I am now making myself at home in Nakajima Lab at Tokyo Institute of Technology where I will spend this autumn working on my thesis. I’m staying at the International House which is conveniently located in the same campus as the lab; Ookayama Campus.
The trip here was a bit of an ordeal, but I’m suspecting that the travelling curse I seem to be affected by is loosing it’s grip! I didn’t land in the middle of a potential civil war, as I did in Beijing 1989, I didn’t end up on the wrong continent as I did 2004 in Costa Rica when I was supposed to go to California, and I wasn’t left in the wilderness without luggage and handbag as I was 2003 in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. What happened this time was that I missed my flight at Heathrow due to the time to stand in line for security checks, and that I, on my way to Tokyo Tech gave the taxi driver 30 000 yen instead of 3 000. That is peanuts really compared to what usually happens when I travel alone. But I’d better not get my hopes up, it could be bad luck and hubris, and I should touch some wood immediately. (Swedish custom that annuls bad luck due to hasty comments expressing hope.)
As soon as I got to the lab I could relax. Everyone was extremely helpful and just in a few hours I had all accounts needed, a desk, access to both the lab and the International House where I stay, had my luggage dropped of and got guided around the area! We even had time to drink coffee and chat.
Since my arrival I have… well it feels like I have slept more than I have been awake, but in the waking hours I have been reading guidebooks. In the reading room of the International house I found a veritable treasure of literature on Japan – guidebooks, classical Japanese literature, language course book and more.
Being enveloped by a sign system that is new to me I have made a start of deciphering it by listening to pod casts with Japanese language lessons and browsing some books on katana and hiragana – signs.
I still haven’t used the subway, but I will at least do it on Friday to get to the Tokyo Game Show.
I am probably in line for a culture shock (se phases here), but it will probably be mitigated by the fact that the lab is pretty much like labs are all over the place. The questions I asked about the daily routines of the lab when I arrived made me feel at home – it is familiar. So I can make excursions to explore Tokyo with the comforting knowledge that I can go back to the lab. Here is information about the research in the lab.