Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Japanniversary, Part Two (TO SHINJUKU! 新宿!)

So, in the first part of my 'Japanniversary post,' I felt it necessary to acknowledge the terrible tragedy that occurred around the time I arrived here last year. But since I'm incredibly self-absorbed and narcissistic (and redundant?), I feel that is also necessary to make a highly personalized post about what I've been up to in the past year.

So if my first year could be summed up in a few words, one of those words would be "suburbia." It's pretty much what I was living in, compared to now. Now, I live in MOTHER FREAKING SHINJUKU. In one of the metropolitan meccas of the world. I don't mean to boast (okay, maybe just a little bit), but it's kind of a big deal to me. Utsunomiya is the adorable-yet-boring-and-esthetically-displeasing-step-sister of Tokyo. Compared to the MAGNITUDE OF AWESOMENESS that is Shinjuku Tokyo, Utsunomiya just doesn't measure up.

Despite being exhausted from the move, I went out with a couple of people the other night, and ended up just walking around staring at all the shiny. There is so much shiny here. When it's night time- it's actually difficult to tell- So AMAZINGLY BAD is the light pollution here. You can see all the clouds in the sky AT 2 A.M.!!! The neon signs have baby neon signs.  It's freaking gorgeous.

If you want anything- and I mean ANYTHING- it's available in Shinjuku. An.y.thing. 24/7.

It's also home to the the busiest train/subway station in the world. Just under 4 million people pass through Shinjuku station every day. There are over 250 exits, and the station spans a good 10 square city blocks. At rush hour, it's complete madness. I'm in love, but I hold onto my purse pretty tight. It's also home to many of those horribly confusing 'multi-crosswalk' dealies. And they look like this (on a GOOD day);
Being in such an awesome place has reconfirmed any doubts I had about continuing my stay in Japan. And to slather the amazingness in MORE AWESOME... (man, I really gotta pick up a thesaurus)... it's SPRING!  And the cherry blossoms are back! Observe!
One of the schools that I teach at in Tokyo is in Ginza, known for being one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Japan. Most of Ginza is lined with designer shops and beautiful things that make my paycheck cry in the corner.

 And of course, there always seems to be some hollywood gaijin whoring themselves out to make a quick buck in Tokyo...

Richard Gere and Charlize Theron seem to be making the rounds on the Japanese advertizing circuit lately. It's funny for about 30 seconds... and then it's just kinda odd.

During my last couple days of classes in Utsunomiya, I received an incredible amount of flowers, cards and thank-you gifts. Some of which made my heart melt- particularly the ones from the 5-year-olds that can barely write their alphabets, let alone my name. One fantastic gift in particular was a bottle of white wine (from an adult student), which was infused with cherry blossom flowers. An interesting take on the concept of chardonnay;

 And the rest are odds and ends from my move/ being in a new place and taking pictures of random things;

 The Marunouchi Line, on a quiet afternoon.

 Just a thought- how did no one spot the awkwardness of this statue during the design process?!?! It's so awful, it's amazing.

I'm sure there'll be more pictures of random things in the coming days, but for now I'm off to bed.

I'll leave you with this Western-Thought-of-the-Day;

"Only in Japan can I walk down the street drinking a can of beer, but the cops will kick up a fuss if I light up a smoke."


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