Monday, August 2, 2010

To Tokyo!!!!

My first experience in Tokyo was that of a particularly valuable sheep. From the moment my little hooves touched down in Narita airport, a score of smiling, waving JET-helpers directed me from person to person as fireman used to do with buckets of water back in the day. It is as if little Bo-Peep had informed the folks in charge of JET that a particularly useless bunch of sheep were on their way and that if they kept smiling this might just be enough to not start us into a wide scale panic. The Helpers were so excited that I genuinely thought I was the first person off the plane. Before we were even on the buss, one of our SA crew reinforced our noisy foreigner status by blowing her vuvuzela at full steam, much to the amusement of all the locals. Then we were off in our thankfully air conditioned buss.

 My mind, after staring at a mountain covered in grapevines for the last few years could just not accept Tokyo as a reality. As I sit here now, a week later, I still feel wholly disconnected from the memories of those three days. While I was making my way to the Keio Plaza in the company of some fine South Africans, I felt as if someone was tightly holding onto my brain, which I was to discover a while later while standing in the Sky bar on the 43rd floor is not nearly as jarring as having it dropped all together. On the last night of our little holiday before our foreign bubble burst, some of the SA guys and girls made their way to the top of the hotel. I wish with all my heart that I had the ability to tell you all what I saw out of that window but I really don`t. Try to imagine 50 electrified Cape Towns, make the buildings 15 times taller and strip away the horizon of everything other than windows, concrete and light, in every direction. While I have taken many mental pictures in my life, Tokyo broke the camera and burned that image into my mind till the day I die.

The orientation was a circus and I loved every moment of it. I loved that not one person could guess where I was from, I loved that any mention of the world cup converted the most stubborn of awkward silence into a heated debate, I loved my roommates, I love Mike and Shelly for allowing me to latch onto them like a lost puppy while they expertly navigated the train stations to get us to Akihabara, electric city and I loved that we were able to buy Shelly a laptop by stringing the Japanese words box, new, personal computer, now, carry, us in no particular order with no particular grammar. I do not mean to alarm you but Japanese people speak Japanese, even in tourist friendly Tokyo it is rare for someone to help you in English and this fact became even more apparent when I landed in Oita. I will however save that train of thought for my next post.

When in doubt, follow Mike
 I miss you all very much and hope you are all saving lots of yen so you can all see the city, I cannot even begin to do justice, for yourselves.


  1. I hope you found the giant 5 story Otaku haven in Aki. There is also a story there especially for Henri (5 stories with a special "boys only" floor) :P

  2. That sounds really fun. Can't wait till I come to Tokyo next year :) I hope all your Japanese studying back in CT came in handy :P

  3. That sounds so amazing, you need to get a camera and sending pics this way ^_^

  4. Awesome times in Tokyo! Have you already located the hanabi-themed love hotel of your dreams?

    @Lady E - w00t :D