Tokyo, Japan

One week into it...

I have to admit...those first few days left me questioning my ability to survive this place, but the acquisition of a cell-phone and some much needed rest seem to have helped my outlook tremendously. Granted...I am still without a job and also without a home, but I am working feverishly towards attaining the former so that I may then tackle the home dilemma. Tokyo is, by far, the most sprawling city I've ever been in. So I have to wait until I know where I'll be working, or I may wind up living 2 hours away. It's all a bit overwhelming, for sure...but I feel really good about being here.

The first thing that really strikes me about Tokyo, is that it's so completely self-sustained, they have little need to cater to tourists. Needless to say, this makes things rather difficult for a little American girl who doesn't speak a lick of Japanese. So here I find myself...illiterate...and unable to communicate. But it's an incredibly humbling feeling...and I appreciate what I'm learning from it.

There are definitely the unexpected advantages as well. How often can I walk down the street or ride a bus without being assaulted by a cacophony of voices and conversations that have nothing to do with me? Here...I understand nothing...so I have nothing but my own thoughts to contend with. And I'm learning to use other senses to get by. I haven't much choice. Ordering food is a whole new kind of guessing game...I'm reduced to pointing and hoping that I get something edible...

I'm also realizing, all too late, that finding an ATM that will accept my card is a challenge all it's own. Once again...I'm in Japan. I've landed in a frighteningly expensive city...and I can't even withdraw money without planning an entire day around doing just that. At least I have my cell-phone now, so venturing out into bustling Tokyo is far less scarey. For all of you who love techy-gadgets and fun electronic toys...you'd be in heaven here. My phone allows me to email anyone anytime I see fit as well as receive email and it costs virtually nothing. I can also send 'Skymail' to other cellphones in Tokyo for free...so Kaila and I are forever sending eachother little messages. Too much fun! The best part... is the built in digital camera. So...if I'm on the fiftieth floor of some building with a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji, I can snap a photo and email it to someone back home just before calling them to say....'here I am!' Being that I'm a photo junkie...this is a dangerous freedom. ;)

A few interesting observations...

1. The toilet seats here are HEATED...(I'm lovin' that one)
2. Regardless of the population, the streets are surprisingly clean...even though garbage cans are few and far between. All of their garbage is seperated into Burnable and Non and about ten other categories. Whatever it is they're doing...it's working.
3. Cell-phones are required to be turned off while on public transport as they 'disturb the neighbor'(funny...cause this just means that everyone is busy sending text messages. Hey, I'm already guilty of falling into this all too addictive activity.)
4. while everything else is considerably more expensive than at home...Sushi is cheaper (This also makes me happy :)

Stay tuned...

xoxo