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travel + culture

on the road and what's out there.


New Life in Japan, Week 1

Caitlin Surakitbanharn

i mentioned several times previously that i was leaving the States for an adventure in living abroad...Japan to be exact.  well, my finals for my first semester back at school came and went, and my 12.5 hour flight came and went, and i am happily writing to you from our futon in the tatami-mat bedroom in our amazing apartment in Yokohama-shi!  

the first week has been an incredible experience so far!  i mean, beyond the obvious of being so happy to be back with my boyfriend again - Japan is amazing.  we love it here, and we don't ever want to leave!  as a glutenator (one who cannot eat gluten), i am in heaven in this country, as 90% of the diet is perfectly fine for me, so i'm having the time of my life, eating like a normal human being at restaurants and counter restaurants!  

and wait. you guys.  the shopping!  i've only experienced a small taste of what Tokyo has to offer, but the shopping is 50 million times better than anything in New York (and that's coming from the mouth of a New Yorker!)!  we went shopping in Shinjuku last weekend, and we got off the train and walked into a mall area that is adjacent to the station, and the first three stores were Laudree, Opening Ceremony, and Dean & Deluca.  i turned to Jao and asked him "where the f-ck are we?! heaven?"  we then proceeded to Isetan, which is like Barneys, Bergdorfs, and Nordstroms combined... but i'll talk about more shopping next time.  

pictures from the first week... lots of food!!

the night i arrived - best sushi ever in Hiyoshi, and we were happy campers.

counter restaurant for dinner before making a sketchy Craiglist pick-up for a full-length mirror.

this is me and my BIKE!  Jao bought us some bikes before i arrived, and we are totally a bike gang.  we ride our bikes everywhere, and there's nothing i love more than slinging my PS1 across my body and riding to meet him for lunch! i even ride my bike in miniskirts.  its pretty serious.

up at Tokyo University for a meeting (he had a meeting.  i did not attend a meeting in thigh highs).

rooftop terrace of Seibu, a massive department store in Ikabakuro. 

i've decided to take up learning Kanji - it is really a major part of the communication in Japan, and it's my project.  so we went to this 54820 story bookstore (it was the biggest bookstore i've ever seen), and bought a few "learn kanji" books.  

out and about in Tokyo.
on campus at Keio, where we are studying.

out to dinner with Minato-senei (on the left, second in).  this place had amazing food but the menu was REAL (aka no pictures, just katakana/kanji), so we could have never eaten here without Minato-sensei (our advisor).  this was also my first "drinking with the Japanese" experience and the initial sake round was fast and furious and intense.  it got the night going!

later on that evening....continuing the sake drinking.....

at the train station after picking up the rice cooker - another sketchy craiglist experience, but always fun!

at Hip-Hop Soba!  this is a soba place that plays GANGSTA rap super loud the entire time.  it could be my favorite restaurant we've eaten at so far!  i loved the soba, it's so cool for me to be able to partake in the noodle experience and not be violently ill later on (soba is gluten free!).   the best part of this experience was they played my song...the Fabolous song... "Louboutin shoes, she got too much pride, her feet are killin' her, i call it shoeicide..."  !!!!!!  

so that's the first update - life here is great.  we are really enjoying our daily routine and i'm really happy here!  i feel like i have more energy than ever, and i'm just really having a great time here.  i miss my family of course, but this is one hell of a ride and i'm loving every second of it!  

love from the other side...