Posted by: uvahowes | September 16, 2009

This is… sake?

Was shopping around the Japanese equivalent of a Dollar Store when I came across this fine sake specimen.

Tokyo Day 3 001

Tokyo Day 3 002

Did a little research and it’s called Nigori Sake. The sediment at the bottom of the jar is grain left behind during fermentation. Fiersome looking stuff indeed. Because it was only 198 yen, I’m guessing it’s pretty terrible. I figure I have to try it just to see what it tastes like, I’ll let you know if I go blind.

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Posted by: uvahowes | September 15, 2009

First real dinner

After wandering past restaurants for like thirty minutes and not having the balls to go into one I finally sat down at an Izakaya place down the street. Armed only with the phrase おまかせします (please decide for me) I ended up with a plate of sushi, a bowl of rice, and some ridiculously good miso soup that had at least 6 clams in it. Most of the restaurants on the pedestrian streets near my apartment are tiny, and seat maybe 6-20 people each. I’ll try to take some pictures when it’s bright out, was too nervous to snap anything tonight haha.

Uhhh... hai, what? Er... hai... hai.

Uhhh... hai, what? Er... hai... hai.

Posted by: uvahowes | September 14, 2009

Cash Money

Getting your hands on cash in Tokyo is not the easiest thing in the world. This is a problem because most small businesses, so far as I can tell, operate only on cash. Even one of the more prevalent convenience store chains here in Tokyo, Lawson, doesn’t take cards.

Following an embarassing experience where I had to put back a cart full of groceries I decided that I needed to find an ATM that would take my card. First I went to the ATM in the convenience store where I bought my noodles last night; no dice. After retreating to my apartment I found a website that said 7-11s and Post Offices are two of the very few places where you can use a foreign ATM card. Went to 7-11; no dice. Came home, searched for a Post Office nearby and headed back out. And… SUCCESS, finally, some freakin cash.

Tokyo Day 2 001

In case you’re curious the money is on a couple tatami mats, which compromise my bedroom floor. Pretty comfortable, actually.

With cash in hand I went immediately back to the convenience store that shunned me earlier this morning to pick up some more delicious rice balls. Here’s the loot.

Tokyo Day 2 005

The price differs based on what the rice ball is filled with. The cheapest ones are just plain rice, while others come with fish or a type of miscellaneous paste. Since I can’t read anything on the wrapper, I figured I’d sample a number of price brackets. The small drink is some sort of promotional energy drink (I think) for a video game called Monster Hunter. I recognize the name because it’s produced by the same company that brought Street Fighter into my life, but I’ve never played it.

Took a couple pictures out of my window that show the street I’m on in a little more detail. It’s pretty overcast today, hopefully the sun will be out sometime this week.

Tokyo Day 2 002

Tokyo Day 2 004

Posted by: uvahowes | September 14, 2009

I have arrived

Thank God I found this thing

Thank God I found this thing

Just got into my new apartment in Yotsuya about an hour ago. Phew. The plane ride was as good as a 13 hour flight can be, but nothing prepares you for being dumped onto a street with a poorly drawn map in a foreign country. I probably wandered around Shinjuku for an hour before I snapped any pictures, and only then did I take a picture because I stumbled upon an area map, haha.

To recap my evening I finally found the leasing office and got the key to my apartment, then wandered around looking for an ATM so I could pay for a cab. Found an ATM, failed to properly insert my card like 7 times, raged, and left in search of cabs who took Visa. Unfortunately for my cab driver my apartment is in a maze of pedestrian streets, so he could only pull up so far into a one way road, completely block traffic, and point me down an alley where I wandered aimlessly for another 15 minutes before finding the clearly marked building I was looking for. My plane landed at 2:30pm Japan time, and I finally got into my apartment around 8:15, ouch. For my first evening meal I found something microwaveable at a convenience store and it sits next to me as I type this; brown noodles that came with some sort of tapioca sauce that I regret having poured on them.

Anyways, snapped a few photos of the street I’m on. Not entirely happy with the picture quality, but I haven’t taken the time to mess around with it so hopefully it’ll improve. I also need to mess around with the size of the pics, WordPress seems to like shrinking the hell out of everything.

 First Day in Tokyo 005

First Day in Tokyo 004

Incredibly nondescript pictures I know, sorry. Pretty happy to be here, be in my apartment, and have the internet working. Tomorrow I venture out in search of a grocery store, and a place to eat that isn’t owned by 7-11 Holdings. Wish me luck, I will definitely need it.

Posted by: uvahowes | September 10, 2009

New Camera!

这是我的狗!私のいぬ!I hope those are right, haha, my Japanese is downright terrible…

Testing Powershot

Indoor shots with a flash look a little blurry, I will have to keep messing around with the settings.

Posted by: uvahowes | September 9, 2009

In the interest of testing out the Blog…

Because I’m still getting used to this WordPress format, here are some pictures from my trip to China where I studied Mandarin at Beijing University, or Beida (北大) for short. Despite being in a high-density area the campus was completely surrounded by walls, providing for ample gardens and lakes. I am guessing the campus at Waseda will be much more tightly packed, judging from its location on Google Maps. Also, I hear that the Law School building was just built in 2005, and am very curious to see what it looks like in person.

DSC04555

DSC04506

DSC04510 

These pictures serve as an homage to my old camera, an Olympus that I bought refurbished off eBay in 2003. Like most things I own I have no idea where it is currently, and am waiting on a new Canon Powershot that should arrive tomorrow! I am very interested to see the difference in picture quality, as the Olympus was particularly bad at taking night shots. Also annoying was the small LCD screen on the back, it was so small I could barely see what I had just snapped a picture of.

Posted by: uvahowes | September 9, 2009

First post on the Blog

Howdy! Just signed up on WordPress with the goal of recording my studies abroad this fall at Waseda University in Tokyo. I have always been notoriously bad about taking pictures of all the interesting places I have been to, so hopefully the new camera I ordered will spur some legit blogging action. As a note, the banner is actually a picture I took in China… so hopefully I’ll get to change that fairly soon haha. Until then I will enjoy staring at the sign of my favorite noodle restaurant.

Anyways, more to come on or about September 14th!

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