Yesterday (which I guess would be the day before yesterday now) we arrived. The flight was incredibly long, but I managed to watch a few good movies. I watched Darling wa Gaikokujin (My Darling is a Foreigner), which was something I really wanted to watch. I also caught Wall-e in Japanese, along with a historical film entitled Sakura, Sakura. We got lucky since no one bought the third seat in our row, so we had a bit of room to stretch out. However, we spent a good deal of the trip hungry since they didn't feed us our second meal at what would be a more normal time in the United States for dinner. I was lucky I had packed a few packs of peanut butter crackers to keep me over.
When we arrived, I discovered just how heavy all of my bags were. Just dragging them around the airport was a pain. First off we got our money exchanged, which I embarrassingly counted wrong. Not only did I count wrong though, I even wrote down the wrong amount on the slip. I counted $214 (but it was actually $215) but I wrote down $240...I guess that's because of lack of sleep.
Directly from the exchange counter, we went over to get tickets for the bus limousine. I started fumbling on my Japanese, but ended up just ordering my ticket in English.
On the bus, one of the first things I noticed was how most of the cars are rounded. It's kinda cute. Watching the scenery go by, it kind of seemed like I was in a dream since it was so cloudy out. I took lots of pictures, but unfortunately they came out rather dark because of the tinted windows. Not only that though, but there were a lot of walls along the road which prevented us from taking pictures. Sometimes there were gaps, but I didn't usually have my camera ready and missed out.
During the ride, I kept wondering "Are we there yet?" I was pretty tired at that point, and even more tired when we arrived at Shinjuku Station. At our departure I reclaimed my luggage, and we began the long haul to the Sakura House office. My bags were so heavy I felt my arms going numb. By the time we reached the office, I felt like I was going to pass out. Luckily Daniel was able to do most of the talking by that point. I was just so out of it, and when I began to consider dragging our suitcases all the way back to the station after we just came all this way in the first place, I wanted to burst out into tears. After signing the lease and paying our rent, we headed outside. Instead of heading back and attempting to deal with the busy train station, we ended up hailing a taxi. I was relieved that my Japanese didn't fail me there, and even more relieved that we were able to fit my big suitcase in the front seat since both of our luggage and carry-ons wouldn't fit.
We arrived at our apartment maybe 20 minutes later. Daniel managed to get all of our suitcases upstairs, though I felt bad I was so exhausted at that point and not good for much. After getting ourselves situated, we realized that the previous tenants didn't leave a LAN cable behind and we needed to find one. So we took the streets, hoping to run into one. We found one after turning left at the station, but there was a motorbike in front of it so we weren't sure if they were actually open or not, especially since I wasn't sure at the time what 営業中 means. I found out later that it means "open." (・・；) I guess he must have taken the bike in to get it out of the rain.
But despite asking for directions for the nearest 電気屋さん (electronic store), we couldn't find another one. Eventually the world around us started to close, and a slight drizzle began to fall. I was pretty frustrated and upset at that point, and we ended up just going home to our incredibly hot apartment.
However, when we were wandering around we came across this store called Tsutaya. We took a look inside and thought our minds were playing tricks on us. The store was rather large but there was so much stuff it just didn't seem to end. The store called movies, manga, and CDs.
On the topic of the apartment, it's really small, nothing compared to my previous apartment at school in Massachusetts. We have an a/c (which I think also acts as a heater), but it can only manage to cool off the room where we sleep. This means that the kitchen is always hot and the bathroom is unbearable.
Speaking of the bathroom, it's something else. I was prepared for the shower drain on the floor next to the toilet, but the toilet is so tiny. I guess Japanese must have really small butts. The sink is on top of the toilet, but it only turns on when you flush, which makes it practically unusable. There's also no place to put hand soap, so we'll have to use the kitchen sink for all of our sinkly needs, including brushing our teeth. The heater for the shower and bath was kinda confusing at first, since we actually have to spark and light a fire to heat it. Luckily Daniel was able to figure it all out so we could take a hot shower in the morning.
The bath is small and you kinda have to sit in it. Also, it drains onto the floor and into the same drain where the shower goes, which surprised us at first when we pulled the plug.
Sleep, on the other hand, was not something I really got that night. I think I got a few hours of sleep at best, after a few nights of not sleeping at all. We sleep on futons, which basically feels like sleeping on the ground. I'm not sure how Japanese do it. We ended up piling 3 futons on top of one another, which worries me a bit since 2 of them are made of feathers. I ended up rolling around trying to get comfortable most of the night, and at one point I was even awake and shivering. My stomach felt like a rock most of the night, which didn't help much either.