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Tager's Strange Adventure


Japan is quite a different place, that’s for sure. I’m pretty sure most of everyone has at least a basic understanding, if not a good inkling, of such. I know little above what my Japanese class has taught me, and I am only taking anything anime has shown as the blurriest picture in the album. Just how different can it be? Well, I’m about to find out.

[size=20]テイガーの奇妙な冒険 (Tager’s Strange Adventure)[/size]


[details=Day 1: Landing]Boom. Landed at Narita International Airport after 14 hours of straight flying. Never has my behind hurt as much as it did then, and even now I still can feel the stings echoing throughout my posterior.
Not much happened while I was on the ground, other than a slightly improved suffering. My body was failing me, so I made sure to get to bed after having a not-so-gourmet meal.[/details]


[Details=Day 2: My Feet Hurt]Things. Lots of things. Also, convenience store breakfast.

Had someone come pick me and my traveling companion up; however, before that, we were locked onto and thusly interviewed by a Japanese road show called “Why did you come to Japan?” I look forward to seeing my slightly estranged behavior on camera if our interview airs.

We then took a train into Tokyo-proper, on which I managed to get a pretty good shot of the landscape before entering into the city-scape. Just as I was marveling at how compact and ergonomic everything was, we got into a taxi that was too small for all of our luggage, and I ended up being crushed under someone else’s bag. :handbag:

[Then school stuff happens.] :unamused:

But then, after meeting my roommate and a bunch of other people, A-senpai (A grad student who has lived here for a while) took us to a restaurant with a sushi conveyor, where I went in with my first ever sushi. :smiley:


The squid was tough, and not really for me, but the tuna was pretty good; both were randomly taken off the conveyor, as I was willing to try just about anything that didn’t have wasabi on it. The California rolls were too much. If they didn’t have the eggs on them, it would be ok, but I felt it later since it’s not nice to not eat it all. I also had miso soup and something call “cowpiss”, but that isn’t sushi. :stuck_out_tongue:

After all that, we decided to head out and do some shopping. We started by going to Harajuku for a quick walk-through, but all agreed that we’d like to come back when it isn’t raining all the time (Hurray rainy season). After buying some stuff, it was decided that Akihabara was the next logical step.

Lemme tells ya, Akihabara is a day-trip. We were there for maybe 3-4 hours and didn’t even scratch the surface. I will certainly be going back soon, but until then, enjoy this poorly executed photo of a random spot in Akihabara. :wink:

Then suffering due to misunderstanding of A-senpai’s directions, more shopping, and then bed. I look forward to this next day, as this interview could make or break my food tour. :scream: [/details]


Was it this?

I’ve run into similar milk derived products in my many culinary misadventures, but never this particular one.

Mark Gosdin


Wow, everything on a separate plate… so not eco-friendly. (But I did see it was a conveyor belt and I suppose that’s how it works)

But, you were interviewed! After only being in Japan for a short while, now you’re famous! :fireworks:

Buy lots of presents for all of us! :tongue:


Glad you arrived safe and sound! Seems like you are already having fun too. I hope you have a great experience and will continue to share.

If that interview airs, I wonder if we can catch it on YouTube on someplace. I wanna see the famous person! :smiley:

And, yes please, presents! Lots & lots of presents! In the form of pictures of course!

Have a wonderful time! Looking forward to your next report!


Make sure you visist Aokigahara Forest…and take video. you never what may pop up on screen.


@mgosdin : Yeah, that’s what it was. I just recently tried the melon variety after going back to the same place, and it was delicious. :yum:

Nothing about the interview has popped up yet, so I’m thinking it might not be too likely. :sweat_smile:


**Day 3: Ech**

Stuff happened, but not that much. Most of it was trying to stay out of the rain. The interview didn’t go well, so I didn’t get the job. Oh well. Sadly, and a little surprising, no pictures were taken all day. :open_mouth:


[Details=Day 4: Betrayed]Finally, more paperwork and yellow tape to get through as we went to the local bank to get our accounts set up. Yes. I love it.:unamused: Then, for lunch, I decided to eat the rice balls I got from 7-11 the day before. Please keep this in mind.

We then went to the IHOP’s (International House Of Persons) orientation, which started out with an earthquake simulator in the back of a truck, and ended with a load of paperwork and many people speaking about safety and expectations. Needless to say, safety is important.

Here is where those 7-11 rice balls come in. A few friends and I went to a restaurant in an alleyway near the IHOP, which I thought was really awesome (it amazes me how many small mom-and-pop establishments can even exist in one place). We got down to it, and the person sitting next to me actually cooked my meal for me. It looked better in person, but needless to say, I ended up getting sick from the rice balls, so I had to take it home as leftovers. Though we knew it really wasn’t his fault, I blame him and he blames himself, so it’s all good. :thumbsup:

After that, it was time to go to a local supermarket to buy various goods and products. Also, I couldn’t help but marvel at some of the little things they had around.[/details]


[Details=Day 5: Baby Steps]Orientation day for the campus! Woo!!

