By Tabitha Belshee
Typhoon Jongdari reminded me of the storm that hit Japan on move in day from last summer. I lived in a sharehouse in Narimasu with 5 other interns from Come On Out, so we all agreed to leave the Toshin building together to travel to the house. Unfortunately, the rain started right as we began. The storm was not a typhoon, although the strong winds and pouring rain made navigating the train stations, accounting for delays, and navigating on foot even more challenging.
One of my housemates, Jake, had the additional bad luck of having the handle on his suitcase break as we found our way to Shinjuku station. He had to carry his suitcase for the remainder of the trip -- cutting his hand on the plastic handle in the process. He had a fantastic attitude about it and really set the tone for what could have been a fairly stressful moving experience. If you’re wondering, he ended up buying a new suitcase from Don Quixote before returning to America.
None of us had tremendous experience navigating the Japanese public transit system, so we didn’t understand the difference between an express train and a local train. This confusion turned a 45 minute commute into an hour+ commute. We also didn’t understand the Japanese system of street addresses, so we showed up to the gate of the wrong house with full confidence before realizing our mistake.
As a whole, the moving in experience took a lot longer than it should have due to a lot of factors, including the weather and our own inexperience. But it was a great foundation for getting to know my new housemates and we did get there… eventually.