I was kind of sad that I had to leave Tokyo already. This city is just amazing. You could spend there a week or two and would discover every day something new. I definitely haven’t seen everything yet, that’s why I really want to come back someday. But for now, it was the best decision to stay here this 3 day. I don’t know if I will have enough time in the next 6 months to come back. It would have been so sad to live in Japan for half a year without visiting the crazy capital.
My alarm rang around 7am. I packed everything together, checked out and called an uber to the train station. Taxi and Uber in Japan are extremely expensive, but I just didn’t want to carry two suitcases and a backpack through the crowded subway station. Furthermore, I was a bit scared if I would find the gate. Yesterday I saw how huge Tokyo station is and how easy you get lost. I told driver where I`m heading to and luckily, he brought me to the perfect entrance right in front of the Shinkansen gates.
Japan is known for the Shinkansen, a high-speed train. For many visitors it is a must do while travelling in Japan. I didn’t really choose to ride a Shinkansen, but I needed to. It is the easiest and fastest way to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Hokkaido or wherever else you want to go in Japan. But the train ride is super expensive. One way, from Tokyo to Kyoto, cost me a bit more than 140€. I couldn’t believe it when I first heard about it, but there isn’t really a better alternative. You could probably take the bus for a cheaper price, but then you will need 8 hours or more instead of 2 hours.
The price is another reason why I am probably not going back to Tokyo during my time in Japan. Just a weekend in Tokyo and the transportation itself cost 280€? No thanks! That’s why I booked my flight back to Switzerland from Osaka, which is the closest airport to Kyoto.
My Shinkansen came at 8:50am. The train looks so modern and fancy. It was really cool to experience it at least once. Similar as in a plane I had a ticket with a reserved seat number. Every passenger has lots of space. The train was surprisingly pretty full. First when I researched about the shinkansen, I thought there would be perhaps 3 trains per day driving to Osaka. But no! Literally every 10 to 20 minutes another one is coming. Therefore, it is super easy to buy the ticket just directly at the train station when you arrive.
I was super tired and tried to sleep at the train. The weather today was shit. It was rainy, windy and cold. Perfect timing for me to leave.
Around 11am I arrived at Kyoto station. The fight with my luggage was horrible. How am I supposed to carry two suitcases and one backpack with a weight over 50 kilos all the steps up and down? Sometimes there were escalators, but sometimes not. So, I just took one suitcase, ran all the steps up, went back and took the other one. Ridiculous!
Before I left to my apartment, I needed to get more cash to pay the first month rent. When I finally found an ATM (always in a 7 eleven) my credit card didn’t work. Fuck! I definitely didn’t need this struggle at this moment. I tried another ATM. “Your limit on your credit card is exceeded”. Shit. I couldn’t call my bank in Germany right now, because 11am in Japan is 3am in Germany. I didn’t know what to do and just went to the next Taxi station. The people there were super nice. On my way I counted all the cash I had, but it wasn’t enough. The owner of my apartment already wrote me that he is in front of the house and waiting for me. Oh men! I don’t think it’s a good first impression when I come and don’t have the money he demands. That was the moment when I realized that I have still some Euros in my pocket. I asked the taxi driver where I could exchange my money and he was so nice and made a stop on our way. It was a bad feeling just leaving the car in mind that my suitcases are still in there. He could just drive away with all my valuables. But did I have another chance? No! I just trust in the guy and went as fast as impossible to exchange all my euros I had left.
Thank ’s god the taxi driver stood there and waited for me. Hallelujah! The taxi ride was expensive, but I was just happy to be at the right place, with all my luggage and enough cash.
The apartment owner waited for me already in front of the entrance. I expected a woman, to be honest. Yusuke Fukuzawa doesn’t sound that male, does it? But it was a guy. He showed me my room, what I have to consider and everything else I needed to know. He is super nice and offered me his help when I had a question or other concerns.
My room here in Kyoto is small but has the perfect location. I live right in the centre, just 10 minutes’ walk to the hotel, I have to work for. I have a bed, a table, a wardrobe, a little kitchen, a balcony and a small bathroom. Everything what I need, just super minimalistic.
I didn’t want to do anything besides laying in my bed, but I was hungry, and I didn’t have anything edible here. Therefore, I made my way to a little restaurant. My first impression of Kyoto was… I don’t know actually. It wasn’t like: “OMG it is so amazing and pretty here”, but I felt good walking through the streets. And the restaurant I went to was amazing. So small that you could watch the ladies behind the desk cooking your food. And the best was, that they even had an English menu, which is not normal here.
The food was delicious as well! My mood was a hundred times better than before. Friendly people, yummy food and a chilled atmosphere. I didn’t want anything else right now.
Afterwards I headed to the ward office to register my new address. I entered the office and was confused. No English at all! Not the signs, not the staff there. Shit! I tried with gestures to express myself and ended up at the 3rdfloor. It was so funny, when I opened my documents one girl next to me saw the “The Ritz Carlton” label. She immediately spoke to me, because she is working there as an intern as well. So funny! She was there with another guy, who is working as an intern at the “Four Seasons” in Kyoto. They are both studying in Switzerland at Les Roches, the sister school of Glion. It is weird, but it feels always like family when you meet someone from a hospitality school like Glion, Les Roches or EHL. It was so nice!
Even if I couldn’t understand what they told me I kind of managed it to register my address. Thank you, Google Translator!
Afterwards I wanted to search a supermarket to buy some food for breakfast and dinner. On the way I realized that I forgot my umbrella at the restaurant. Omg! Today was not my day. But it was alright. Good that I realized it before being back in my room. On the way I skyped with my mum. Therefore, the walking time went quite fast, even if I walked many times in the wrong direction. I got my umbrella and found a little supermarket. I was just a bit shocked when I saw the prices and the products. 1 apple for 1,60€, 1 onion for around 3€, 300g oats for 3,50€, 2kg rice for 10€, 200g Pasta for 3€? WTF? And I though Switzerland is expensive. I expected that Japan is not the cheapest country on earth, but that expensive? Whole shit! I am broke after this 6 months, for sure! Even the choice of products is super limited. They don’t have something like muesli, lentils, couscous, chickpeas, sweet potato, etc. They sell one sort of rice (sushi rice), 100 varieties of instant noodles and ready to eat sushi, weird Tofu and that’s nearly it. I hope I will find a bigger shop with more choices somewhere nearby.
When I finally got back to my room I just chilled on my bed, watched YouTube and Netflix, took a shower, made something for dinner, repacked my suitcases and organised everything for my first day of internship, skyped and figured out how this air-conditioning/ heater works. But I think I got it now. The day was rough, but I did and managed everything I wanted. I am just happy to be here now and to have a fixed accommodation. If I am excited for the first day? Oh yes!