Woke up at 5 AM today, just as expected..
After a breakfast at the hotel (a combination of eggs with bacon and rice with natto) we went to the EU-Japan Center for a brief introduction, and a schedule for the upcoming days. Though the presentation seemed largely improvised, with the boss of the Center basically repeating everything that Keiko-san (the lady in charge of the Vulcanus Programme) had said just a minute earlier, we did get some useful information. After the talk and a quick meal bought at the convenience store downstairs, a HR-Woman of Hitachi picked me and four other guys up to take us to our dormitory.
From today, until early January, I will stay at a single room in Takadanobaba, complete with my own bathroom, a tiny tiny kitchen, some utensils (even a rice cooker) and free internet. Valerio (IT), Diederik (NL), Dominic (UK) and my future colleague at the internship site in Kudamatsu, James (UK) are also staying in the same residence. Amazingly, we arrived at about 2:10 PM, and our luggage, which we had given up at the airport and set the delivery time between 2 and 4 PM, had already been carried up inside our rooms. Japanese efficiency at its best.
Shortly after, we went to the Shinjuku City Hall to register as citizens, and to get the certificate necessary for getting a bank account and a mobile phone contract. We even got some nice leaflets on life in Japan, ranging from garbage sorting to what to do in the case of an earthquake.
In the evening, after settling down in what will be our home for the next four months, we (the Takadanobaba group) set out to explore our part of town, and buy some notebooks for school while we were at it. While strolling down the busy streets we came across a group of about six young Japanese guys, which described themselvesas “a few students, a few workers and a few NEETs”, which turned out to stand for neither in education, employment or training, just like the Spanish “NiNi”. They were really friendly, but it was obvious one of them had had just a beer too much, and he kept rambling on about Tokyo and its nightlife, without making any sense.
While their little group went on to go to a “Girls bar” (we are still not quite sure what that implies), we headed for an Izakaya close to the dorm, which some exchange students from the US had recommended, adding that it was a good idea to get amember card for the place. So we went, and despite long explanations (in Japanese) by one of the employees, we weren’t really sure what the benefits becoming a member would be. After a long discussion, we decided to simply apply for the membership (whatever it meant, it was only 300 yen) and go in for a beer. Little did we know that we were also required to order at least one food dish per person, although we had just come from having dinner, and the ice cream which would have been the perfect dessert, did not classify as “food”, so we ended up with a second dinner in the form of roasted chicken on a stick. And in the end, the membership even paid out with good discounts (why couldn’t they just explain that in a simple way?), so we might just go there again in the future.
I’ll attach some photos of the way from the Station to our dormitory, as well as different shots of my room.