The first two weeks of my time in Japan I was in training in a city called Omiya. It is a 30 minute train ride outside of Shinjuku.
That first two weeks was really such a great experience, I expected to come here and constantly be by myself with no one to talk to when I left work, but it has been so different. Twelve new hires all got into the airport on the same day from different English speaking countries. The US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and England were all represented. Basically we spent all day sitting in a classroom, some nights studying and other nights exploring. It was pretty much a 24/7 immersion into living with these new people, and you would think that you would leave training sick of their faces, but we actually became fast friends and it has set up a nice infrastructure of people that genuinely understand what you are going through as you settle into a new life abroad.
Omiya was a cool place, not particularly quaint, but it really does pale in comparison to a bigger city like Tokyo. Granted while Tokyo, is truly massive, it’s not insanely impressive or awe inspiring. Bright lights feel rather mundane after seeing the Las Vegas strip every day, and the buildings aren’t shockingly gigantic after visiting New York. However, when witnessing the city 50 stories high from a 360 degree panoramic view building the sheer magnitude of the city does give one pause. But I think I am jumping ahead of myself, I’ll try to keep this in some kind of chronological order. Back in Omiya, after seeing building after building that looked like it had been built in miniature proportions, I started fearing that Japan wouldn’t live up to my expectations. The ‘downtown’ area looked like the buildings were Popeyes’ in training that had forgotten to eat their spinach, as if on paper the architect meant for them to be larger, but they just…weren’t.