It actually was every bit awesome and more than I thought. The campus is practically one big building made of many buildings, all connected by catwalks, underground passageways, and some ground level walkways (though “ground level” isn’t very discernible). I didn’t get any pictures, but I got a big boost by being able to understand 99% of everything said in Japanese during the tour (the library is INSANE). :smiley:

After we headed back, and before the big dinner party later, a fellow foreign exchange student and I decided to go wandering. The mass of trees I can see from my window, which was the original target, turned out to be a sizable complex. Turns out, after doing some map-reading, that it was the Nezu Shrine. I didn’t get a picture of any of the main structures (didn’t even get near them), but I got a few good ones, including one of a line of torii.

After that, we had our first sighting of the Sky Tree, and then found a cool-looking structure at random (which is common). Turns out it was a Buddhist graveyard, which is why I took no photos inside. For some reason, I feel like it would have been rude. :confused: We then threw money in the donation box, and made our way home.

All in all, not many pictures or anything, but it’s the small things. :wink: [/details]


Great stuff, Tager! It sounds like you are fitting right in! Sorry about the job though. I’m sure something will pop up. I am really loving your adventure - keep it up!


you mean…

oh Japan, let’s lighten Jasmine’s skin and omit Princess Tiana

Look, you made her cry… :unamused:



Just some ideas, Tager, not that you have to run around looking for things!

Any luck with a job yet?

posted on September 14, 2015 / by Casey Baseel / Rocket News 24

posted on September 10, 2015 / by Master Blaster / Rocket News 24

posted on September 9, 2015 / by Oona McGee / Rocket News 24

posted on September 9, 2015 / by Aleisha Riboldi / Rocket News 24


@tonka : I actually think that puzzle was made before Princess Tiana’s time. :stuck_out_tongue:

@LadyOfWicca : I don’t think I’ll be getting a job soon; if anything, I’d like to get that position with the university, but the next chance isn’t until next semester.
As for the recommendations, I’ll keep my eyes out of the Ben & Jerry’s, I’ll most certainly try the Anko Pies when I go to McDonalds later this week, the cola sounds like a little too much for me :sweat_smile:, and I don’t drink yet (sticking it out til 21 since I’m still under my home university’s rules) but once I do I will surely check them out. :smile:

[details=Day 6]I returned to Akihabara that Saturday for the true experience, but maybe not exactly what you’re thinking. My roommate and I did walk around for a bit, and found some really cool shops, but didn’t really enter any; there was some higher goal we wished to achieve.

We went into the first arcade we could, and I proceeded to spend a few thousands of yen playing many different games. I got to play BlazBlue: Chronophantasma, Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax, Taiko (with another Japanese guy), and that one Gundam game where you enter a pod or something. It was all pretty fun, and even though I burned through 500¥ losing to one guy. The urinal was also a video game, but I didn’t think it was in good taste to take a picture of it. :stuck_out_tongue:

I tried multiple times to ask people on the street were the nearest ATM was since I didn’t take much money out beforehand, but it didn’t work out too well. I did get a packet of tissues out of it, though. I still have a ways to go for my Japanese. :confused:

After getting tired of all the smoke and using up all of our loose money, we went outside, where I had my first tayaki (chocolate) right outside of the arcade. As we were walking here and there, I couldn’t help but notice that there was Love Live! stuff everywhere. There are literally floors dedicated to nothing but Love Live crane machines, among other things. It’s a great time to be a fan, lemme tell ya. =ω=

After we returned to the IHOP, I took all of the advertisements that my roommate accepted for me as to remind me of the fate I must accept. We thought that we were going to get rained on in the end, as the clouds were moving in, but it turned out that all it turned into was a decorative sunset.[/details]

[details=Day 7 + 8]Not much happened on Sunday, to be honest. Did things, I think there was a little bit of a party or something, which eventually spun off into dinner, where I had my first curry since arriving in a Japanese chain restaurant. We then decided to go out and wander around a bit. You aren’t lost if you have nowhere to be.

The next day, we met with our Language Exchange Partners (LEPs), and got to talking about a bunch of stuff while being shown around. It was a little difficult to talk to them at the time, but we somehow made due. They showed us to a cool place you can go to outside and look over many of the buildings.

After expressing our hunger, it was time for lunch in a different cafeteria, where I finally (and rather accidentally) tried natto for the first time, probably for a while too. :stuck_out_tongue: After that, everyone kind of split up, but a few LEPs came back to the IHOP for a little tour in which they took it upon themselves to make the pile of plastic bags on my table into nice little triangles.

