I’ve been living in Tokyo, Japan for just over three months now. These past three months have gone by faster than I ever imagined. I’ve met so many good people and have had several great experiences I’ll never forget. I’d say that I’ve become well adjusted with most everything by now. September was pretty hot and rainy, October was warm, sometimes cold, and rainy, but November and December (especially December) are cold and very dry. It has only rained once since December began. It’s not cold enough to snow, but even if it was, the chances are low.
One unfortunate thing about December is that it’s too cold for most trees to keep their leaves. Most of the pretty fall colors are gone now.
Tokyo is still a beautiful place, though (Sophia University campus).
A good thing, however, are the Christmas decorations.
A street near my house in Kawaguchi.
A blurry photo of some more decorations in Koenji.
There are some huge illuminations around Tokyo too. I haven’t had the chance to go, but many of my friends have, and they’re beautiful. I do have a few photos of the illuminations in Hiroshima, though they’re not as cool.
Christmas in Japan isn’t celebrated in the same way as the US. From what I’ve been told, it’s mostly a holiday for couples. A boyfriend and girlfriend will exchange gifts, and there aren’t gift exchanges within the family. Generally, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th of December, rather than the 25th, with a family gathering around and eating Christmas cake and enjoying the day off. Aside from the gift giving, Christmas is pretty similar to the US. The decorations, the Christmas spirit, it’s all there. In almost every store there’s Christmas music playing, everything from Jingle Bell Rock to Santa Claus is Coming to Town. It’s a nice piece of home.
As I said, I’ve adjusted pretty well overall. I’ve gotten used to commuting for over 90 minutes a day, the schooling style, communication problems, and the culture in general. I’ve also gotten to do some neat things like seeing festivals and attending events.
This was a mochi event a 2 minute walk from my house. These kids were amazing at Taiko drumming.
Here’s a couple goldfish I caught with my host siblings at a festival in my town, about a 15 minute walk from my house.
This photo is from a very famous festival in Chichibu, Saitama. It was a great experience.
Back in Ohio, there weren’t local festivals to attend or traditional ceremonies to enjoy. I could, however, go grab a cheap burger any time I wanted (I really miss American food). Little things like these festivals and events keep my time here in Japan interesting, along with all the other intriguing things that happen on a daily basis (like buying a one dollar pair of earbuds that came with only a single earbud). Convenient stores are amazing too. At any given moment I’m no more than a 5 or 10 minute walk from a convenient store filled with cheap food and snacks, it’s great.