Thursday, March 29, 2007
We found our way to campus today, had orientation, blah blah blah.
The exciting part was the afternoon: Marie (our "program coordinator" AKA helper-lady) went sight-seeing with us!
The electronics district, we visited a tall building where you can buy warming toilet seats, washers, nintendo games, kids' toys, TVs... anything that runs on electricity basically. The walls of the building were covered in signs...
"Cherry blossom viewing", Marie took us to a famous spot to look at the blossoms. It is illuminated at night, and quite spectacular. It was difficult to take pictures thought because of the crowds and the policeman telling us to keep moving. Forecasters say it will rain tomorrow, which might destroy all the cherry blossoms-- which is probably why there were so many people there tonight. We had to wait in line (!) just to see one side of a public park!
I thought I knew all about crepes, but I was wrong. Japanese crepes are filled with whip cream and "sa-su" (sauce) of your choice, and sometimes fruit. Totally delicious!
PASSMO and SUICA
We bought our commuting passes yesterday and learned how to use them today! Passmo and Suica are basically the same: both are "debit" or pre-paid accounts to pay for subway tickets. Instead of having to figure out the cost for your route, you "touch-n-go" your card to some sort of RFID reader in the turnstiles, ride, and then "touch" again to leave the station. The system automatically deducts the additional amount over what your commuter pass pays (only a certain route). Pretty nifty!
LEFT-SIDE and SIDEWALKS
Yeah, oops. Everyone walks on the LEFT side of the sidewalk, escalator etc. Just like the driving situation. Surprisingly, most sidewalks have grooves on them, which supposedly guide blind people who walk with sticks; they can follow the grooves.
Yay! for fresh fruit. Three of us ventured out early this morning. We saw a equestrian center (in Tokyo city limits!), a tennis club and a vegetable/fruit store. So relieved to actually eat a banana that didn't come from cellophane.
SHIPPING: Drivers' licenses are really expensive (over $2000), so not very many people have cars. So, what do you do to take luggage from one place to another? Ship it! There's a shipping company to pick up and drop off your bags!
RAISING KIDS: Really expensive in Tokyo! Babysitters cost about $20 an hour, and you usually have to go through a company or nanny service. You don't necessarily get the same babysitter every time !
Posted by Tammy at 7:28 AM