The first day of work, I assumed I needed to be at Emerson at 9am so I got on the train to get there at that time. Never before in my life had I felt more like a sardine (and I had taken some pretty busy trains in Japan before that). Needless to say: rush hour is crazy. It's like squeezing all of the highway traffic you run into on 471 into a train instead: hot, stuffy, and rather uncomfortable. I'm sure many of you are wondering if I have seen "the pushers" but honestly no train I have been on has needed them because PEOPLE PUSH THEMSELVES into the train. Just when you think the train can't hold any more people there is someone backing onto the train and using their hand above the door to push themselves into the train.
Now that I'm done complaining about the trains for now... So then on Monday I finally get to work and my boss is on a business trip (I think every job I have started either my trainer/mentor or boss have been absent... weird) so my coworker explained what I would be doing and put me to work. He also let me know that I can pretty much show up anytime between 8 and 10am. I went home that night and probably had dinner and maybe watched some anime, but I'm not quite sure. The train was also really busy on my way home.
The train was really crammed again so I decided to get off at a station I hadn't stopped at before to just wander for a while before going home. And it turned out really great for me! I found a more professional looking purse for under $15 that I had been looking for and a covered shopping street! I didn't take many pictures there that time, but eventually I will. It reminded me of a place Gayle took us to the first time I was in Tokyo, but I have no idea if that was the place or not.
They had a Book-Off (on the off chance that I haven't introduced Book-off I will go ahead and do that) which is a store that sells lightly used and preowned DVD's, CD's, manga, and games. Because it is apparently not cool to buy things that are used in Japan, the items are SUPER cheap and most popular things are available at them. Book-Off also has a line of other stores like Hobby-Off, Book-Off Super Baazar (goodwill but bigger), and others. I have been stocking up on Asian Kung-fu Generation CD's from them for anywhere between 280 and 500 yen.
I found out that I am a 25.5 cm shoe in Japan that night (but all shoes over 25.0 cm cost outrageous amounts of money!!) and found a 300 yen store. Needless to say, it turned out to be a good night.
Then on Sunday I met two new conversation exchange partners and had some extra tasty food!
I met for a language exchange for dinner and because it was really nice out and I had an hour to waste I wandered around my office building taking photos. Then I went to Shimbashi (near Ginza) for dinner. Apparently, about 3 years ago Shimbashi was the place to go for guys 40 and up but nowadays it is teeming with men and women alike of all ages. We had Okonomiyaki and Hiroshimayaki at a very fancy restaurant and then went to an adorable little bar afterwards where I thought an English-speaking person was British by his accent, but apparently he's from Philly! What a nice surprise.
We then tried to find a bakery that would toast bread for us but couldn't. We went to Omotesando next to try to find another international grocery store to see if they had JIF but the store didn't exist anymore. We walked around Omotesando and Yuta helped me look for a My Little Pony character in the toy stores we passed (for a friend back home), but no luck on that either!
After giving up on the peanut butter and the toy we decided we were hungry and chose to go try Monja-Yaki which is Tokyo's take on Okonomiyaki (quite different from Hiroshima and Osaka versions). In my opinion it was great! and having less doughy-ness to it, I didn't fill up as quickly and could try a few varieties. We first had cabbage with sesame I think (?), which was a great hand-food appetizer. Then we chose a monja that I don't remember the name but it was one that the restaurant suggested and had everything from Natto to Okra in it. I made that one as you will see in the pictures. We then had cabbage, pork, and kimchi that came in a tin foil and just sat on the grill on our table to cook. Being still hungry, we decided to try a spicier monja that Yuta cooked. And then we couldn't help but try a dessert monja. I will make my comments about that after the pictures.