in the world, halfway around the world from home, but more and more that's just how I roll- I'm cool like that now, even though I am not now, nor will I ever be, in the same fashion league as the tragically hip youth* I see all over. (In related news, Japanese people have amazing skin, and I cry myself to sleep at night** because I have no hope of aging so well.)
Anyway, speaking of Tokyo being so exciting, I have a party to show up fashionably late to. I promise I will post more soon!
*Aged ~15 to ~50. I cannot tell, because, again, amazing skin. Given the ages my students have claimed they are, I can only conclude that everyone looks 25 until they're 80, and then they acquire a few fine wrinkles.
**As you may have guessed, this is not a literal statement.