Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Typhoon & Earthquake

First two weeks in Japan and already both typhoon (not directly though) and earthquake have happened.

Last week, typhoon number 18 went past Japan. They count typhoons here with numbers instead of giving names for them since they come every year. So this typhoon was the 18th of this year.

The typhoon didn't directly hit Tokyo as it went through central Japan, but it rained almost for the whole week. I wore slippers for the whole time as I ruined one pair of (cheap) shoes on Sun 6th when it rained a lot. Or to be honest the shoes got soaked and let of color resulting my feet being black even after a wash.

Going to school on a rainy day. Shibuya station.

Where the typhoon went. 日 means day, weekday is in the brackets, 時 means time.

Coming from school. (Yep, I slipped and that's why I have a patch on my knee.)

The cheap Japanese umbrellas are really nice. :D And actually our teacher said today in the class that the umbrellas are apparently becoming a popular souvenir from Japan. She didn't understood why, but I told that in my opinion they are: cheap (~500yen from konbini), useful (you can see through, so even strong wind wouldn't be a problem), somewhat strong (more than you would expect from a cheap one. I want to take one home to Finland as well haha. :D

Then on 13th Saturday morning 5:49 am, the first earthquake came. The epicenter was at the Tokyo Bay and the intensity was 5.3. At our place it was either 4 or 5 in intensity based on the map (it doesn't have any names on it so I'm not sure which measurement point is closest to our place).

At first I didn't even understand what's going on, I was too sleepy. I though my neighbor is washing laundry (and that it's on the fast spinning mode "sling?", "linkous" in Finnish) in the next room and I was like "what the hell, why do you do it in the middle of the night". Then I realized that a) we don't have washing machines in the rooms, b) the walls are moving. But I didn't even bother getting out of the bed as I just looked up and declared that ok, nothing's going to fall on me and just continued sleeping. I can't remember it clearly as I was so sleepy, but the following picture gives some proof that it actually happened.

My laundry money pile was straight in the evening.
We also learned in our first Japanese culture/history/business/etc. lecture about an app (Yurekuru) that warns about the earthquakes about 10 or 15 seconds before it happens. My Samsung S2 has too old Android so I can't download it. More more reason to get a new phone. Many of the Vulcanus people woke up because of the app, I woke on the quake itself... and some people didn't wake at all. They seem to have good skills on sleeping. :D

Monday, 7 September 2015

First days in Tokyo

First week is behind and it's been a busy one.

Tokyo is... hot and humid. Though not as hot as it could have been (for example only +26'C at the most during the day predicted by the forecast for the first day). And yesterday is was raining cats and dogs (="satoi kuin saavista kaatamalla" in Finnish) and more rain is predicted for this week especially for tomorrow and Wednesday. Yay....

I left for Japan on Mon 31st from Helsinki with a straight Finnair flight and arrived Tokyo Tue 1st Sep around 9am. I can never really sleep on the plain so I practiced the Japanese way of sleeping in the train on the way to our hotel. I didn't fall asleep, but the Japanese seem to do so almost instantly. (For those who don't know, Japanese people might have really long commuting to their work or school and thus they tend to sleep on the trains.) We took the cheapest train from Narita Airport to Ikebukuro, so it took us almost 2 hours to reach the hotel.

The view from the hotel room in Ikebukuro.
All of us (all 45 people) spend the first night at the same hotel and on the next day we had orientation at Omotesando. After a super brief orientation we waited for our company representatives who took us to our dorms which for us is located at Takadanobaba. Our place is so really nice: we had everything needed ready for us and the place is relatively close to the school as well as Shinjuku. Shinjuku is one of the busiest areas in Tokyo with the busiest train station in world. Wikipedia tells that "The station was used by an average of 3.64 million people per day in 2007".

Not-so-busy Shinjuku in the early afternoon.
Going around Shinjuku with some of the flatmates: Mathilde (France), Edgaras (Lithuania) and Thomas (Denmark)

Besides the orientationDuring the first days we had to do registration to the city hall which is in Shinjuku, get National Health Insurance required for people staying for more than 6 months, open a bank account and get a sim card for phone. All of these went pretty smoothly. There's another post coming up soon with more detailed information about all of these (aimed for the next Vulcanus students).

Some photos of one evening in Shinjuku:

Mathilde and me in Shinjuku.

Choosing ramen for dinner. You choose the dish and pay outside the shop . The machine gives you a receipt and you take it to the counter inside and they'll prepare the dish for you.

Taiko no Tatsujin! The great taiko drumming game :) Tutorial going on at the moment.

A smaller street in Shinjuku.

The Godzilla is always watching you...
On Thursday we had more orientation and in the evening the official reception of the Vulcanus programme at the Sheraton Miyako Hotel. The dress code was business as there were people from embassies and the companies present. There was no-one from the Finnish embassy, but I met a person who is going to work in the same team as me in Hitachi. My feet hurt so much as we had to stand for the whole reception and I wore heels 12 hours during that day.

Business style at Yamanote Line by Takadanobaba people Aidan (Ireland), Giovanni (Italia) and Thomas.

Business style by me and Ed.
The venue


A shop named Kiitos with a Swedish flag even though Kiitos means "thank you" in Finnish...