Most that are reading this blog probably already know, but I’ve been accepted in a scholarship to study in Japan for one year. This scholarship in question is Science Without Borders, a scholarship from the Brazilian government that sends thousands of students to study abroad. I’m required to mention it on every article I publish, but I’m not sure my travel blog is what they had in mind when they made that rule.
But before I tell you all about Glorious Nippon, I’d like to tell you the stories of how I actually got here. Because I’m still surprised it all panned out.
Fydventures #1: Going to the US
The flight I took had a stopover on the US, specifically on New York. Reason one I decided for this one is because it was cheaper when I first looked at the prices. Actual reason is that I really wanted to meet chu, my bby best tomodachi that lives there.
However, my phone is crappy so I was pretty much phoneless. And I read about our meeting point like 5 min before taking my plane, and the meeting point ended up being unreachable after you go through customs. Which ended up in me walking to the next terminal to get free wifi, sending her a message and buying donuts with a 100$ bill to get change to call her. I honestly have no idea how all this worked, but I met her on time!
Her and her mom took me to eat breakfast, and then we took a stroll through a neighborhood that had a lot of mexicans, koreans, chinese and japanese stores. It was really fun and I’m really glad I got to meet my friend, even if it was for such a short time (*´∀｀*) (maybe that’s for the best since my English was slipping badly ｈａｈａｈａ)
Fydventures #3: Arriving at Japan
Because the arrangements for picking us up to take us to the dorm was made after we all bought the plane tickets, we were told we had to spend one night at a hostel or at the airport and wait for our pick-up on the next day after arriving. I arranged to go to a cheap hostel ,which had pick up at the airport, together with the other two girls from my dormy.
Problem is, I only realized they weren’t from the same flight as me on the day of the trip. We made quick arrangements to meet at the baggage pick up, which – guess what? – ALSO isn’t reachable if you exit customs. To make things worse, their flight – which came from Dubai – arrived at a different terminal from mine.
My luck is that the girls from my flight also had to meet with the people from the Dubai flight. My second lucky streak was that their flight was delayed, so I had time to arrive at the terminal before they arrived and drifted away looking for me. Lucky!
After meeting with them, we called the hostel owner and requested pick up. Thanks to my newly acquired knowledge of public phones from the US adventure, I only lost a 100 yen coin this time! Then, after the pick up arrived and barely fit all our bags on the chiisai kuruma, we went to the hostel.
The hostel in itself was an adventure. It is basically a big house where you have a futon on a shared room. Since we arrived at Narita (as requested, even though Haneda was a lot closer to the dormy…), the hostel was in the middle of a really rural and peaceful area. This ruined our plans of roaming around to find a place to have dinner – our “luck” was that they sold instant ramen at the hostel (for 50Y!!). So our first meal in Japan… was basically miojo.
The hostel isn’t bad, but it’s definitely not for picky people either. It is really cheap (2,500 yen a night!), but that must be because you don’t pay for the hospitality lol. We weren’t treated badly, but it was an weird experience – for instance, even though “breakfast” is included in the price, we had to ask for it (after sitting for half an hour watching the owner eat his breakfast waiting for an opening) so he’d grab some toasts from the freezer and throw in the counter without saying anything. It was definitely a weird experience! He didn’t seem like a bad person tho – I’m sure he would have warmed up more to us if we talked less in portuguese (which is something we gotta do ASAP…).
The room was a lot more comfortable than I was expecting. Since it was a small room, it was basically just us three and a lady who seemed to sleep through all the time we were there (from 8pm to 10 am). Not pictured are some lockers and a area where we rested our bags. The hostel also had a boys room (which I think I accidentally entered looking for the bathroom) and a private room for couples and maybe some other rooms I didn’t spot. This room is on the second floor, btw, meaning we had to leave the house every time we went to the main area.
We took a stroll around the hostel before leaving back to the airport. It is a really nice rural area, full of big houses and plantations. The sound of the summer cicadas was delightful ♥ skreee skreee skreee
After going back to the airport, we faced with our next adventure: getting to the meeting point.
Fyadventures #3: Getting to the meeting point
(also known as “getting to know Tokyo’s metro”)
Another thing I discovered on the day of the trip was that the meeting point was nowhere near the airport as I had previously thought. I mean, it is only obvious that if there is a pick up it would be close to the airport, right? There are reasons for that though, but I’m getting to that later.
And so we had our first adventure at Tokyo’s metro. In retrospect it was actually a really useful trip – it was a easy moodo way of getting to know the subway. There is only one line and one direction at the airport, most people there understand English, and we had to change trains only once (which I’m pretty sure we only got right because some divine force was watching over us). Only problem is – my motion sickness hit strongly and I spent the whole way concentrating on not passing out or vomiting my dear breakfast.
When we arrived at our destination, we had another unpleasant surprise: The pick up wasn’t by car or bus as we were hoping for, it was another dormy resident which understood English that came to pick us up and show us the way. And so back to the trains we went… Knowing our pick up was just another resident explained why they didn’t come pick us up at the airport, but since we had to go so far away by ourselves anyway it doesn’t make sense to not just tell us to go to the dormy on our own, or at least tell us to meet her at the right station. Oh well ┐(´ー｀)┌
We then arrived at our Dormy, Ayase Ladies!! But this is a story for another day. Oyasumi nasai!