Finally, I have Internet in my room here at the dorm. No longer do I need to use the slow wireless connection in the lounge.
On the downside, it'll probably kill my social life. :P
Anyone who knows me will tell you that getting up early is not one of my strong points, especially on a Saturday. But yesterday I did it anyway. We wanted to see the famous Tsukiji fish market, and that meant leaving at 6:30 (if we had wanted to see the auctions we would've had to leave around 4:00, so we didn't do that). It most certainly was the biggest collection of fish and related animals I've ever seen, with lots of activity, and some great sushi restaurants.
After that we went to Ueno Park, and then the Meiji shrine at Harajuku.
And at night we went to Shibuya, which is Tokyo as you see it on TV. Neon signs, lots and lots of people, and a lot of noise. Shibuya is the popular place for young Japanese (honestly I'm old compared to most people there). We ate there, then looked around a bit and got a drink at a pub.
It was a long, but really great, day! It was the most fun I've had in quite a while, and I can really sum it up as "all the reasons I wanted to go to Japan for in a nutshell": diverse sights, great food, and nice people (the Japanese and the people from the dorm alike).
And this afternoon we had a barbecue at the dorm, which was also great fun.
But instead of boring you with too much talk, I'll let the (many!) pictures do the talking.
The spread of my fame continues. :-P
Today I had my first Japanese lesson. I think I picked the right level, at least as far as the speaking/listening bit is concerned. Probably the reading/writing part will be a bit too easy for me, but I don't think I could've gone a level higher either. The teacher was nice, but apparently we'll have a different teacher depending on the weekday (since the class is three days per week, that means three teachers). This was the "Friday" teacher. There's quite a large number of students in the class, no one I know though. I do hope they'll pick up the pace a little; today was very slow.
The classes are at the Hongo campus, and I also had to pick up some papers from the office of the faculty of Engineering while I was there. Since I had to wait until the office opened, I had some time to kill which I used to take some pictures. Hongo is simply huge; it takes more than five minutes walking to get from one side to the other.
There's also a few pictures from Shinjuku which I took on Wednesday.
Today I went to Akihabara, aka "otaku central". Otaku is the Japanese word for geek/nerd, and it's easy to see why they like this place: it's just one long string of stores selling electrical appliances, computers, games, DVDs and more.
I was there because, let's face it, I'm a bit of an otaku myself so I had to see the place (not to mention that half the people I met at my lab at uni last week asked if I had been there). I also wanted to buy two things: speakers and a webcam, and Akihabara is the place to go for cheap electronics.
In other news, I got an access pass to the lab so I can now go there without having to use the buzzer so someone can open the door for me. I also got a laptop from the lab, a temporary one (it's slightly old, but more than adequate for the time being). It's a Panasonic CF-T2, a neat little 12" device that weighs almost nothing. That plus a quite long battery life makes it ideally suited to use in the common rooms of the international house, which is currently still the only place where I have Internet. I also got my postal office bank account today, currently with the grand sum of ¥10 on it. Still, it's important I have it, since it's on that account that I will receive the scholarship and I'll also need it for some other things, such as getting a mobile phone.