Much later than that, I went on a walk down a street were people said there was nothing. After about half an hour or so, I came to a similar conclusion, and just began wandering. After a while, I realized I had walked a few stations over, and began wandering in a direction that didn’t seem like it was getting farther from home. After I came across a station I recognized, I dipped into a small Chinese restaurant on a whim, and got a delicious chicken set while watching news casts about the flooding and volcanic eruption.

Took the train back and called it a day.[/details]

[details=Day 9]Here is a picture of the Sky Tree from the Sky Hall on the top floor of the tallest building on campus. How tall? 16 floors. This university still amazes me. It was at this height, in this hall, where we had a large gathering of international students, LEPs, teachers, and other staff members. After all the teachers gave their words of wisdom, it was time for the international students to introduce themselves. So, with this as the backdrop, I proceeded to forget the past 13 months of Japanese training I have undergone.

After all that, well, I’m not sure exactly what happened. We had a bit of an after-party/study-party for the placement test the next day. We kept going until there was nothing else we could think of to ask our magnificent resident adviser, K-nii-san. As hunger approached, we agreed to go have ramen, where I managed to eat perhaps 20% of it before succumbing to the oil and salt. I felt bad for having to stop, and then having to go later for something from the local 7-11.

We all slowly adventured (never lost, trust me :wink:) our way back home, talking about this and that, getting ourselves mentally prepared for the next day and the 3-hour test we were going to take to tell us just how good we are.
At least there’s an after-party! :smiley: [/details]


No, I haven’t been consumed by a volcano or the ocean as of yet, but I always find myself torn away when trying to write these days. Not to mention me forgetting a lot of what surrounded the events of the past week. As such, I will likely be more concise from here on unless something super crazy happens.

[details=First Week of Classes: Still Alive]To commemorate the beginning of my classes, here’s a picture of the Sky Tree as taken from one of my friends’ balcony. Also, a picture of the best doughnuts ever from none other than Mister Donuts.

It’s already been three full weeks since coming here, and I’m feeling pretty used to everything. A few bits of food still give me a bit of trouble, such as the squid and super heavy stuff. I have yet to try octopus or eel, but will probably do that at the next sushi place I stop by. Until then, maybe some delicious 7-11 bento will do.

Last week I went with one of my LEPs, to Akihabara to get me a new phone. After getting a bit of information and being unable to purchase it on the day, we walked around for a bit, got some lunch, and then found our way to a shrine tucked between two large buildings. I had a few questions about the structures in the shrine grounds, but sadly didn’t get around to asking about these guys.

Also, was able to go to Tokyo Game Show while it was going on last weekend. Other than the huge Star Wars Battlefront setup they had, there wasn’t too much that caught my attention. I REALLY wanted to see what the Love Live setup was all about, but I basically had no time left and had to leave. I was barely there for an hour because I had to go back to Akihabara that day for phone-related stuff. :frowning: I made up for it by taking myself out for the best soba this side of the Yamanote, but I still feel like I missed out on a lot. :worried:

But as I walked around that night, I realized there were a lot of people coming up and down the street, chanting in big groups with old-style setups of bamboo and such built up on empty spaces. Come to find out, it was all to do with the festival at the Nezu shrine the next day.
Yep, the shrine I visited earlier was holding a festival, and I finally went into the main compound up to the main shrine to say prayers. I wanted to try all the food I could (leading to me giving a lot of it away to others), but slowed down as soon as I saw a traditional performance playing out on a big stage (which you can see in the background later).

After eating around for a bit, the crowed I spotted the night before (likely made of slight different people) showed up. It was a festive atmosphere, but everything lit up even more once they arrived. Just as everyone was having a great time and they put the mobile shrine down, two, or even three more mini-shrines came into view and made their way next to the first one. There was a more serious ritual performed by some of the monks there, and just as quickly as they came, they all left.

Not much happened after that. I went to karaoke and made myself some yakisoba, but other than that, it’s been classes and some other activities. I’m still trying to figure out how to get pictures off my new phone, so that stuff is coming later.

Until then, let’s do our best![/details]


Thanks for the great update Tager! Good to see you are doing well.

Mark Gosdin


Annoying cats always getting into pictures. :wink:


I am starting to envy you, Tager. You seem to be having a fantastic experience! I really look forward to your updates and pictures. Loved your description and pictures of the shrine and festival. Keep having fun and learning new things and just send updates when you can. Enjoy!


Whew, quite a bit of catching up to do here, for sure. :sweat_smile: Before I realized it, it’s become one month after my last post. Though I do have a little bit of a reason for that. Everything is a bit disjointed, but please look forward to this picture-dump of a post!

