Disclaimer: Copied&Pasted from my journal. No proofreading has been done for this entry yet. 😛
February 14, 2014: Japan Trip Day Two
Woke up at 4:30 a.m so I can leave the house at 6 a.m. Kuya Allen and I agreed to meet at Tokyo Station at 7 a.m so we can ride another train bound for Ochanomizu Station which is around five minutes away from Meiji University/Meiji Daigaku (or MeiDai for short).
My host mom, Yamada-san, was really kind enough to adjust with our plan. She woke up early, as well, to pack sandwiches and coffee (placed in a thermos) for me to bring to school. It was kind of funny when she noticed that I was still in the house at around 6:06 a.m, so she was like, “Your friend! 7am!!!” 😀 So after that she accompanied me halfway towards the station.
When I walked out of the apartment, my first reaction was “Woah!” It was still a bit dark outside, but there they were – soft, little, white droplets falling from the sky – snow! My first snow fall!:)
I then rode the Keihin Tohoku Line 1 or 3? Lol. Ticket price: 380 yen.
Loved the train ride at this hour ’cause there weren’t that much people yet. Though at some point in the trip, I noticed that Japanese people weren’t pushy in the train even if it became too crowded. Totally different from our country.
Furthermore, train rides in Japan are quiet. Like when the train stops in a station, it’s like there’s been a brownout ’cause everything and everyone are silent. Nobody talks inside. Nobody talks outside. Nobody even dares make a phone call. And you can actually sleep comfortably, assured that no one will rob you or anything.
Took a photo of this Ikuta Toma cover in one of the magazine stands in Ochanomizu Station for my friend, haha.
Arrived at Tokyo Station at around 7:20 am; my trip was more than an hour! I waited for Kuya Allen for more than an hour, as well, which didn’t surprise me. That dude always oversleeps. I was sure that I’d be late if I kept waiting for him, so I decided to just ride the Chuo Sobu Line by myself. And that was the time when he showed up, lol. Yep, he did oversleep. 😛 Then off we go to Ochanomizu.
Finding MeiDai was easy because there were people (MeiDai students or staff) dressed in purple jackets (MeiDai color) holding signs in train stations and street corners for our guidance.
And when we reached the MeiDai building? Wow. Just wow. The university buildings are just. wow. ❤ :))))
When we got inside the seminar hall (?), our fellow participants from all over the world were already there. I made a beeline towards my fellow Pinoys before we were divided into two groups. Group A was to take to the placement test first, and Group B was to take the interview first.
“Filipino Mafia” (Aki’s words, not ours) feat. Jenny, the Aussie
Photo credit to Christel Ravena Chu-Santos
I was placed in Group B together with Kuya Allen. In the Group B room, I talked to a lot of participants, particularly the Taiwanese girls who sat beside Kuya Allen. Damn, their Nihongo was really good! 😀 It was also in this set-up where I met two of our soon-to-be-closest friends in the program. There was Aldis, the Indonesian guy who entered the room with snow in his shoes, speaks English really well, and who had been to UP Diliman and UP Manila before. And there was also Jenny, the pretty and cool Vietnamese girl from Australia.
Now on our first day in the program, there were only three questions asked by almost everyone to break the ice:
1) What is your name?
2) Which country are you from?
3) And from what university?
I knew I did well with the interview, despite forgetting some words. Lels. As for the exam? The amount of kanji in the middle of the test had me giving up, meh. Haha.
For lunch, Kuya Allen and I headed to the Soba Soba Resto. It was my first time to eat in a resto like that. There was this vending machine-like thing where you just have to insert your bill and choose the food you want. A coupon then comes out of the machine which you have to hand over to the chef at the counter. And then you wait.
Loved my order! The shrimps were so big! Haha.
We headed back to school for the Homestay Orientation where we finally met our very own Mr. Strizzolo – our friendly, neighborhood homestay officer!:)) He was the one who had been corresponding with us months before our trip for our Homestay info.
Orientation for the program. We were given booklets, maps, and Tokyo Travel guides.
With cool girl, AJ
Our Homestay House Keys
Coffee from the kombini in school. I wish we have this in UP, too. Haha.
After that we had a Welcome Party at the 17th floor. There were a lot of okashi and nomimono on the tables. It was also at this time when the staff gave us our Japanese books.
Before heading home, the Filipino Mafia (as Aki calls us) went to Family Mart to have our tourist-internet activated. Yep, free wifi there. 🙂 I initially wanted to go to Tokyo Dome, but due to heavy snow fall, I opted to go home instead.
Can’t resist taking a shot of Massha’s fez in Family Mart
I slept in the train all throughout the trip to Urawa. I was still so tired, I guess, lol after being awake since 4:30 a.m. Infairness, it had been a long day.
Snow filled the streets. I paused for a while just when I passed by the Jinja to make snowballs on a bench. I took off my gloves when I made the snowballs so I can really, really feel them. They melt easily, haha. After that, my hands just went totally numb. Loved the view around me. It was like looking at a postcard scenery again.
View from our floor
I wanted to check out the other establishments around, especially the row of ramen restaurants just across the street but it was already so late. Bummer.
At home. Someone greeted me at the door. It wasn’t Yamada-san. It was a guy. I nearly tumbled when I was removing my boots, thinking that I might have entered the wrong house. My host mom lives alone, waddup?
Eventually I heard Yamada-san call out “Okaeriiii!” from the living room, much to my relief. Haha. Apparently, the guy, Aoki-kun, is her piano student. I gave him a piece of Ferrero Rocher to honor their Valentine’s Day custom. In Japan, the custom is that girls give chocolate to the dudes they like. And on White Day, the boys, in return, give something back to the girls.
Aoki-kun and Yamada-san
So I’m this urusai okyakusan during their study period, lels.
Aoki-kun was so happy with the chocolate. As a token of gratitude, he played three pieces in the piano for me. Haha. 😀
Dinner. For dinner, Yamada-san cooked Hiroshima Okonomiyaki! I was touched since I just briefly mentioned last night that I love okonomiyaki. Didn’t really expect that she’d make one right away. Not that I’m complaining. Yamada-san is originally from Hiroshima, hence the type of okonomiyaki. Ugh, oishii! ❤ Even the sauce was different. でも、それもおいしい！
Yamada-san gave me the liberty to choose the channel to watch. Of course I looked for TV Asahi. Yep, Music Station on a Friday night! Arashi was on stage. ❤ I hope you know how it meant to me to watch Music Station on actual Japanese cable. Not just on Keyhole TV, lol.
I was also reminded of the heater temperature. Yamada-san explained that it should just be at 20 degrees. After the mishap at the Fukushima Power Plant, she told me they always have to conserve energy.
Right now, I am on Skype with one of my MA friends, Kuya Angel, who is in the middle of writing his term paper proposal for our 236.2 class (Politics and Governance in Japan). We three, Kuya Allen included, made a pact to go online tonight, but Kuya Allen is philandering somewhere so lol never mind.