☆ i heart japan,  ☆ life

Living Tall in Japan, part 3

☆ Continued from part 2.
☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here. 🙂

Completely paranoid that I wouldn’t get off at the right station, I somehow made it to what was, from now, my new home base.

Kuji station.

Just barely on the far side of Tamagawa river, Kuji station was and still is a tiny, tiny station on a line that only has local trains. It was supposedly close to the park that stretches along both sides of the Tamagawa river, but  I never made it there in the 8 months that I worked for NOVA.

I arrived and disembarked, with a backpack and my carryon bag in tow (there were more DVDs in there than anything else). I forgot to mention it in the last post, but at the airport, the Nova liaison had sent my 2 large suitcases via courier for me, and they would arrive in two days. It’s called takkyubin, and it’s very reliable and cheap. In a country that relies on public transportation and where most people don’t own cars (at least in the city), it may just be the best and most convenient invention EVER. 🙂

So, when I arrived, evening had already fallen. There is only one exit at Kuji station, though, so when I disembarked and followed the people, it was easy to find my roommates waiting for me. Inside the gates. 🙂 Both of them!! Ang was a pretty blonde from Australia, and Rachelle a cheerful girl from Texas.

The only surviving picture that I have of Rachelle and I, and of course it’s purikura. ^^

They showed me how to use the exit gates. It seems so weird to think of now, but I really had NO idea how to use public transportation! I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had them there for me! Possibly randomly stuck my ticket in the ticket gate (as you’re supposed to), but I would have been way more freaked out about it.

I’d just ridden my first train!


It’s amazing what you remember when you get into the right mood! It’s as clear as day for me now, even though more than nine years have passed since that night. After we disembarked from Kuji station, we turned right, and walked a few feet, stopping in front of a very, very small grocery store. It was so nice of Ang and Rachelle to take me, since obviously I wouldn’t have any food in the apartment. Walking into that store, with Ang pulling my little carryon and Rachelle with my backpack, I looked down the aisles.

Omg… how tiny! TINY TINY TINY! It was about the size of two convenience stores stuck together. I didn’t know it then, but this was actually the largest grocery store in the neighborhood. O.O!!! I was very taken aback with the tininess of the lone grocery store, but it was nearly 8pm by the time, so with my roommates help, I picked out enough or breakfast (yogurt cups and a container of apple juice) and they helped me pay. Good thing too, because I was not coherent at all. And then we began the 20-minute walk to my  (our) new home.

It was after 8 when we arrived, and I barely survived a shower before I collapsed in my room. I’m sure my roommates understood. After all, I had flown to a foreign country on an 11-hour flight, went through immigration, orientation, and ridden increasingly scary trains, not to mention that I hadn’t slept much at all the night before, or any of the preparation that I took before I left. Oh, and 8 pm in Japan meant 5 am back in Washington. Yeah. I’m sure they understood. 😉

In my room was a futon and blankets,  a few hangers, a floor fan, and a tiny little nightstand-thing. That was it. But that was all that I needed. I filled it up quickly, in any case. 🙂

This was my room the next morning.


And this was my room a few weeks later. See a difference? XD;;


So, I took a shower, crawled incoherently into bed, and then nothing.

Absolutely nothing. I couldn’t sleep.


Because I was really in Japan. OMG, I was FINALLY IN JAPAN!!!!

After a few hours, my mind quieted down, and I fell asleep. Only to wake up at 4 am.

Well, nothing like an early start, right? Good thing too, because that day, Friday September 17th, was my first real taste of Japan and it was about all that I could take!

To find out what happens, tune in tomorrow! (=^.^=) I think that I’ll continue this for at least one more day before updating on other things. Maybe a little longer. I’ll continue this story for as long as it takes, but I have yet to decide on a schedule yet!

But for now.. See you tomorrow!!! 😀

(537 geeks have read this)

Hi! This is Jamie Lynn Lano! I am a Washington State (USA) native who: ☆ Holds a Bachelors of the Arts in Media Arts & Animation from AiPx. ☆ Worked as an assistant mangaka in Japan for Konomi Takeshi on The Prince of Tennis. ☆ Was an essay columnist for Asahi Weekly from 2008-2013. ☆ Was the star of Asahi Pop'n Press on Asahi TV (Japan) from 2009-2013 ☆ Was a write for Metropolis magazine in 2010. ☆ Has kept a blog foreeeeeeeeever! First and Current blogs.


  • Simone Hencke

    I know I’m kinda creepy commenting like 2 years after this was posted, but I just discovered your blog and started reading through your series! I just wanted to thank you for writing your experiences down, it’s so well written and super interesting and I can literally feel your emotions and excitement that you experienced back then through the screen, if you know what I mean hahaha. I’m gonna be studying at a Japanese uni for half a year starting in September, and reading this is making me even more excited! So yeah, again, thank you very much for writing everything down, can’t wait to read the rest of it.
    Greetings from Germany,

  • Mona

    Haha I wouldn’t sleep as well if I just arrived in Japan if I just arrived there as well. Did you change your futon into a bed?

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      I kept a futon for over a year, and then after that, I put my futon onto a abed frame that someone was going to throw out. It took me many years until I got an actual bed, but when I did, I learned that Japanese people have no concept of a comfortable mattress! There was no padding over the springs– it was so uncomfortable and I actually got bruises! Insane.

  • Aoi

    aw your room was so tiny and cute! 😮 I’m trying to recognize all the series you have decorated in there. gosh 2004 feels so long ago…OTL -was seriously a baby back then- things have changed so much since then. I bet looking back at this all makes you feel like you’ve grown/changed a lot/are proud of yourself! <3

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Even I didn’t know what all of the series were. I just liked the pretty girls that looked so lesbian-y. 😀

      You’re right, it does! I realize how much I have changed, and how much I have been through since then. I felt really lost, but when I travel or do things today, I don’t feel so lost anymore, or as afraid to jut get out there and do things. And trains! I understand how they work now. 😀

  • Squeaky

    I agree with skay. These stories are truly intriguing. I’m a little younger right now then you were when you first arrived in Japan and reading about being a young 20 something in a place on the other side of the globe!!! ^.^ It’s honestly inspiring. If only people didn’t need a BA to get a work visa. Man I’d probably go tomorrow. Looking foward to the next story.

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Thank you, Squeaky!

      Well, I needed a BA because I am from the US. Are you from the US too, or somewhere else? If you are Canadian, for example, you only need an AA. Other countries have similar work arrangements with Japan. ^^

  • Skay

    Amazingly funny and entertaining~! I love reading about your adventures and this one about your first impressions of Japan is my favorite!
    I can’t wait for the rest *-*
    Please upload it EVERYDAY XD *Too excited to wait*

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