Japan 2k16 – Week 1 (April 1 – April 8)

Secret’s out! I’m in Japan (well, you could already tell by the title of this blog entry)!

A couple of months ago (November, if I remember correctly), I applied for an exchange student program under my university and last February I got the confirmation that I got accepted! You’ll never guess the name of the university, I swear. It’s Sophia University (HAHA). I excitedly booked my flight, applied for a student visa, and made other necessary preparations for this exchange program.

Day 1: April 1

On the night of March 31, I headed for the airport since my flight was at 1 in the morning the very next day (April 1). I was going to Japan! Luckily, my aunt, her friends, and one of my friends from the same university I’m attending (Dei) – whom I met because of this program – had the same flight with me, so we decided to go together. After waiting a couple of hours, we finally boarded the plane and took off! [We used Jetstar Japan for the flight going there since their tickets were really cheap. My luggage – containing (hopefully) enough needs for 4 months – weighed 17 kg for check-in and a (combined) weight of 10 kg for my carry-on.]

We arrived in the Narita airport (Terminal 3) around 6 in the morning, but had to wait until 9 AM for a representative from the university to pick us up. While waiting, we ate. This was officially my first meal in Japan:

 

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(I forgot what the exact name of this dish was, but it’s like okonomiyaki with soba inside.)

When we finally got picked up, we started to make our way to the dormitory. It’s a special dormitory to house international students. When we stepped out of the airport, we were pleasantly surprised by the gush of cool air! We rode the bus (for 2 hours) and rode the train going to Seijogakuen-mae station, where the dorm is located. When we got down from the train and started the 30 – 40-minute walk to the dorm, we were speechless with what we saw.

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Cherry blossoms in full bloom!

When we arrived, we were quickly given an orientation around and then we were left in our rooms to unpack. We met up with the rest of the students – Winona, Ivy, and Alex – (they arrived on a later flight) and we (Dei, Winona, and I) went to the supermarket later to stock up on food and other necessities.

Day 2: April 2

Today, we had an orientation in the afternoon scheduled on campus; so in the morning, we (Dei, Winona, and I) decided to go to Harajuku.

We just spent a couple of hours there since we had to run to campus before 2PM. We went to the Haikyuu pop-up shop (since it would be closing in a couple of days) since Dei and Winona were huge fans!

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Photo from http://danteslacie.tumblr.com/post/110156001180/aluox-haikyuu-shop-at-harajuku
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LINE store!

After that, we just went around and window shopped. We went to Kiddyland (a must), the LINE store, Lawson (on our attempt to buy Studio Ghibli tickets; note our attempt), and various other stores. We left around 11:40AM and made our way to Yotsuya.

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Ta-dah!

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We had sandwiches for lunch and went to the international students orientation. It was a little late when the orientation finished, but we had things to do! We went to Shinjuku to buy data sim cards (from Bic Camera) and had dinner in BBB – Best Biscuit Breakfast.

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Mmmmm really good.

We went back to the dorm and that was it for day 2.

Day 3: April 3

Today, we had to register / enlist for our classes-to-be online in which I got a good schedule (though I might change it still). We left the dorm around 11 in the morning to submit forms (it’s for Japanese language classes). One of my friends told me that every Sunday, the school has like a “Filipino fair” so they sell Filipino foods – which I was really happy about since I could just go to school on Sundays and eat if I get homesick of if I really miss eating Filipino food.

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YEY we found it!
Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 11.28.53 AM
Mmmmmm

After lunch, Winona and I went to Shinjuku to explore the area.

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We also – finally – got to try Mcdonald’s Hokkaido Milk Pie! It’s really good. It’s inside a puff pastry and the filling just oozes out when you eat it. It’s made with real vanilla beans (I saw black dots in the cream), which makes it even better! The best part? It just costs ¥120 (around Php 60)!

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I am craving for another.

We went to Tokyu Hands (kind of hoarded on art materials) and Takashimaya (window shopping), then we went around the area – trying to familiarize ourselves around. Afterward, we headed for Roppongi for some sight-seeing.

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[Note: the featured image was also taken in Roppongi.]

We had curry for dinner:

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It’s really good and the price is a-okay.

Day 4: April 4

As I’ve mentioned in the day 1 section, my aunt and her friends were also in Japan so today, I went back to Harajuku with Winona and Pam (a new friend hehe)! We had lunch at a Takoyaki place:

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I ordered the plain takoyaki and strawberry-filled taiyaki for dessert. The price is really cheap for a whole plate of takoyaki (as compared to back in the Philippines).

We went to Kiddyland right after (we didn’t get to finish exploring the entire store when we were there in day 2) and we met up with my aunt there.

(cries)
(cries)

We immediately went to…Calbee Plus (yey, after drooling over the photos online for so long, I finally went) right after!

