Things here have been wonderfully busy, with a dash of lazy. It has been a few days since the last update, and with that time, I have learned more about my neighborhood (by getting lost in it) and learned more about my current university. Adventures have been had, indeed. As mentioned, I discovered the location of TGU with relative ease on Saturday. On Sunday, I returned to the campus to attempt to properly locate the proper buildings. That Sunday, absolutely no luck. There are 3 or 4 entrance I now know of, while only one "main" gate entrance. However, this last Sunday had some sort of event taking place that confused my understanding of TGU building placements. I've since learned (in TGU orientations on Wednesday morning) that the campus also contains a middle/high school as well. I believe that the events on Sunday were school related in regard to the younger students. In the end, I still wandered the campus, with no clear direction, and before long, ventured back home… ish.
I figured an attempt at a different way home, in hopes of seeing more of the city of Kodaira, would do me well. I walked west of the university grounds, and then south. At some point I found myself at Kokubunji Station. I explored the station, and its nine floors of shopping. Not really much for me to want to buy, but I think I like some of the items for sale at UNIQLO. I would say that UNIQLO is almost like a Japanese H&M meets Target. It was fairly affordable, and worth revisiting.
At about this point, on Sunday, I was reasonably hungry. After touring the food court level of the station, I opted to leave the station and find a cheaper noodle place. I was soon in an awesome little udon shop. I really had wanted udon to be the first thing I ate in Japan, but I hadn't been so lucky. This shop made up for it. I ordered kitsune udon (sometimes referred to as fox udon) and purchased a side of tempura squash. Absolutely delicious!
Re-energized, I set off to officially return home. The route proved... far longer than anticipated. Truthfully, I was completely lost, in the worst way. Well, not the worst, really. I was not so lost that I was ready to panic and be forced to use my Japanese (the little I could have used to discover proper direction back), but enough to be completely unsure of exactly where I was. I mean, I knew I was in Japan still. Fairly certain I hadn't walked out of Kokubunji or Kodaira. Though, looking at a map now, I was just over-exaggerating my trip home. I walked a very large circle, walking beyond the Hitotsubashi Village about a kilometer or so. I probably returned home about 6:00 pm, after leaving that morning around 9:00 am. It was a good day, providing a great excuse to go to bed early.
Monday was spent discovering (using the internet, not my feet) places in my neighborhood to shop for inexpensive food. I discovered, within a 10 minute walk, a very nice Lawson 100 store, where much of the items for sale are 100 yen. This doesn't always prove to be a deal, but often times it can. These item are usually items sold in smaller sizes. I am happy to know its location, and plan to return.
After the walk to the convenience store, I rested a bit, talked with some of you back in the States, and set forth for a Hitotsubashi orientation in the village Plaza building. After the orientation, which detailed living in the village community, cell phone companies, net providers and a Japanese police representative talked with all us. Informative, too informative. I feel that I have been inundated with too much, too fast. To relax my brain, I looked up Aikido dojos in the area.
Aikido in Japan is going to be, well, not so much as difficult, as much as expensive and trickier than expected. Hombu Dojo is in Shinjuku (a neighborhood of Japan). While not impossible to get to, it is further than I had anticipated. To travel from my university to Hombu would require multiple trains (multiple option on top of that) and a good deal of time walking. I am not opposed to walking (yet), but the commute to Hombu Dojo from my dorm would be about an hour and a half, open way. I need to look into other options, maybe closer. Hombu is still a treat to look forward to, though! More Aikido news to come, without a doubt.