About 7 hours ago I arrived at Tokyo Narita, after a nice flight and an unexpectedly good sleep. My seat neighbor was Masayoshi, a Japanese guy studying History who was on his way back from a month-long stay in Freiburg. His German was decent but he wanted to keep on practicing, so I couldn’t yet put much of my Japanese skills to the test. At least he gave me some awesome hints as to where to find good stuff and cheap food around the apartment into which I’ll move tomorrow, and which will by my home for the next four month. More on that, probably tomorrow.
At the hotel, I was greeted by a small group of tired-looking Vulcanus colleagues, but there was no time to be wasted so after a quick shower, we went out to look for dinner. We got lucky at a small Udon Noodle shop in Akasaka. Instead of ordering at a counter, or asking a waiter, you have to put your money into a machine with a button for each dish they offer. It prints a ticket, which you take to your seat, then a nice lady reads the ticket, yells your order to the kitchen and around 5 seconds later, your dinner is ready to eat. Plus, free green tea!
Afterwards we took a stroll down Akasaka-Dori, ending at the Hie Shrine, a nice shinto temple on a tiny hill in the middle of the city. It was closed and dimly lit, but some lanterns were still shining, it had a nice atmosphere. And even up there you could get a nice cold drink out of the vending machine, while the spirits watched. In the end we somehow managed to find our way back to the hotel through the small and nameless streets of Akasaka. Tomorrow we will have a briefing at the EU-Japan Center, and we’ll all know more about the upcoming weeks and months. And hopefully, my camera will capture some first impressions to share here. Until then, I’m off to sleep, hoping that jetlag will spare me from waking up at 5 in the morning..