I woke up at my capsule hotel in Tokyo yesterday. The hotel was practically empty. I packed all my bags and checked out. I had two large bags and a backpack. Pretty much everything I owned. I did managed to get rid of some clothing, books and other stuff before I left China, but still my stuff was heavy as you can imagine. My big suitcase has wheels and I can roll it and put my duffle on top.
I headed for Tokyo Station and went to the money exchange. The man at the money exchange was young and a trainee. It took a long time for them to do the exchange. They had to count the money then they asked a few questions. As I was leaving they asked me how long I was staying. Ugh… Because I was staying for a year they took the money back. It made no sense sense I was only angry because they had wasted my time. I held back my frustrations and cussed them after I left. They must not know about money exchange machines which are accessible to everyone and require no ID. They also give a better exchange rate, which I was quite happy about. These machines are popping up at places like 7-11 and train stations.
I bought a ticket for the Shinkansen and made my to the platform. I looked at the ticket. I could read a date but that was it. I felt like an idiot. It was confusing because there was no train number or time on the ticket, but eventually I asked a guy in Japanese. After I got to the platform, I double checked to make sure I was getting on the right train. I spotted a bento box shop and went inside. All the bentos were neatly stacked and had well designed packages. They all looked so good. Finally, I bought a rice ball and some fried chicken and a green tea.
My train arrived and I got on, and lugged my bags behind me. The train was very quiet and only three people were in my car. I found a seat and leaned back. Plenty of leg room and a nice food tray in front. If you haven’t travelled by Shinkansen I recommend it. It’s pricy, but my favourite way to travel. It’s easy and you can enjoy the scenery. After an hour I made it to my destination.
I’ve moved to a small city in the countryside.
I have two strong feelings about it. Feeling A: I am a city man at heart, and I have a fear of not being able to make friends here in a small city and being alone. Feeling B: I’ve lived in cities for most of the past five years and I’m ready to live in a more quiet environment.
Right now, “Feeling A”, is prevailing but I have to make the best of it. For sure, my job here will be better than Tokyo. And living here will definitely improve my Japanese skills.
My city does have some decent shopping areas, restaurants and izakayas (Japanese bars). I’ve explored it a little and found some decent cafes and coffee shops and grocery stores. I’ve lived in a lot worse places, a Chinese suburb with no convenience stores, A city blistering hot in Saudi Arabia, the very dense pollution of Beijing, I could go on. I’m no newbie, when it comes to tough places to live in.