Hello to all of my friends and family! I’ve officially been in Tokyo for about two weeks now and before I get into the nitty-gritty parts, I’ll do a short introduction of myself, along with what I plan on blogging during my stay in Japan.
/Elevator speech/ Hello! My name is Linda and I’m a Japanese language/Accounting major at The Ohio State University. I’ve always been interested in the Japanese language and culture ever since I was a child whether that included me reading manga into the late hours of the night to my strange, if not unhealthy, obsession with Studio Ghibli Films. During the summer of 2017, I had the opportunity to work as an International Accountant and an English Instructor (to my very surprise) at the company, Teraoka Seiko Ltd. My experience there, along with my wonderful office family, pushed me to study Japanese at the International Christian University during the 2018-2019 academic year.
I’ll be blogging approximately twice a month and what I really want to focus on is the cultural similarities and the different nuances that will ultimately occur while attending an international university and in general while living in Japan. Additionally, I will highlight some of my favorite shops and mini cities that I’ll find during my exploration of Tokyo. I hope everyone who reads this will be able to see of glimpse of my life in Tokyo and see why I’ve chosen this country as my home for the next ten months. So without further delay, 始めましょう！Let’s start!
On our first day in Tokyo, my friend and I went to Meiji Jingu Shrine (明治神宮), located approximately 10 minutes from the ever so busy Harajuku Station. The pebble stone paths to the shrine were littered with giant oak trees, which served as much needed shade from the 90 degree Tokyo weather.
Before you enter the shrine, it is customary to wash your hands. Using the ladle, you first pour water into your left hand, then right. Then, pouring the remaining water into your left hand, you lightly sip the water before spitting it out. Finally, hold the ladle vertically in order for the water to trickle down the shaft.
After visiting the shrine, we decided to grab a bite at Ichi-ran Ramen, a shop that is dubbed an “introvert’s dream”. Here, you sit in a one person booth with panels blocking your view of other people. Without ever seeing the staff, your ramen is brought to you through underneath a screen. This concept of “zero human interaction” is thought to enhance the flavor of the ramen.
Something that immediately surprised me about Japan is how common vending machines are used to order food. If you aren’t so lucky to find a machine with english translations/pictures posted, you could always ask the staff, “おすすめは？” “Osusume wa?” “What are the recommendations?” I’ve found Japan to be a very visual country especially when it comes to food. If you walk on any street, you will find plastic replicas of the dishes offered for each restaurant, so even if you don’t know Japanese, pointing to what you want translates pretty well throughout all languages.