Trip to the Aquarium

Sunshine International Aquarium in Ikebukuro, Tokyo.

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colorful brushstrokes.

More like a museum than an aquarium.

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Leopard print.

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Bubble tanks.

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Yes, a furry one in the outside area.

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So beautiful! Gotta visit the Ueno zoo in Spring!

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Hi, long time no see?!

I’ve been having a tough time coming up with words, or even letters to reply to “how have you been doing?” facebook messages. But I guess sometimes all it takes is getting started!

I had a day off work today. Got out of my apartment, took a long walk around the Honancho station, still discovering new restaurants and shops that this infinitely large city has to offer.  The air was crisp and cool as I walked down the neighborhood promenade, thinking about how to update friends & family on my life this holiday season…

On coming to a new city there are a slew of emotions that strike and pass while I slowly do my best to blend in. From excitement and freedom to loneliness and displacement, the cycle never seems to change… Though, this time is different from all the other cities I’ve moved to – I HAVE A FULL TIME JOB! It may seem like ‘routine’ may be my best ally in establishing my place in the new city, but I’ve actually found it to be quite the opposite. Working five days a week, nine hours a day, has been a lot to get used to – especially combined with apartment hunting, finding things to put in it, friends visiting, navigating through this mega-metropolis, living completely alone for the first time…all while staying under budget. It’s been an eventful three months.

(For those who have no idea what I’m doing here in Tokyo, I’m a manager -specifically in the merchandising department- at the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship in Ginza, Tokyo. It’s eleven stories, its full of beautiful models, a shirtless greeter on the first floor, it’s dark, it has club music playing in full blast, it’s “fierce” … it’s intense.)

A&F Ginza

From the 11th floor, looking down

Front door

My work uniform. haha

Anyways, my shift time is pretty random. Sometimes I work 8am-5pm, sometimes 1pm-10pm. Sometimes I’m in the store three hours straight, and sometimes I don’t even set foot in the store. It’s a lot of variation and needs flexibility, but so far I’ve enjoyed the challenge. The best part is hand down, the really great people I’ve met so far at my work place. It’s definitely what’s making Tokyo feel like ‘home’ everyday.

My colleagues, Mari Yuko and I having a proper Thanksgiving dinner at a Brazilian restaurant!

Turkey!..among many other types of meat.

Right now, I sit at my furnished ‘home’ drinking green tea, writing this blog. I am no longer a traveler, merely a visitor. I browse the news, go on the commuter train, do grocery shopping and eat delicious meals the Japanese have perfected. It shows with my lack of photos I see in my iPhoto library, but here’s a few.

At the local thrift market. Kimonos!

Postbox piggybanks!

Animal suits, anyone?!

Temple visit (Asakusa)

Temple visit (Asakusa)

On the train...

Ramen

Sushi-bowl!

I’ll make sure to take some photos when I’m out during Christmas and New Years – the Japanese really do put up some picture-worthy illuminations!

The monthly visits have been a great shift in tempo though – it help me branch out from my routine and gives me a chance to see Tokyo from a different, fresh perspective.  So far, Denisha (currently studying in China, known her since Indonesia), Kimberly (from Norway), and Semone (during her study abroad program all over Asia, housemate from LA) have visited me here. Sharon and Jo will be here at then end of this month! yay!

Proof that we were reunited in Tokyo!

Denisha (September)

Kimberly (November)

Semone (December)

Semone and other Trojans from her program!

Home Sweet Tokyo?

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Tokyo: Finding an Apartment. Check.

So if any of you plan on living in Tokyo someday, you should know finding an apartment is very easy …if you are a millionaire. Cost of living in Tokyo is legendary for being one of the most expensive places in the world, and real estate prices are especially out of this world! I decided to live a little bit out of the city to save a bit of a money and to avoid living in a shoe box. My commute door-to-door is about 40minuts, thankfully without transferring subway lines, and I actually quite enjoy the more traditional rustic charm in this part of Tokyo, over the super busy neon light-filled ‘more happening’ central area. Thanks to my realtor お部屋探しCAFEヘヤギメ!, I have a place to live within my budget! Here’s a small preview 🙂

a walk in closet... for my first time my life!!! 🙂

 

 

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Tsukiji, Japan: the freshest sushi in Japan i.e. the world…

Mao, Denisha, and I decided to go on an early morning adventure one fine Saturday morning to Tsukiji—the world’s largest marketplace for seafood. As the meter ticked away Yen as if it were seconds on a digital clock, I thought to myself why do I do this to myself? But the second I entered the rustling bustling Tsukiji fish market, I was so happy to have the opportunity to experience it. Tens of thousands of tons of seafood from every ocean of the world quickly change hands in Tsukiji’s auctions and in the marketplace’s hundreds of tiny stalls.

I’m not a morning person, so luckily the earlier Roppongi club scene prepared me for a bit of the chaos. There were trucks backing in to unload tuna, as well as a barrage of small, fast vehicles that seemed like go-carts. Add to that bikes, and men pushing wheel barrels along the wet fish filled ‘roads’. No matter where I went – I always seem to be in the way.

Our guide (Mr. Sugimura) told us that the some of these Tuna sold for a mere $15,000 US. Yup, you heard that right. I stared at the expensive tuna and thought about how it costs more than all the money I have earned in my whole life combined. Then, I thought about how this was the middle man price – then it had to be cut up and sold in smaller chunks to restaurants and grocery stores, and by the time I paid for it – it was only a small piece of that $15,000. For any of you that wonder why sushi is so expensive – well…everyone needs their cut and if it already starts at $15,000 you do the math. I really don’t believe there is a ton of mark up on sushi any longer!

Probably the best sushi I’ve ever had.

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