As the hours wound down until it was time for me to head to Philadelphia International airport to begin my travels, I was unable to sleep. I was feeling a mixed bag of emotions. I was both nervous and very excited to experience Japan. When I got to the gate at the early hour of 4 am, I met my friend Alan. As we were getting ready for our flight, I was glad to hear that Alan shared similar emotions as me. It occurred to me that many other students about to study abroad were feeling nervous as well, and that’s okay. What matters is trying to slowly shake off that nervousness and have fun.
After almost a full day of flights and bus rides, we finally made it to Tokyo, Japan! Alan and I are both dorm students, and we made our way to the Takadanobaba Dorm. As you can see, my dorm room is a little on the small side, but seeing how it’s a single room, I have no complaints. My room has everything I need from a mini desk to a microwave, a mini fridge, and even a shower. I was even given pots, a rice cooker, and other cooking equipment to cook my meals. I’m not much of a cook, so figuring out how to cook my meals properly will be a process for me. I feel like I should be able to figure it out if I put my mind to it.
Besides me, there are 13 other TUJ residents in Takadanobaba. I know two of them from my classes on Temple’s main campus, but the remaining 11 I have never met before. Some of them aren’t even Temple students. I’m trying my best to reach out to these new faces and make some new friends early. Our first night here, a few of my dorm mates and I got together to explore our surroundings and check out the 7/11 near the dorm. We also found a basketball court just a short walk away from our dorm, so we’re planning on getting a game together as soon as one of us finds out where to buy a ball.
The next day was the first day of orientation. Everyone in the dorm was escorted to the subway, where we were shown the cheapest route to campus. My family is notorious for being bad with directions, and I am no exception, so I paid close attention to the stops we were taking to make sure I would be able to do this on my own once classes start next week. Luckily, the stop names are easy to remember because the stop at campus has the same name as the main hall, and the name of the stop getting home has the same name as my dorm. As long as I remember the stop in between where I switch trains, I shouldn’t have a problem.
Today’s part of the orientation was interesting. There were a lot of speakers over the course of a little over two hours. It was great to meet some of Temple Japan’s main staff as well as learn about some of the activities and clubs on campus. It was also a good chance to meet some of the other study abroad students not in Takadanobaba. I am much more excited for today’s part of the orientation, where we will get a full tour of campus, and I will have a better grasp at moving around. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take some pictures of the campus tomorrow to share in my next post. Until then, Sayōnara from Japan!