Ueno, Shibuya, and My Last Day: Japan, Days 23, 24, 27, and 29

Day 23

Today, we went to Ueno to see the crowded street of shops underneath the elevated train tracks known as the American Black Market. It gets the name from the amount of international (especially American) brands you can find there. If you’re living in Japan and you just have to have that thing that you can only get in America, this is a good place to look. Or if you have trouble finding Japanese clothes that fit right.

The American Black Market in Ueno.
The American Black Market in Ueno.

I had never seen so many foreigners in one place, nor had I been in a place so in-your-face. Salespeople are more pushy and the streets are louder. Quite a bit different from most of Tokyo.

IMG_1909
Ueno.

Before leaving Ueno, R and I ate at the Hard Rock Cafe, one of the three in Tokyo. Boy was the food good. I had baked mac and cheese with grilled chicken.

After Ueno, we went to Shibuya to see the largest crosswalk in the world. Shibuya has a lot of music venues, music stores, guitar stores, and it seemed like everywhere I looked I saw a musician. The amount of people in the crosswalk was incredible. I do not envy anyone who has to drive in that city.IMG_1911

Another interesting thing about Shibuya is that it has a lot of hills. I didn’t realize it until we were actually walking up those hills, but Tokyo is overall pretty flat.

We visited the statue of Hachiko, a dog famous for his loyalty. His master went on a trip in the 1920s and died while away from home. The day he was expected back, Hachiko went to the trainstation. When his master didn’t arrive, Hachiko came back the next day at the same time. He continued coming every day for nine years. His statue now sits in Shibuya as a testament to his loyalty.

We headed home and I spent the rest of the day (and most of the night) finishing making the materials for my four one-on-one classes tomorrow.

Shibuya.
Hachiko Statue in Shibuya.

Day 24

I taught from noon to 4pm. My classes went well.

Day 27

Graduation day. We had a party with pizza and Mad Libs. I got my certificate and can officially become a TESOL teacher in Japan.

Day 29

Today was my last day in Japan. I spent the morning finishing up packing and I went to the bus stop at 1:30, to make sure I made it to Narita airport by 3pm.

At the bus stop was an elderly woman with a white mask. She was the most friendly and talkative stranger I’ve met in Japan. She didn’t speak any English and I didn’t speak Japanese, but she still wanted to talk, so we did.

My last picture of Japan.
Kanamachi in the evening.

I didn’t understand most of what we were talking about, but if I listened carefully, I could pick out key words like “doko” (where, and whenever someone asks me “Doko__” it’s usually them asking me where I’m from), “sakura” (cherry blossoms), “Narita,” and “Kanamachi.”

Talking to that woman felt like closure for the month. When I first arrived in Japan, I could hardly get myself to say “konnichiwa.” Thirty days later, I had a makeshift conversation with a stranger.

Next time I come to Japan, maybe I’ll be able to carry on a full conversation.

 

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