Well, after a lot of planning and preparation, we finally made it to Japan, starting our one year working holiday. Clearing customs was a bit of a chore; we had to show our visas at passport control and the guards filled in a tonne of forms. Looking across the counter at Ben it seemed he was having a lot more explained to him, but my guy spoke very little.
After collecting our bags at the airport we got the NEX express train to Shinjuku and got on the next train to Higashi Kogenei, the area we’ll be spending our first month in.
Foreigners can get a special discount ticket when they visit that gives you a cheaper express ticket into the city, and a ‘Suica’ card that basically works like a top up cash card for trains, vending machines and other bits and pieces:
Getting to the apartment was easy enough, the person from Oak House apartments picked us up from the station. Ben will put a more in detailed post about our apartment later. Keep your eyes open for this.
The train station is about a 20 minute walk. Unlike most English train stations Japanese ones have lots of shops and food places attached to them.
I found a shop called Its’ Demo were I bought a nail set for 1000yen which is around £6.00. The set was part of a limited opening offer, and altogether should have been 5,000yen.
In the afternoon we got the train to Kichijoji which is three stops away on the Chuo line. Kichijojo is a much bigger area than Higashi Koganei and has a lot of the bigger shops. We didn’t explore too much as we started to feel tired; but I did buy a Hello Kitty eyelash case holder that you can attach to your phone or bag for only 100yen (60p)!
On Wednesday we went to Ikebukuro and it rained all day!
Ikebukuro has a few Sanrio (Hello Kitty) shops which I enjoyed looking at 😉
There’s also a big Book Off (sells second hand manga, books, dvds, games etc), Sunshine City (a big shopping Centre with an aquarium, lots or arcades, a street thats sells manga and anime for girls and much more….. We’ll talk about each area more in its own post.
As the jet lag was still catching up with us we decided to take it easy the next day and just walk around the local park. Started getting a cold as well. Kogenei park is very big (the second biggest in Tokyo); it even has an open air museum in it. When the weather is warm I will go have a look around it.
On Friday we went to the city ward office near Musashi-Kogenei station to register that we are staying in the area, this is required for Visas. It was a nice sunny day, so we ate lunch outside.
I bought a cute top and skirt from a big shopping mall around the corner from the station. I also bought make up from Donkihote. Donki is a chain of shops around Japan, probably easiest described as an upmarket version of Home Bargains or B&M but with more atmosphere and lots of fun products. It’s started to sound like all I do is shop, but these are all essentials for the trip and much cheaper to buy here than in the UK!
We were just about to leave the town when it started to snow!