Snow and the Train Station: Japan Days 6 and 7, A Travel Log

Day 6

Today, we went to teach at the local elementary school. After the fiasco teaching the college girls, I was fairly concerned about the elementary school. It turns out that there was no need to be concerned. We sang songs, we did dances and all went smoothly. The trick for this age group is to have a bag of tricks that is virtually bottomless. You have what you’ve planned for the day, but if things go faster than anticipated, you always have another activity to do with them.

Whenever I think of teaching, I always pictured older students but I really had a lot of fun with the first and second graders. I wouldn’t mind teaching English to this age group.IMG_1783

It snowed today. Not enough to stick where we were, but apparently it stuck a little in other parts of Tokyo. It occurred to me that today was the first cloudy day I had seen since coming to Japan. It’s been bitingly cold, but until now it’s also been blue skied and sunny.

After class, I went out to get some hot chocolate from a vending machine. I feel much better than I did yesterday. I’ve been eating more and drinking a lot more water. I think that has helped. Sometimes I forget to drink water and eat and I end up just sipping coffee all day.

It doesn’t look like I’ll be going on the Shinkansen while I’m here. I knew it was more expensive than the regular train, but I didn’t realize just how expensive it was. It’s 25,000 yen round trip to Osaka! That’s about $210! It’s like an airplane ticket. As much as I wanted to ride the bullet train, I don’t want to ride it enough to spend $210 on a ticket. That’s too bad. Maybe next time.

It's drippy today.
It’s drippy today.

Day 7

I found the train station! I went on bike and, lo and behold, there it stood in all its glory. I bought some sushi for dinner and went home. Once home, I immediately set out towards the train station again.

I can never tell where is an appropriate place to park your bicycle outside of shops and to add to my uncertainty and paranoia, there are no-bicycle-parking police patrolling the streets. I don’t know whether people park their bikes illegally and they just don’t get picked up, or if they have to not be on the equivalent of a yellow curb or what. All I know is that if my bike is one of 20 illegally parked bikes, my bike is the one that will get ticketed. My luck is just that bad.

I prefer not to tempt fate whenever possible, so I set out for the shops around the train station on foot so I wouldn’t have to deal with bicycle drama. I was heading for Starbucks (partially for a change of scenery and partially because people were doing loud construction work outside my house), but on the way I came across Doutor, a different coffee shop, so I stopped in there instead. I pointed and gestured my way through ordering and I ended up with some kind of chocolatey coffee drink with green flakes on top of it.IMG_1790

I took my tasty drink and sat down to do my homework: one of the random things on my random to-do-in-Japan list. I wrote my essay and drafted a lesson plan for my second meeting with Ramen.

Since it’s the weekend, I felt like I should go somewhere. R and S were headed to the public bath (onsen), a place they go at least once a week, but I declined. Maybe if I was going with a bunch of girls who were much more confident than I am, but getting naked with a bunch of stranger ladies doesn’t sound fun to me. Even if I were to go with R and S, I would spend the evening alone and naked in the women’s section of the onsen. Sigh. Maybe someday. I’ve heard it’s an experience I should do at least once.


One thought on “Snow and the Train Station: Japan Days 6 and 7, A Travel Log

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  1. I one hundred percent understand not wanting to visit onsen alone. But I did visit a sauna in Russia which seems to have a similar vibe and It IS worth it. Once we worked up the nerve to get naked we realized (a) so was EVERYONE ELSE, no one cared and (b) there’s something very satisfying and comeraderie-making about getting totally clean and relaxed in a safe space. (One of the girls got her back beaten with leaves by an old Russian woman. It’s supposed to be good for your skin? No idea how it’s supposed to work, but it was a blast.)

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