Made it to day 2! Its 4:36 pm in Osaka, Japan on December 4. It’s very strange to be around 11 hours ahead of everyone back home. We also kind of lost a day when we got here because of the time difference. On the bright side it’s almost 5 am in New York but I feel like I am pretty adjusted to the time difference. Going home on the other hand and readjusting, is going to be a killer..
After walking around last night and walking back to the train station this morning, I realized everything is so clean here. The streets, trains, subways, stations, and the people too! Everyone also seems to dress in nicer clothing. Maybe that’s because it’s a Thursday morning and people are on their way to work but nevertheless, there have been quite a few dress shoes and heels. Oh and a lot of black clothing. I should fit in here.
On the train into Tokyo last night and getting on the train this morning, first of all, there always seems to be a million people. Second, the doors open and this little Mario Cart or Wii game sounding jingle plays in the stations. Everyone is frantically running in different directions trying to get on the train and off all at the same time and there is the adventure jingle playing in the background. If it had words they would say “on your mark. Get set. GET ON THE TRAIN MORE IT OR LOST IT” I almost want to give the people I’m with a high-five for leveling up in the game of getting on the train and not being left behind. It always makes me think of ‘Home Alone’ when they’re booking it though the airport to make their flight. Also, I sat next to this man on the train into Osaka this morning and it turns out he lived in Minneapolis for 7 years! I’m not from Minneapolis nor have I ever been there, but I thought it was pretty exciting.
Besides being impeccably clean, it seems like a lot of the advertising is in the stations and on the subways. Tokyo seems like an average city (comparable to New York City..sort of) but there is so little advertising on the streets and on the buildings. It’s all inside the stations which is kind of interesting. There’s also vending machines on the streets. Just free-standing machines every few feet filled with teas, waters, and other kinds of things.
We’re on the train heading to Osaka (where the students and the symposium is) and the homes that are all along the side of the mountains have an islandy vibe to them. There were also quite a few baseball fields along the way.
We visited this rad little grocery store (I wish I could remember the name) but they had some of the coolest things in there. It’s so crazy to think how different things are for people around the world. Like in New York how going to the store and picking up a watermelon is no big deal but how for people in Japan, watermelon is a rarity. Or how there is such an abundance and variety of fresh sea food to buy here, as compared to other places that only have a limited packaged variety to choose from. It’s not really ‘how the other half lives’ its more along the lines of you don’t truly understand something until you experience it for yourself. I feel like it’s not until you see somewhere new that you find a new appreciation for it. Maybe it took for me to fly halfway across the world to realize that people aren’t really all that different. Sure we have different cultures, customs, and foods in our grocery stores, but we’re really not all that different as people. As soon as you stop looking at all the little things that make people different, you can finally see that we’re not. There’s a bigger picture out there and its much bigger that I could have ever imagine.
Current read- ‘The Bell Jar‘ by Sylvia Plath