Monday, 13 July 2009

The Eagle has landed

KONNICHIWA TOKYO! I actually arrived yesterday, but was so knackered that I fell asleep really early and didn't have time to post on here. So much has happened already and I've only been in the country for 40 hours! Where to start...

The flight was great and the food was the best I've had on a plane journey for a long time. I didn't manage to get much sleep though, which was a bit rubbish. When I got to the airport, I went to use the toilet and hilarity ensued... All the toilets were 'super toilets', i.e. they have hundreds of different buttons on them that are all in Japanese and utterly indecipherable. I pressed the one with a picture of a toilet on it in an attempt to flush it but it only made a flushing sound affect from a speaker - this is to disguise your 'toilet sounds' I later read. I couldn't work out how to actually flush the thing and was too scared to press any of the other buttons for fear of water squirting out in every direction (they have various 'cleaning' options, one with a picture of a bum on it). I started giggling and ended up spending an extra 5 minutes in the cubicle, laughing quite audibly, until I found the flush. Needless to say, I got a few strange looks when I walked out...

Getting from Narita to Tokyo (who builds an airport 60km from the city centre?!) turned out to be really straightforward - I just hopped on a bus to Tokyo Station and got a taxi from there to my apartment. The bus journey was interesting - every spare plot of land between the massive buildings and factories has been irrigated and turned into rice paddies, making for some pretty contrasting scenery.

After getting into my flat, I went for a bit of a wander to find myself some food for dinner and breakfast. I went to the local Family Mart and 7/11 shops and bought a load of random stuff, including an individually wrapped banana. I had the banana with an adzuki-filled pancake for breakfast this morning.

Dinner last night consisted of some of the stuff I'd bought plus a non-descript fried thing on a stick that I'd pointed at in a shop. It turned out to be a pork and leek skewer, fried in panko crumbs, and was quite delicious.

I then explored the subway a bit to work out how I could get to work. This turned out to be one of the most disorientating experiences of the day as, on the escalators that lead up and down to the underground, people stand ON THE LEFT!! Having used the London undeground quite a lot (I'm forever popping down to London for one thing or another), it seemed really odd to not stand patiently on the right. It really does show how at home I've been made to feel already if that is the most alien thing I've encountered so far.

I'm flaking again (goodness only knows what time it is in my head) so will have to write about my first day at work after my second, tomorrow evening. I have SO much to learn - financiers speak a completely different language as far as I'm concerned just now... But I'm really looking forward to heading to the Tokyo Stock Exchange tomorrow morning :)

Popped into the restaurant around the corner from my flat to get some grub this evening, ending up with me, the waiter and the chef in absolute stitches as a result of my extremely poor Japanese and their understanding of English. Somehow, I ended up with an utterly delicious meal! And they really enjoyed my attempts at conversation and the fact that I said yes to everything and then ate it. I got told I was very kawaisa for trying so hard :)

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