The first few days in Japan were such a rush. A few friends and I arrived in Tokyo a few days early so that we could do some sightseeing before school started. We stayed at a tiny AirBnB apartment in Harajuku. After struggling through the train station with our 2 giant suitcases each, we realized we had no idea where we were. The directions we had started from the subway station, not the train station, and none of us were paying for international data plans on our phones, so we couldn’t just look it up. Eventually, we asked a very kind woman for directions. Not only did she tell us how to get to the subway, she escorted us there herself. From there we made our way to the tiny third-floor apartment, dropped our gear, showered, and set back out to explore the area. Most things were already closed, but we managed to find some vending machines (NO they didn’t have women’s underwear in them!!!) and gachas before heading back. Sore and exhausted, we all passed out as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

Over the course of the next 4 days, we crammed in as many touristy activities as we possibly could. We visited a local shrine


…Walked around Akihabara


…did Purikura


…stopped by a maid café


….and a cat café


…visited Hachiko


…went to Disneyland…


…toured Tokyo Tower…


…and finished things off with a last minute crepe run.


By the time we got done with all this, we had to rush back to the apartment, finish packing, and make a mad dash for the airport. We had a much easier time navigating the train stations now that we’d done it before, but at one point I had to stick my arm in the closing train doors to keep us from being separated. Luckily we made it, though with little time to spare.

Once the plane landed and we got off the bus that took us to AIU, we checked in and were shown to our rooms. My friends and I were separated for the first time since we set out. I got to my room and was told I would have to buy my own wifi router if I wanted wifi. All I had was an Ethernet cable, and my modern computer didn’t have an Ethernet port. I could have left my room and found internet access on a school computer, but it was dark, I didn’t know my way around, I was alone, and frankly, I was still really tired. So, I just unpacked a few essentials and got into bed. In hindsight, I needed that alone time to pause and recollect myself as my biggest adventure was only just beginning.