First Day at Hiyoshi International Dorm

It was the first day since June that I had woken up before 12…scratch that, 1 p.m. And it was probably jet lag. Although it didn’t feel like it at all.

Breakfast was the most imminent thing, and what a lovely breakfast it was. Why are presentation skills so amazing in Japan?

Breakfast prepared by Suzu's mom: Assorted Breads, Pineapple Chunks, Yogurt, Tea, and Juice Boxes

Breakfast prepared by Suzu’s mom: Assorted Breads, Pineapple Chunks, Yogurt, Tea, and Juice Boxes

Okay, well this picture doesn’t do it justice. It was from my phone.

After breakfast, we had about 40 minutes to laze around, in which I hung out with Gen-chan and Botan. Gen was, as usual, trying to jump on my hair. Botan was, however, relaxed and easy to pet. And he did that thing that dogs do when they want to be rubbed on the belly. So cute (*≧▽≦)! I was shameless and took a couple of selfies with them. And with Suzu.

Suzu’s mom actually called a taxi for us from their house to the station (which I felt so bad about! Taxis in Tokyo are no joke, and Suzu even said she’s never ridden in one). Then we proceeded to drag those huge suitcases on the train(s) to Hiyoshi Station. It’s really inconvenient to have suitcases on the train, trust me. You feel so bad for blocking the other passengers. Luckily it wasn’t a full train, but still. I never want to experience one of those.

Once we arrived at Hiyoshi, we weren’t too sure where to go, but Suzu spotted some people who looked like foreigners, so we just followed them. When I gathered up the courage to do so, I called out to them and asked if they were headed the same way – and they were.

Hiyoshi Sun Road (サンロード)

Hiyoshi Sun Road (サンロード)

Funnily enough, the girl turned out to be my roommate.

After settling in, Katrin, my roomie, her boyfriend, Ryosuke, Suzu, and I headed to the ward office in…yeah I don’t remember. Kohaku-ku? to register residency. And it was tough. Suzu was a HUGE lifesaver. If it wasn’t for her, I would have no idea what the heck was going on. Honestly, I don’t like how Keio doesn’t help it’s international students – doesn’t pick you up from the airport, help you register for residency or for the health insurance, help you set up a bank account or sign for a cell phone, or even give you a tutorial on how to do all these things.

And I found out my Japanese sucks.

Anyways, that took around two hours or so. We then took the train back to Hiyoshi and tried to open a bank account at Mitsubishi UFJ (did you know banks only open ’til 3 p.m. in Japan?) but it was past 1:00 and they didn’t allow us to, because it would take too much time and the wait would be long. So Suzu left for work (I made her late >.<) and Katrin, Ryosuke, and I ate at the nearby First Kitchen – a family restaurant – for a late lunch. I got the Mentaiko Noodles.

Mentaiko Noodles. Mentaiko is basically fish roe.

Mentaiko Noodles. Mentaiko is basically fish roe.

Not bad at all. They even had tiny lemon juice packets (IN ACTUAL PLASTIC CONTAINER TYPE CONDIMENT THINGS) so I mixed them in. I think it was around ¥530, which is about $5.30. An okay price, I guess. But it wasn’t that big…

Sadly my first [bought] dish in Japan was half western, too.

Afterwards, went to the Daiso ¥100 shop at the top of the Tokyu department store and bought bathroom essentials. ¥100 shops are super lifesavers in Japan. And especially Tokyo, where prices are expensive. I splurged on Tsubaki Shiseido shampoo and conditioner, though. Heard that they were really good products.

When we left the store, I was confronted by a rather awkward scene of the couple (roomie and boyfriend) separating. Awkward because I had to wait for them…uhhhh you know how it is.

We settled into our dorm afterwards (it comes with bedding and a fridge! Unlike my home university) and waited until 6, which was when our housing orientation was.

At orientation, we had to listen to a powerpoint and the RA talk about rules of the dorm, and about recycling. But they take their recycling VERY seriously in Kanagawa. I don’t even understand the rules. You have to separate hard plastic from soft plastic, put burnables in a separate bin, paper in a separate bin, steel and metals in a separate bin…ohhhh god it scared me so much I’m afraid to just take out the trash. Because I don’t even know what counts as trash anymore.

Coming back to what actually occurred….we had to take these partner mini tests after each presentation because, apparently, some guy from last year almost got arrested because he made too much noise outside.

Annnnyways, we toured around Hiyoshi afterwards and got to see the cheap supermarket (My Basket, which is located in a super strange place because it’s like one convenience store-looking building surrounding by houses. So it’s like the only place lit up after dark on that one road) and the best conbini (convenience store) to buy alcohol from. Um. Did we really need to know that. We also toured the Tokyu Department Store and then separated for dinner. Tried to head to a kaitenzushi (Conveyor belt sushi) place, but the line and wait was super long, so we went to a ramen place, called Ramen Don, instead. It was around ¥700 for a decent portion of decent ramen. Better than the one I had in Little Tokyo, LA anyways. To order, you use a machine in the building that has a bunch of buttons on it stating the options you can get. Insert money first, then push the button and you get a ticket, which you hand over to the chef/waiter. Water was self-serve.

Pork (?) Salt Ramen

Pork (?) Salt Ramen

My Shoyu (Soy Sauce) Ramen

My Shoyu (Soy Sauce) Ramen

I got the shoyu base ramen, which was pretty good. I didn’t drink the soup, since…it’s probably not the best thing for your body. We spent some time there, doing some socializing, with me awkwardly taking pictures of strangers as usual. As soon as we finished, we all headed off to the convenience store. I think it’s called 5, and I pass by it everyday, yet still am not sure what…oh, just kidding it’s called K. 5’s and K’s, meh. They look alike.

Bought some yummy chocolate melon bread (melon pan, no actual melon in it. It’s just called melon pan for the way the top looks like melon skin) and marveled at the selection of puddings and sweets. As I said before. Love those sweets.

Purin and Sweets and Drinks at K

Purin and Sweets and Drinks at K

They have a selection of sweets that are, I guess, endorsed/made by a famous(?) patissiere, which are more expensive than the regular ones. Oh and those Hello Kitty mug ones were like more than $10 if I remember correctly. Because you get to keep the ceramic ware.

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