I got up at eight this morning, and headed off to the Immigration Office to get my reentry permit for my visa. This is so that I can keep my gaijin card when I leave the country, and I won't have to do anything to keep my Visa status when I get back from Hawaii.
It took me an hour and a half or so to get to the office, which is about a fifteen minute walk from Tennozu Island stn. on the Rinkai line, almost as far as Tokyo Big Sight. I managed to miss a couple of trains, and then got off the train when I didn't need to, so I had to wait for the next one to come along, which was fine, but a little bit inefficient! I love how there is a Koban on every corner here, I was able to get directions from a police officer from the station (he obviously gets this question a lot as he had a dedicated map just to point out where I was headed)!
Anyway, I got there, found the forms, filled them out, when downstairs to the convenience store to buy my stamp, then went back upstairs, grabbed a ticket and waited for my number to be called. Sixty-four people later, I went up, presented my forms and AMPM receipt (they really do like convenience stores here for stuff!), and my passport (I can't wait til I get my new one after Christmas, my poor passport is pretty embarrassing due to the hot chocolate in the not so spill proof mug dumping into my open purse while merging onto the highway incident a couple of years ago)
Luckily, I made it through just before their lunch break, so I managed to get out of there in just over an hour, QR code firmly affixed to my passport, and headed back up to Shinjuku. Not exactly sure what I was planning to do there, but I ended up exploring for a couple of hours (I use the term exploring loosely, wandering aimlessly would be more apt a description!) I also finished the Google book, as well as David Sedaris' book 'Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim'. (over the course of the day, not just in Shinjuku!) I noticed the book when it was first released because of it's cover (a Chip Kidd design), its basically a photograph of the midsection of a naked barbie...pretty hard to forget! In the end, I picked it out at the library because I recognized his name from the This American Life podcasts, and I'm glad I did. Even though I don't usually like short story collections, this is more of a memoir in several parts. I thought it was a good quick and easy read.
(skyscraper-ey!)(I also found this guy during my random explorations of Shinjuku, tucked away in the pet department of the Odakyu Department store (what's the connection between the store and train line? Is there even any?), and had to take his picture... Why? Because this garden variety bunny was selling for Y54 600! (550$CDN)... That's nuts!!!! Incidentally you know you've been living in Japan for too long (Peter!), when you're told about this and go... Mmmmm that's not so bad... and then actually take a moment to realise how ridiculous it is to spend that much on a glorified rodent... The bunny was neighbours with the 40$ gerbils though, so who knows!)
Today's other interesting event was a three hour Japanese lesson this evening! Three hours is a long time for a private lesson without breaks! I found out about it through Metropolis, they are free lessons run by a volunteer group here in Tokyo, near Iidabashi station. I ended up with a private teacher, who was very nice, but moved pretty quickly! It's really really really lucky that I know as much (or as little depending on how you want to look at it) hiragana as I do, because that's all she used, as she covered (and I'm sure this isn't a complete list):
vegetables, jobs, locations, family members, where do you live, where do you come from, how long have you been here, past and future and present tense of several verbs, giving and receiving directions, how to ask and answer several different types of questions (with variations in the answer), money, numbers, modes of transportation, basic sentence structure, and of course, an on the fly refresher course in hiragana.... I'm glad I took notes as fast as possible, I'll definitely need to sift through all of this a time or ten! I can't believe how much I've forgotten since grade 12, depressing!
Anyway, she was very very nice, and helpful and answered all my questions, so I'm glad I went! She won't be there next week, but I'll probably still go, depending what else is going on, and then we're gone for two weeks, and then the whole country goes on holiday for a week, so it might be a bit of a slow start, but better than nothing really!
Head spinning, I headed up to Orbitune, which was easier to get to b/c of being on JR, and then hung out there for just under an hour while Peter and Jordon finished some stuff up... We headed home and listened to the beginning of the metpod on the way, they put my mini concert review in, which was entertaining...It's funny how your voice always sounds so weird to you when you hear it from another source!
And that's about it for today, tomorrow's very exciting news is a morning trip to Baji Koen for some barrelling! Thanks sooo much to Hitomi for persevering and getting this organized! I hope I can still do something on there when I get to practice tomorrow... ;)