For the next few blog posts I want to talk about a few things that I hold to as personal signs to me of adjusting to my new life in Osaka!
OK so moving to an entirely new place is rough! As heck! Especially somewhere where you don’t fluently speak or read the language. It feels like everything is out of wack, and that you are constantly out of your comfort zone, like one big fever dream where everything is cool and cute but honestly where am I!!
After a couple of weeks of living here, I have started to notice the little things AND the big things that are signs to me that I’m starting to settle in! Its a mix of things that I think are universal and some things that are personal to me. Some are things that naturally happen and some are things that I push myself to do in order to feel more okay on the day-to-day and to remind myself that things are A-OK.
The first is being able to navigate the train system! Being from NYC, being able to take the train is super important and honestly comforting for me. When going to college in Baltimore, the transit system was not the most reliable so people mainly drove. Again, being from NYC I have no idea how to drive so my main method of transportation was bike or uber. Luckily for me, everything in Baltimore is pretty close so it worked out most of the time. In Osaka and for the most part of Japan, the train system is super reliable and will you get you to most places you need to go. Again, the train system is unbelievably punctual and I was reading online that the system is so organized that if there is a train delay at night in Osaka, that it may cause a train delay the next morning, all the way in Tokyo (which is like 8 hrs away)! How crazy is that!
I think after the first week and a half I took the train by myself for the first time to one of the city centers, Umeda (梅田). I have to admit I was a bit nervous and triple checked everything on my way there. Its helpful to know that there are like three main subway line companies, Hankyu, Osaka Metro, and JR. There isn’t much of a difference between them except where they go. Some lines overlap but its nice that they all except the same type of subway card, ICOCO card.
Something incredibly helpful which is a no-brainer is google maps!! I honestly don’t know where I would be without google maps, (pun intended I’m sorry I had to do it). I can’t even grasp how people used to get around and I appreciate how fortunate we are to have the great invention of google maps.
Being able to travel places on my own is super comforting to me because it makes me feel more independent and confident in my abilities to navigate both space and life. Like I don’t need to rely on anyone just to go get dinner on my own. I also mentioned before how the trains are extremely quiet, so having some down time to just sit and look out the window is always a time for introspection for myself.
The train system is also great because you can travel to places really far within the same metro system for example, Kyoto and Kobe. We even went to a farm a few weeks back that took 2 hours to get to, but it was so worth it! I got to see and pet and feed capybaras for the first time and I died and came back to life. I can honestly go back home now.