Yup, I am alive

Wow… this was a very long week… or maybe short? I didn’t have much time for anything… and sometimes that was also true for sleeping. So in fact – it was short.
Lots of days were with rain… I wonder how it will be when the rain season starts. I hope that I will not have to build Nemanja’s arch.
Tokyo is a very big city and you can easily get lost in it. I still have not found out how to they number the buildings – but every building has some three numbers – what do they mean – I have no idea! But at least when you are lost – you just find nearest Koban (police box) and ask them. Policemen here are really friendly and will help – also they have all the maps there and will find the place you need. Or if there is no Koban near – you just ask somebody where is that what you need – if they do not know – they will ask around, or even take you to the Koban and ask for you (in Japanese off course).
If you ask somebody for directions and they think it is too hard to explain – they will even walk with you to that place even if it was in totally opposite direction of where they were heading. Yesterday I even asked for some address and a couple of people didn’t know and I decided just to go straight ahead – I put my earphones on my ears and started walking. Some 30 meters ahead – I sensed someone pulling me by backpack – one guy heard that I needed assistance and he helped me – he knew perfectly english – which was a bit surprising. He took me to the address I needed and we talked – where I am from, what I am doing here and stuff like that. I also asked him where did he learn the language. Suddenly everything became clear – he was studying in Australia for 6 years, and he didn’t know anything in English before going there… basically same situation as mine. He also gave me his name card if I need some help.
Generally I heard that people in Japan when they see gaijin – they want to talk to them so that they can practice some english. The another thing which I also heard that will happen is that even if gaijin talks to them in Japanese – they will reply to gaijin in English.
So now we have image of Japanese people like they are friendly to us, foreigners, right? WRONG! We got kicked out of a restaurant just because we are gaijins… I just heard blah blah blah… gaijin… blah blah blah and seen the hand motion that says – go away. That was unpleasant. Image of the name of the restaurant can be found in the gallery (soon). Ok, that was isolated incident and it was not fair to say that they are not friendly to gaijins.
I also bought a good bilingual atlas of Tokyo – for 1 USD. Very convenient thing for getting around Tokyo – and because several times I couldn’t identify where is the north – I had to buy a compass also… now I can go wherever I want… Oh yes – I forgot to tell that the atlas was printed in 1993 and it is first edition. I guess it is OK ; )

So you decided to come to Tokyo and you want to use your phone here. Well… if it is one of the modern ones, 3G, than you will be able to use it – otherwise forget it. Also if you think that you will buy here a telephone – forget about that also ; ) There are stores for foreigners that sell mobile phones with GSM support – but they are very expensive. And if you want to buy a telephone for usage here – you can also forget about it if you do not have any type of residence here – tourists can not even buy pre paid numbers here – they can only rent it. And 99% of the telephones sold here are tied to the networks and even branded according to the network. So you have Softbank, KDDI, NTT DoCoMo telephones – but nowhere you will find good old Motorola, Samsung etc. (If you check Samsung mobile web site for japanese market you will see that it produces telephones for Softbank). Oh – and did I mention that telephones here are expensive? One good thing about the Softbank – they have a student discount – and with it you don’t have to pay monthly charge but only what you make – and calls and SMS’s between Softbank users are free until 9PM.

We received our bills for electricity… I will have to cut my power usage a bit… I am one of those who has highest bill. And I only use laptop and hot water. I have seen a lot of people now using their laptops in the study room… and only at night use them in their rooms. We all became power savvy people 🙂

Shopping here is a real pleasure – especially if you have a VISA card from Meridian Bank – why? I’ll tell you later ; ) Difference here is that in every shop they respect the customer and are always available to help. No one will tell you – “What do you want?! I just swept the floor!”. Every shop also tries to keep it’s customers by issuing loyalty cards with which you get discounts. For example in Yodobashi Kamera when you buy something you get 10% of what you spent on your card so that you can spend it for something else. But that’s not all – some manufacturers even make some promotions – so for example I bought one camera and they will give me 200USD in cash after around a month. I love shopping in Japan! Did I mention that prices in Serbia are around 50% higher than those in Japan?

One thing you do not buy here is paper tissues. Why? Because you can get them for free – they give out them on the street with some adverts together. So if you need tissues – just walk around and you will get them. I now collected so many of them that I started thinking of starting a export business of paper tissues.

I finally bought shoes! I thought that it was mission: impossible – but I succeeded! Often it was like – they are ugly – or more often – they don’t have size 😉 I am big foot here ; ) But when I went to Adidas store – there were no such problems. And I didn’t pay too much for them.
So now I started going to the gym – it’s 3 minutes walk from my dorm – and it’s free! And thanks to my friend, Hiks, I know what to do, and more importantly how to properly do it 😉 That’s why some of my friends suggested that I should organize them a training ; )

Next week I am buying a bicycle here and I will see if the bicycles are stolen in Tokyo. I hope they are not – but who knows? I found the place where I will buy it – but I do not know how to transport it to my dormitory. I guess I will have to ride it back to the dorm. ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD! That is going to be fun. Good thing is that until the end of this month I have travelers insurance so I am covered for injuries up to 15 000EUR… Oh and by the way – shop is located in part of the Tokyo called Ikebukuro. In that part was also Adidas shop. Why am I telling you which part of the Tokyo it is? Well – that part of the Tokyo is part which is controlled by Yakuza’s. But during the day it was safe… but during the night… I don’t want to test.

Two days ago my friend and I went to a sushi restaurant. It was one of those where sushi’s are going around the place on the plates and you pick them off the track when you see some that you like. After that you pay based on amount of plates – and prices are color coded. I don’t know why it works – but it works. I know one place on this planet where people would just put the plate in their backpack… they would get free plate and free meal ; ) After experimenting a lot – we decided that it was enough – and the best part – it was cheap! Staff was really friendly – and even one of the girls who is working there is going to our university ; ) The chef told my friend that she speaks Japanese really good. So in fact that means the opposite. Here you know that yours Japanese is good only when they stop saying you how good it is.

This weekend I wanted to visit one big park in Shinjuku and one big temple – but because of poor weather conditions – I had to postpone it until next weekend…
I hope that we will have nice weather when we go hiking to mt. Fuji in May.

See ya people!

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