Friday 15 February 2013

Settling In

So the last few days have involved settling in to my new surroundings.  I went to the local government office to register my address with them and in the process, it became even more obvious how much Japanese I have lost since I last lived here.  I felt sorry for the poor lady who had to deal with me as I couldn't understand very much at all of what she was saying!  She ended up calling a co-worker who translated to me what the other lady was wanting to know from me.  As a result, the whole process took twice as long as what it would normally have, but we got there in the end!

The following day I went to the bank to open an account with them.  All of the staff there were really friendly, helpful and spoke great English.  This process was finished very quickly.  I had chosen this bank as all of their services are in both Japanese and English, including their online banking site!  Very convenient.

People often ask me what do i like about Japan.  One of my common answers is that Japan is a country of contrasts.  The example I often give is that you can be in the middle of Tokyo, one of the busiest and most populous cities in the world, then jump on a train, travel for an hour and be in a remote village where some people may not have seen, let alone met a foreigner.  I stumbled across another incredible example today of these contrasts that I love.  I did a trial run to get to my company's offices today as I have to be there to sign my contract tomorrow and I wanted to know how long it would take to get there and where exactly to go.  I found the place fine, and was just about to head back to the train station when I spotted an innocent looking group of trees that required a little more investigation.  Bearing in mind, the area that I was in looked like this:

Typical of downtown Tokyo.  I walked across the road to where the trees were and saw this:

It appeared to be the gateway to a temple!  In my previous post, I showed some photos of a temple near my house that was "guarded" by a couple of statues of dogs.  Well, this one was guarded by cats, both living and not!

I walked in and was amazed at the beauty of the place, and the peaceful, serene atmosphere of a temple, surrounded by greenery.

Absolutely incredible!  I was walking around stunned.  To find a place like this in the middle of Tokyo is just amazing, and really sums up the contrasts that I talk about.

However, I then stumbled upon something that reminded me of where I really was.....

Oh well, I guess the temple needs an income stream too right?  So I sat down with a bottle of coke zero, and just soaked up the atmosphere and became one with my surroundings.

Off to the office tomorrow, and then training starts and will continue for 3 days after which, work starts!

Speak to you soon.


  1. I swear that there would be a Coke machine sitting right next to St Peter's stool...

    Funny to see the whole language barrier thing working in advance - not wishing that on you at your own expense by the way ;)

    Best of luck with the training! Enjoy!

    - Alex

    1. Cheers Alex.
      I think you would have loved the irony of the whole situation!

  2. Hi Jason.Melissa showed me your blog...very interesting,especially as I did spend a couple of days in Tokyo...stayed at the Okura Hotel.Possibly you have been to Yanaka?I decided to go there, as I had read that it had escaped the bombing in World War11 and that it had a real country atmosphere..which in a way it did.I was fortunate to meet a retired Japanese guide,shortly after I got off the densha and he took me on a tour.We went to the large cemetery,along narrow residential streets and shopping lanes and to the Nezu Shrine,where we saw lots of Azaleas,which should be in bloom shortly.It was a real amd pleasant relief to get away from the hustle and bustle of the CBD.Noel

    1. Hi Noel, thanks for reading. I am happy that someone such as yourself is having a read and enjoying it. I had never been to Yanaka although I had visited an area nearby called Ameyoko, which has a similar feel to it, although with a slightly more commercial feel. I am curious to have a look at Yanaka though. It is very rewarding when you stumble upon little gems like this, I personally feel a real sense of satisfaction, awe and amazement when I come across places such as these. I promise to track Yanaka down and have a look. I do also hope to visit areas beyond Tokyo and write about them too in the future.
      Take care.