Battling Homesickness and crazy weather

There has been constant warnings of typhoons approaching over the past couple of weeks and one actually did hit the Tokyo region pretty hard on Monday. But before the craziness in the weather preceding then hit, I tried to keep the homesickness at bay by having something to do everyday – whether it be as simple as do the groceries, or visit the 100Yen shop or meet a friend for lunch. Having a mission for the day has definitely kept my spirits up.

A couple of Mondays ago after I battled through settling up by bank account (which actually was the least painful of all the administrative tasks I had to undertake – mainly because all the staff spoke in English!) I sort out an macrobiotic restaurant for lunch which had an attached grocery store. I picked up a few things – basil, chia seeds but the best of all was instant Vegan ramen!!! I have yet to actually try it, so not sure about the taste. But the fact that it actually exists is amazing!

That evening I met up with my friend Rachel who lives in the local area as me, and we joined a meet up group to see the Ota-ku fireworks. Of all the fireworks I have seen this summer season (3 in total) I think these were my favourite. It was set to a story (obviously told in Japanese, but I kind of made up my own story with what little I could understand and interpret from the sound track).

 

The next day I had nothing planned to do so I went out on another solo expedition – this time to Yasukuni Jinja. It is a Shinto shrine commemorating those who died in service of Japan. It’s quite an expansive place but my favourite part was the ‘sacred pond’ with the koi fish. It was really peaceful and serene there. A little bit of respite from the city on a gloriously muggy hot day. In order to get to the temple I had to change trains at Tokyo station and I had heard many people rave about a ramen place located in the station. This is not just any ramen place, but an entirely vegan ramen shop! It took me a good half an hour to find the place and it is neatly tucked about in a corner of the station. The ramen was delicious – not that I have an much experience having ramen at all! But not having to think about what to order on the menu is pretty awesome.

Amongst all the meetups and events I have been to, one of my favourites so far has been the 1mile/100 miles event to I went to in Asakusa with my new friend Emma. It was run by a hotel and it had local and expat business people speak out their favourite places within 1 mile and 100 miles of their area (hence the title). It was really interesting to hear them speak about places they have tried, tested and come to love.
The next day there was a vegan food truck festival in Meguro. The weather was pretty sketchy, it had been raining on and off for most of the day and continued to do so in the evening. But it was still a great night, I met up with Hana and Rachel and we enjoyed the hipster vibe of the place. It was nice to just sit, have a chat and relax and share stories of how we are setting up our apartments and lives here.
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On Saturday it seemed like the typhoon was well on it’s way – it was raining on and off the whole day and I had planned on attending another meetup to view one of the last fireworks of the season – the Setagaya ku fireworks. Luckily it seemed like the rain had stopped by the afternoon and it was clearing up so I ventured out to meet my friend Justine. The clouds were looming but we decided to do it anyway, but alas on the half an hour walk to the venue the heavens opened up and it began to pour. Not light sprinkles or mist – it was raining HARD. But we were all committed to being and staying there. The organiser of the meetup luckily had some tarps to sit on, so we made a makeshift shelter to huddle under. It was an oddly bonding experience and the rain stopped just as it approached 7pm – fireworks time. It made the spectacle that much more amazing. A group of us decided to go out of drinks and ramen as well. So friends were made as we shared an uncomfortable yet rewarding experience!
And to battle the homesickness, Justine and I ventured out to the only Guzman E Gomez in Japan in Harajuku. It tasted just like home…
**I have been battling with the crazy slow Starbucks internet for more than an hour so I may just upload this post without all the pictures and videos and come back to it when I have proper internet (goodness knows when that will be!)

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