Getting Settled in Tokyo…

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Oh wow, I have been incredibly absent.  I apologize.  I haven’t really had too many spare moments to sit down and write on here, for one thing and secondly it’s been very difficult to express all the thoughts, feelings, emotions and events of the last month for people that have never been here.  So I will try a basic sort of summary and we can go from there.  I have a lot of photos to share and now it is Hanami (cherry blossom season), which I have been waiting so long to see again, so I have a lot of flower photos which you may or may not appreciate 🙂

Again, in inadequate summary, I will start by saying the first couple of weeks here were very tough.  There was culture shock (again! which surprised me given that we have lived here before), jetlag and confusion and major doubts about our decision to come here.  The first guesthouse that I reserved, that seemed like such a good idea at the time, ended up being, basically, a dump.  I chose it because it was small, with only 7 guests, including us, and for its proximity to Shimokitazawa, one of our favourite neighbourhoods, but when we arrived it was freezing cold, dark and rather grim.  We had no natural light in our room, our window looking out to the neighbouring wall, and the surrounding area was completely concrete and urban, even by Tokyo standards.  No park or green space to be found anywhere. 

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So we decided to move to another guesthouse.  This one is in a neighbourhood well familiar to us and next to a huge beautiful park that I get to walk through every day on my way to work (more on that, later).  We are in a residential area, but it’s green, our house is bigger, which means more guests and more noise, but also a whole host of new friendly people to interact with and ask for advice etc.  Our room is better and warmer, we have better beds and no limitations on our utilities (unlike the other house which had a very low cap on electricity, making it very difficult to keep warm).  All in all, this vastly improved our mood.  While we still had and still have some major adjustments to do to feel “comfortable”, we feel much better. 

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After a few more days I had two interviews and I was offered both positions, luckily! I chose the job that was closets to home and had the most paid vacation, which means I teach small children as opposed to adults, but I walk to work (through aforementioned park) which means all the world to me, particularly in Tokyo where a 90 minute commute (one way) is completely normal.  We are now going through the harrowing project of tackling Visas and Immigration, a truly horrible, spirit crushing experience, usually.  We’ve already made several visits and I’m going back on Thursday, this time, hopefully, with all the appropriate documents.  

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We’ve had some fantastic weather already, with the warmest day around 26c.  It’s back to 9c again this morning but Spring is definitely here.  I am so glad to say goodbye to that last winter.  I am so tired of being cold all the time, particularly in Japan where they do not use insulation in their homes, making staying warm an even bigger challenge.  We have already been through multiple earthquakes and a huge dust storm (a first for me) which was utterly horrible, and for which, naturally, China was blamed 😛

We are still needing to get many things for our room to make it more cozy. Shelving, lamps and rugs etc.  But it’s getting there.  M is doing well with new writing jobs, dealing with irritating editors and rekindling relationships with older ones.  His start here has been very difficult but he’s coping and getting better all the time, although still struggling with living in a guesthouse (since he works from home) and just being here in general as opposed to living and working in Europe (his dream).  It’s hard and the life of a writer is a solitary one, so you have plenty of time for negative thinking, should you allow it to get a stronghold. It still remains to be seen whether or not we can make a go of it here.  We have visas to apply for and we are still catching up financially speaking, so it will take a few months yet before that is all settled.

Anyway, I shall leave you with some more photos and my next post will be entirely hanami photo related.  A lot of these photos are from the park “next door” and the surrounding area where we are living.  Thanks for reading!

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Feel free to check out more of my photos at http://www.flickr.com/jennpeters

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4 thoughts on “Getting Settled in Tokyo…

  1. Thanks for those lovely pix! I love the blooms and I’m so glad they finally arrived to welcome you. Good to hear things are on the upswing; it’s going to be a good year for you there-positive, rewarding and never dull!

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