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What I ordered: Freshly made potato chips with dark chocolate drizzled all over and a side of soft served vanilla ice cream.

If you’re familiar with Calbee or Jagabee, and / or is a big fan, then this place is a must go since they prepare everything fresh! The french fries are out of this world!

We parted with my aunt and her friends in Calbee Plus (since they would be going to Shibuya afterwards and we wanted to spend the rest of the day in Harajuku) and we went shopping / window shopping.

(cries)
(cries)

Lastly, we went to a cat cafè!

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The interior is just beautiful.
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How many cats do you see?

We went back to the dorm afterwards and I prepared my dinner:

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Adulting 101

Day 5: April 5

Today, we stayed in since we had a house / dorm orientation in the morning then we needed to register as residents in the offices in the afternoon. [Before the orientation, we met two other Filipinos (from a different university) – Pam and Anton.] We had a peaceful walk and took some photos (yes, I tried to apply what I’ve learned from photography class – one of my majors HAHA).

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It was a pretty peaceful day.

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Dinner HAHA (gyoza, rice, and seaweed)

Day 6: April 6

We had to go back to the university for another orientation (this time, for the program). We ate in the cafeteria for the first time:

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Only ¥400!

The university bookstore is amazing:

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Was finally able to find a copy! I got to say, this book is gorgeous! (Sorry for the bad photo.)

We went to the supermarket again and had dinner in the dorm.

Day 7: April 7

I stayed in the dorm the whole day today to catch up on all my school work that I left in the Philippines. I left a month before finals, so before I left I took all my finals in advance and submitted all my final projects – the only thing that’s left are the group projects and papers. I was able to finish two out of a pile of things / assignments, which was good BUT I needed to finish everything before the 11th (that’s the first day of studying for me in Sophia University).

Day 8: April 8

Today, I went back to Sophia University as they had their “Freshman Week” – basically like a recruitment week for their many organizations. I checked it out and was interested to join one club – which was a cooking club.

[UPDATE: I didn’t join any clubs anymore since I wanted a lighter load – as I do have around 4 -5 orgs back in the Philippines; I wanted to spend my free time exploring Japan!]

(Meanwhile, back at home my parents gave my favorite stuffed toy a bath.) (I didn’t bring Sam since I’m afraid that I might accidentally leave her or misplace her if I bring her so now, she’s just going to be the guardian of my room. HAHA.)

[And, yes. I will be going to the Snoopy Museum on May 1 – I already bought my ticket in advance ❤ AND I downloaded Snapchat for the main reason of showing my best friends what I’m doing since I do plan on uninstalling it when I get back HAHA since it’s no use when I get back as I don’t have 4G or what]

Well, that was my first week in Japan! Are there any places that you would recommend for me to go or check out? If so, please comment down! See you next week! 🙂

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19 thoughts on “Japan 2k16 – Week 1 (April 1 – April 8)

  1. Awwww 🙂 beautiful blog Sop! And I envy the university bookstore. I want to get the Snoopy book!!!! And the cherry blossoms when you arrived- there is no better welcome treat!

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    1. Heheh thank you, Diko! 🙂 I already bought two books from the bookstore – that’s Tokyo on Foot and Soppy hehe. I am trying to control myself for Snoopy things / merchandise, but it’s quite a challenge! Yes, hehe! I’m so happy that I was able to catch it!

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  2. OMG SOPHIEE good for you! Honestly I thought you were just there for vacation and I had lots of things to ask, but good thing your blog answered all my questions 😂
    Anyway, hope you enjoy! And keep up with the good work in your blog 🙂 its exciting to read, plus the pictures are good as visual aids 😂

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    1. Sheeennnnnaaaa! 😀 HI! Thank you very much for reading my blog and the positive comments! I hope I can carry out the same hype / status of my first week’s entry throughout my entire stay! ❤ Glad my blog answered your questions HAHA 😂

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  3. Weeee! So happy for you, Sophie! Looking forward to reading more about your adventures! My favorite Tokyo spot is Maruzen bookstore near Tokyo Station; I could stay there all day and browse books I barely understand. Ueno is a nice neighborhood, too, but I am a tita at heart so I like parks and museums haha! Have fun and have lots of matcha for me! – Ella

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    1. Yeeey! Hehe thank you, Ella! 😀 Ooooh! I’ll go ahead and check that place out! I’ve been wanting to go to Book Off as well since I’ve heard so much about it! I’ve also been wanting to go to Ueno for some sightseeing! Try to go to Roppongi next time! Lots of sights and it’s very peaceful. Also the Kikkoman Soy Sauce Museum / Factory? I heard it’s really nice (they serve soy sauce ice cream). Hehe!

      Thank you (and I will!) 🙂

      Like

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