Classes at TUJ have been going great so far. All of the professors have been so kind and helpful to all of those adjusting and just arriving in Japan. Some of the professors are native Japanese, while others are American or from different places around the world. So are the students! Not only are there American and Japanese students, but so far I have met classmates from Pakistan, Morocco and Finland. There is so much diversity here and it is a great place to learn about other cultures, of course. This past week, after an early day of classes had wrapped up, a few of my friends and I decided to go exploring!
Off to Roppongi we went! Now, Roppongi certainly has a reputation amongst TUJ students and other travelers as well. While it is known for its nightlife, a few of my friends and I were curious to check it out during the day time. Suffice to say, we were just a little nervous. We had yet to stray very far from our comfort zones of the specific train lines we use everyday to get to school and back to Ontakesan. I am sure that you can image that train stations can get a little scary if you do not know where you are going; the mass of people sort of jostling you around, trying to get to their platforms as they just happen to know exactly which direction they want to go. I have visited large cities before and traveled on their train systems, but have never really experienced anything on the trains like I have here in Tokyo. But that is a whole other blog entry. However, I must say, it really was worth the confusion and extra minutes trying to find our way.
While Roppongi is known for its nightlife, what I saw was actually a lot of sophisticated shops, restaurants, museums as well as outdoor exhibits. The biggest one we encountered was a structure that was built to look like a spider towering over anyone that passes under it. Next to it was the Mori Art Museum which featured a beautiful sky deck view of the Tokyo Tower. I have yet to visit the Tokyo Tower, but just seeing it from a distance was awe inspiring.
One major cultural difference that I viewed while in Roppongi especially, a high class and expensive city, is the difference in clothing style between Tokyo and my little town in Ohio. Everyone here is dressed in their most fashionable attire, even just to go to the grocery store. I have yet to see anyone here walking around in sweatpants or a young female without any makeup on. The people in this city really take pride in their appearance everyday.
Although I am sure that some might be apprehensive to visit Roppongi, do not count it out just yet. There really are some beautiful gems tucked away in this neighborhood.