This past week has been a lot about adjustment. Lots of firsts and new things and setting things up and settling myself down. I took my first Japanese shower, took the Japanese placement exam, set up a bank account, cell phone, registration, and stuff like that. Oh, and riding the Japanese train. I got a little bit lost the first time, but it’s actually not too hard to find your way through the train system. In Tokyo’s system they have lots of signs in both Japanese and English. Because I have so much to learn in my Japanese studies, I try to look at the Japanese signs. The hard part for me though is once you get off the trains, where in the world do you go from there? Most roads don’t have names, so you have to go totally based off of visual memory, other signs and landmarks. The first time I returned home by myself, I got lost and had to repeatedly ask for directions. I was glad I knew how to do that though!
I also went to my university for the first time, Sophia University (上智大学), for orientation. At first glance, it doesn’t necessarily seem too big. But then you realize most of the buildings are at least five floors or more, not including the one-to-two basement levels. The orientation was for all the study abroad students, so there were multiple nationalities there. But after the official briefing, we were able to meet some Japanese students who gave us a tour of the campus and took us to the cafeteria for lunch. And I tell you the truth: Very few times in my life have I ever seen so many Japanese in one place before! I was just stunned at this view of how, as far as one could see, everyone was Japanese. Every time I’m confronted with a view like this, I have to stop and marvel at it.