» Japan IV. – First Introduction of Tokyo, Tokyo University
Japan IV. – First Introduction of Tokyo, Tokyo University
When I got to Japan during my work travel, I haven’t too much time to explore it. I lived in Yokohama but I couldn’t miss near capital, Tokyo.
Tokyo is a huge city. Too much for me. There live more than 9 million people on 2000 square kilometers. You can see high population density everywhere and predominantly at train and subway stations. Traffic is crazy until you get used to it. I got lost three times at Shinjuku station in one day.
If I don’t count a ride from Narita airport to Yokohama, I got to the capital for the first time right on the second day after I had landed. I practice aikido back home in the Czech Republic thus my first steps headed to prestigious Tokyo University for there was an aikido exhibition on that day, the so-called embukai. My Japanese friend Hidejaki I know from Europe, brought me here. We agreed to meet at a subway station. On my way I realized that my SUICA card doesn’t work all over Tokyo so I had to buy another subway ticket for 160 yen. When we entered the university compound, Hidejaki introduced me the university and why it is so prestigious. He said that it is difficult to get there and who does it is a great victory then.
There was some celebration at the time we were there. Live music was playing all around and everywhere were students. Some of them were selling some snacks. Soon we approached beautiful building. It was a dojo where people practiced aikido. In front of the entrance students were giving away shoe sacks because we had to take off our shoes. Inside people were training. First students of various experiences did their moves and than more than 80-years old Hiroshi Tada, a lecturer. It was very beautiful. After it had ended we and Japanese aikido practitioners went for a lunch. We had to chose our food from pictures in front on the entrance first. Then we paid for the food at a vending machine by the doors and than we could sit and wait for our lunch. It was delicious. For a while I was nervous if I was not doing any faux pas. I think I did quite good.
I had arranged some meals in Japan so I didn’t go to restaurants every day. Usually I had a breakfast in a hotel. I am not used to rice, fish and a soup for a breakfast but here it fitted. Having a salmon every day was a convenient luxury. For a lunch and dinner I had been twice in a classic Japanese restaurant. Atmosphere there was sublime. There was a U shape table and inside Japanese cook was serving people sitting around. Food was cheap, but great. Once I ate a ramena (noodle soup), also I had delicious sushi and other delicacies such as meat prepared in different ways and sea food.
When I saw Tokyo University I hadn’t seen anything else on that day. My work required me to go back to Yokohama. However, in the middle of the week I had a vacation that I used for another Tokyo trip. I didn’t manage to see everything (even a week wouldn’t be enough). But what I managed to see was worth it. I will tell you more in the next article.
Text/photo: Kristýna Bartůňková
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