☆ i heart japan,  ☆ life

Living Tall in Japan, part 16

☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

October 9, 2004.

A typhoon was about to hit Tokyo; my first typhoon.

I didn’t mind, though! I was finally making more friends, both a work in a girl from Canada named Winnie, and online-turned-real-life in Andrew, a guy that I met in a community for expats online that both worked for Nova, and lived just three stops from me! I had plans to finally meet him after work that day. Plus, a stormy day meant that a lot of students would probably just not show up for lessons, allowing me to sit and draw and still get paid for it, instead of sit through another lesson that I tried my best to make a little less boring. YEAH!

All in all, it was looking like the typhoon would help make it a great day!

I was wrong, though. Wrong, wrong. Every single student that I had scheduled showed up, even though it was pouring rain and there was driving, howling wind outside. Maybe I shouldn’t complain, but right as I got off, the weather went from lots-of-rain to full-blown typhoon, as if it had been waiting just for me! All of the train lines shut down, and for the next two hours I sat at work, stranded.

The street during the typhoon as seen from my work window.

It sucked even more because other teachers that were still on the clock sat around with me, with students no longer to even take the train in. At least they were getting paid.

The canal between my home and Nanbu station after the typhoon. It was brown and grey, full of sludge!

Oh, and right around this time, there was another thing that hit heavily. I’d only brought one suit and one skirt to Japan. No button-up shirts or anything like that. It would have been really, really nice if Nova had told us that the dress code was for collared shirts only, before I flew to a country that doesn’t really carry my size. After just three weeks of wearing the same thing, I tried to get creative, by wearing polo shirts and too-small-for-my-chest button-up shirts that I bought in Tokyo, with tank tops underneath. The management thought that it was too casual, but there was really nothing that I could do at the time, and it took up my precious time off just to search for appropriate clothes.

You can imagine that I was really glad to be able to spend some time with Nicole on my day off. We spent it wandering around Machida, seeing what was there and bent on finding a 100 yen shop that her coworker had told her about that was 5 stories tall. A 5-story dollar store? What in the world could be in there?!

Everything. All sorts of home things, in all sorts of sizes and colors. I even bought a shoulder bag!!! This was my indoctrination to the wonder that is the Japanese 100 yen shop. It’s amazing. It blows US dollar stores and London Pound shops out of the water with all of the quirky, colorful stuff in there. You can even buy fresh fruits and vegetables in some of them! (There were times later on between jobs when I ate pretty much exclusively from them) A japanese 100 yen shop is a wonderland, and I bought bags and bags of things, all of which I had to haul to TGI Fridays for dinner, and then home.

TGI Friday’s! A restaurant that I actually knew!

Blurry, but this is the photo that I took of the inside. 🙂

Oh, and one more thing. In Japan, the elevators don’t care whether you are running for them or not. They’ll go right for the throat.

There was an elevator in this shop, and right as it closed, we made a run for it, assuming that like every elevator we had ever been in, it would open back up if it sensed something in the doorway.


No, this elevator (and most elevators I experienced later in Japan) hit me HARD in the side, and then still tried to close. Not only did it make me dizzy, but I had a bruise that night that ran down my hip and thigh, dark, dark purple and was still with me a few weeks later.

Owwwwwie, Japan!

Elevators: 1. Me: 0.

Keep that in mind if you ever travel to Japan and find yourself facing an elevator. They are out to smash you to pieces or cut you in half, if they have to!

At least my Alien registration card came the next day, so I was finally a registered alien. Yay?

I’m pretty sure that disturbing thing #1 is coming up pretty soon, so be sure to keep coming back! 😀

See you tomorrow! (^o^)/

(278 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.


  • rehan

    Seriously (゜_゜)
    looks like a guy of my height 6’1″ have to take his clothes back from home to Japan. (ーー゛)
    btw Hi Jamie ^_^

  • Audrey

    That’s so dumb that NOVA didn’t tell you about the dresscode before you left! Luckily the major eikaiwas are super upfront about it now.

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Yeah, other people had to scramble for work clothes too, and I felt sorry for the tall men, because they can’t even wear a skirt like I can, and getting long pants would be next to impossible! A lot of people that I worked with wore the same things every day too, because that was all that they could get, and nobody wanted to waste a ton of money ordering something online (there wasn’t much available back then either) and paying more than the clothes themselves cost for shipping to Japan.

Leave a Reply to Jamie Lynn Lano Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.