Monday, May 21, 2007
Lost in translation 

Today was a beautiful day and P and I wandered around Shinjuku trying to get me a mobile, only to realize his work visa had expired hence I will need to wait for it to be renewed before I could sign up.

I ended up getting a digital camera from Yodobashi instead.

It was pretty much love at first sight because it had all the functions I wanted and was compact, vintage-looking and at the incredible price of 26,200yen (about SGD350). I figured it would cost too much for my mum to courier my old camera from Singapore and that I could always sell it off online if I didn't like it.

I had to control myself from buying half the store because they have a much wider range of computer and electronic products than in Singapore and at a cheaper price too.

However, most of my money have been going into food and transport. A normal bowl of noodles costs abt SGD8 while a nice meal at a Mexican place (where I went with the Bloomberg folks last night) would cost you about SGD60. Train rides range from SGD2-8. They do serve very good coffee here too, which makes T one happy girl.

In the evening, we took a train down to Tsukiji to meet his friend Masa for dinner. It is a quiet residential area famous for its fish market as well as being a 5-10 minutes walk away from Ginza, one of the most expensive place in the world to live in.

We ate at Tonkatsu Wako which comes with a free flow of rice, clam miso and salad. I stuffed myself stupid because we had missed lunch, and also because I was lost in translation while P and Masa happily bantered away in Japanese.

Masa invited us to his new plush apartment which overlooks the Odaiba and Ginza area but it turned out to be a set-up with people from the Buddhist organization. We were innocently having coffee on his couch when two of his friends "dropped by" to return him a DVD they "borrowed" from him- they asked if we wanted to watch the documentary together but we did not want to impose on their time and ended up sitting around chatting instead.

One was a pilot with JAL and another was a stylish assistant editor of a popular women's magazine, and it all seemed very cordial at first until they started asking P about his faith and brought us to the balcony to show us the temple, and then ended with asking P if he would like to bring the DVD home to watch and got his contact details as well.

P was pretty offended as Masa has been trying to ask him out but now it seems he had a secret agenda all along. I simply took it as an experience as part of my new life in Tokyo.

I really hope to get started with proper Japanese classes soon. It is frustrating to communicate with my very limited vocabulary and I depend on P to translate the menus for me. I find myself staying very quiet in social settings because I try to blend in and understand what they are saying from their gestures.

One thing at a time, I tell myself.

I start my one week training with Berlitz tomorrow and I should get down to reading the pre-training package. P just reminded me that I might very well be the only Asian girl in a sea of Americans and Britains and I will need to present my most confident and professional self.

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Female. Singaporean
Traveller. Bookworm.
Coffee Addict.
Amateur Photographer.
Wannabe Fashionista.
Museum Geek.

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