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Yet another blog about Japan

The first days

JAPAN | Saturday, 26 September 2015 | Views [472]

The view from my room

The view from my room

All Vulcanusians spent their first night in a nice hotel in Tokyo. When I arrived in the evening my roommate Veronika was already there and almost sleeping. I took a quick shower (which felt like paradise), took the room key and met the others, who had arrived in Tokyo at the same time, again. Together we went to a ramen place closeby and enjoyed our first meal in Japan - delicious (and paradise again)! Then I could finally supply my greatest need: sleep.

The night wasn't exactly as refreshing as I thought. First, I couldn't sleep due jetlag, and when we had to get up after this short night I felt like it was midnight - thanks again, jetlag! During the breakfast I slowly managed to wake up. The hotel offered both western and Japanese food, and I ended up with a weird mix of western and Japanese, sweet and savoury. The highlight of the breakfast: Nattō (なっとう). Fermented soybeans with a slimy consistency and awful taste (I don't know what is worse - Nattō or Durian...). Everything else was tasty and fortunately I could get rid of the Nattō taste in my mouth again. 

We proceeded to the Omote-sando Business Centre, where we had the first, though brief meeting. We got a few information about the course of events in the first few days, opening a bank account, registration at the city hall, the payments of the scholarship, ... Maybe the most important item of the agenda was the payout in cash of the first part of the scholarship.

In the end, we were picked up by our supervisors of the company. They brought us to the dormitory in Isehara - which is about 60km from Tokyo - and acted as interpretors when the dorm manager gave us all the information in Japanese... I was very releaved, when I saw that my suitcase had safely arrived in the dormitory.

After all formalities were done, we could go into our rooms and check if everything was ok. Of the five Vulcanusians in my dormitory I'm the only one who has an induction cooker. Apart from that, all rooms are almost the same. For some reason we are spread more or less in the whole building. Giacomo lives in the ground floor (which is called 1st floor here), Veronika and Carla stay in 4th floor, but at opposite ends of the building, and Dominika's and my rooms are in 7th floor, but also far apart from each other.

We didn't spend much time in our rooms, because we went (by car) to the company, NTT, where the very friendly, patient and helpful manager from the company, Mizuki Otani, took care of more formalities, e.g. paying the bedding/refrigerator/microwave, filling in the forms for the registration at the city hall, ... it took the whole afternoon and although it was a good atmosphere and not boring at all, I was happy when it was over and we could go "home" (the basically empty rooms of the dormitory didn't feel like home at all). Another intern (not Vulcanus though) showed us how to go home by bus and also a small supermarket close to our dorm. 

In the evening it turned out, that the bedding provided by NTT didn't include any bedclothes. I spent the first nights on my sleeping bag, later I got a blanket from Carla. From then I sleept on the blanket and under my sleeping bag... Only after three weeks I could finally buy bedclothes - a huge improvement for my room!

In the next morning we met Mizuki again to register at the city hall. Besides enjoying the free wifi we didn't have much to do, but we met クルリン, the mascot of Isehara:

Kururin, the mascot of Isehara


In the afternoon we went to the second part of the meeting, again in Omote-sando Business Centre. We got further, more detailed information about the whole programme. From there we were proceeded to another hotel, where the welcome reception took place. Besides the Vulcanusians and the staff of the EU-Japan Centre many ambassadors from participating countries and representatives of the host companies were invited to this very formal event.

My "family" in Japan

My Japanese "family": Carla, Dominika, Giacomo, me and Veronika (from left to right)


The following days were as busy as the previous ones. We opened a bank account, went shopping in to Daiso (a 100¥ shop), and again, had an orientation in the language school, including a Hiragana and Katakana test (which was ok), ... Having internet only very sporadic complicated matters. But at least being busy as hell all the time prevented us of feeling homesick.

Tags: busy, first days, getting settled

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