私は東京に住んでいます。

I left the hotel in Paris at 6:30 am after 5 hours of sleep. Too early, I thought, the flight was scheduled on 11:50 am. At the train station, they changed the platform from where the train to the airport was running. There they informed us that the train didn't go all the way to the airport and that we had to take a bus from certain station.

When pulling up my luggage on the train, the handlebar got broken. Another foreigner who also wanted to get on helped me to pull it up and when the luggage was in. The door closed and train left leaving him and his wife out. Poor guy, if it wasnít for my luggage they would make it.

So we got as far as possible by the train and there we got the instructions to take bus number 317 and then the hotel bus 350. The employee of the train station assigned me a French dude to take me there, since he, as the employee of the airport, was trying to get there too. We tried to get to the bus 317, but all the exits from the station leading to the bus were closed, discovering that with my dragging the luggage up and down the stairs.

He tried to ask about it and another station employee told him to take the bus 316 and then 351. The first bus took us somewhere and there we waited for the second one, and waited for very long time. Two 351ís came and didnít take us, because they didn't go all the way to the airport. The second driver ended up yelled at by the people complaining about the lack of communication between the transportation services and the bus drivers themselves. Third one took us filling up the entire bus. I was standing on one foot only. And the ride was long.

At the airport I checked in and then waited in a long queue for the security check. At first, I was assigned to the queue for non-EU citizens. I discovered it soon, returned to the guy and corrected him that Slovakia belongs to the EU. It was almost my turn to get checked when military guys showed up and sent us away because of some suspicious luggage. If I was assigned to the correct queue at the beginning I would have passed before that. I happened to be close by when they told us we could return. So I didnít have to wait in the queue again.

In the airplane I was sitting next to a French guy younger than me, who has traveled and lived throughout most of the central Asia. Itís always nice to meet an interesting person. I knew we were to land before 7 am while it would be midnight for me. I planned to sleep well in the airplane so I could stay up the whole Japanese day while it was time to sleep for me. But the bastards had movies there and I watched 5 of them instead of sleeping.

The sun set before 6 pm and rose before 11 pm. It was very short night. At the airport in Tokyo they electronically scanned my index fingers and photographed my face. My new French friend helped me to get to the city. I got off one station after him, changed to another train and then took taxi although it was very near but I didnít know where, I forgot to print the map.

I couldnít go to sleep for two reasons. It is recommended to go to sleep only when the local time is up to it, in order to fight the jetlag. And the check in was possible only after 4 pm anyway. So I went out to the city to try to buy the plug adapter for being able to use my European cables with their wall sockets.

I found the electronic town at Akihabara as my French friend from the airplane had advised me to do. There I bought one. The lady there asked me from which country I was, I told her Europe, she insisted on country, I told her France. She would only get confused with Slovakia. And then at the hotel I discovered that she has sold me an adapter for them the Japanese to use their stuff in France.

After all, checked at the hotel, I borrowed a correct plug adapter there. I forced myself to stay awake for a while longer. I went out to buy some milk and cookies. Thatís the main quest in every new country, to find cookies I could learn to like. I entered two small stores near by, but didnít find any suitable cookies. I bought some chocolate cakes instead. During the first week in Japan, I had eaten more rice than in Europe in one year. They served it even for the breakfast in the hotel.

They drive on left side, so the cars tend show up from the unexpected direction. People stand on left side of the escalators. Some girls are dressed like dolls. I bought donuts and they gave me chopsticks with them, I tried it, but it was too difficult. At the city hall while registering as the alien, the woman there studied my passport and she, who dealt with foreigners every working day, said that it was the first time she saw a Slovak passport.

We are taking the shoes off before entering the office, the same in my residence before entering the whole building. At the bank, while getting a bank account, the lady behind the counter used yahoo translator to communicate with me. She wrote it there in Japanese, let it translate, turned the laptop to me and I read the output.

After one week in a hotel I have moved to a place for students and researchers. I have a room three times larger than the one I had in France for the same price. We talk in German with the manager of the residence, as he has spent three years in Germany, but I am determined to learn Japanese. I couldnít get to nearby gym because they didnít speak English.

My 15th country visited; 4th country I lived in.

Comments:

Chris:
Your stories get more fascinating with every new entry. Each paragraph was a delight to read. The adventure of a lifetime! Thanks for sharing it with us. The day you start eating donuts with chopsticks, you will have learned all there is to know about Japan!!!

Milan Toma:
hehe, thanks Chris. I asked my Japanese colleagues about the chopsticks and donuts and they told me she made a mistake and wasn't supposed to confuse me with them :)

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