The Next Month and Beyond: Octotober!

Let’s do things chronologically. So, on one of the first days I got here there was actually a welcoming party in the IHOP. Before, I didn’t have any pictures of it, but thanks to the photography wizard I was able to snag a few good shots of the party.

A lot happened, and through it all, I was able to snag some time to do karaoke with some people I met, and then went to an arcade for Taiko and a Star Wars pod game I’d never seen before. I went to do some Purikura, but I think I’ll refrain from posting them here. :stuck_out_tongue: And I went to Karaoke just once, but twice, which was the day right after mind you. I totally want to go more, but taking 22 credit hours is indeed quite difficult on the schedule. :cold_sweat:

[details=My Karaoke List]I always end up singing songs from these artists/shows:
Elton John
Kurahashi Yoeko

I was able to alleviate some of my 22-hour woes by going over the edge and buying some drama and music CDs. Being in Japan is super convenient, though, since I got 6 drama CD sets and 3 music CDs all for under $10. :smiley: The Japanese really do take insane care of their used items.

I went hiking on what I believe was Mt. Takao with a bunch of friends about a week after all those escapades. Thankfully, the photography wizard was with us, so I got some really cool pictures of myself and others. There were tons of old shrine buildings and stones all over the ridge, and tons of spiders all over the place, both of which gave the entire place a nice, old feeling, and since it was up in the mountains the guardians of the shrine were Tengu, which I thought was really cool (don’t have any pictures, though). Thankfully, the photography wizard was there with me when I found this awesome gate-looking thing on our way down. That’s what you get when you don’t take the stairs. :stuck_out_tongue:

Before I knew it, Halloween was fast approaching, and with no costume to wear and everything worth it being over $90, I decided to do something drastic. I dressed up as my dad. Apparently, it was very popular. I must have at least 50 pictures, but I don’t want to overwhelm everyone. :stuck_out_tongue:
After that, and before the big event of this past weekend, I went to get okonomiyaki with a Japanese friend in Shinjuku. It is there that I learned, for once and for all, that my body does not enjoy okonomiyaki, and will reject it. Pretty sad, but it can’t be helped. :frowning:

Ahh… A nice day to be at a shrine two hours out of the metropolis. I just let my inner photographer go wild for the 15 minutes we were given, and for once took more pictures than I knew what to do with. But what was this all about? Home-stay.

We met at the shrine with our respective home-stay families. I honestly didn’t take that many pictures at all during the home-stay, but there were some instances when things calmed down to take a picture, such as when our host father drew a picture of the three of us to help his children differentiate between us. I also took a lot of pictures at a shrine near the top of a hill near the house. It was pretty quaint, if not for the temperature and constant running around.
I was also able to participate in a three-legged race with my host father during a local park’s relay event right before we had to head back to a BBQ and return home. It was pretty busy with the university’s festival going on as soon as we got back, so I helped out with that (which if I didn’t say before, I actually joined a Japanese-only circle, which I’m pretty excited about ^-^). They didn’t really have much for me to do as I got there late, so I ended up helping a few of my fellow circle members practice their English. :stuck_out_tongue:

I kind of became sick during all of it (maybe it was the kids combined with the weekend’s sudden and massive chill), but all in all it was a very exciting and wonderful time! I might not have gotten to celebrate Halloween this year, but I was able to meet a wonderful family, and have a little better idea of everyday life here in Japan. :3


This is so cool!

Are you still in Japan?


Yep. Going to be here until the end of July 2016. :smile:


Sounds like you’re having a good time! ^^


Are you back yet tager


Well folks, I am back. I’ve actually been back for quite a while (about two and a half months now), but never got around to making my way back here for one reason or another. :sweat_smile:

For those of you who were hoping for my consistent updates from the Nihon land, I’m sorry to disappoint, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I figured I’d rather spend my time enjoying myself then trying to figure out how to tell other people how much I’m enjoying myself. :sweat: Down-times were not even really down-times. :laughing:

A LOT has changed in the past year, and I mean A LOT. Made tons of friends, got to work a job at the university I studied at, climbed Fuji, traveled around to many different places, improved my Japanese, and met myself a person with some significance in my life. :wink: It has been a strange adventure, for sure, and I feel like it has not finished yet.

I see things here have progressed just as I thought they would, which in a way is a tad bit comforting, but leads me to believe I won’t be nearly as active as I once was. I am signing up for a job of sorts back over there once I graduate, so you guys might just lose me to the ebb and flow of the Tokyo bay. :stuck_out_tongue:

I will work to get some pictures on here soon, to try and give you guys the semi-diary I said I would in the beginning, but it might take me a bit of time.

Anyway, good to back and I look forward to skulking around! :3