In the end it was faster than expected: My time in Tokyo has already come to a close. It was a period of little freetime and a lot of work that wasn’t always fullfilling me – or that I felt wouldn’t bring me forward professionally. More than once was I questioning whether it made sense to continue and considered leaving early. Finally I decided to pull through and make the best out of it. After all I started this world trip to gain different experiences and not several times the same one.
Dont get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad! I did get to know some new approaches to architecture and I certainly enjoyed my company. Looking back at it, I think I can actually take a lot more with me than I might have noticed when I was right in the middle (That was meant figuratively, but my suitcase also gained some weight…).
Maybe due to this emotional rollercoaster, but certainly also due to the lack of freetime, I never found time to update this blog. I don’t think I will go back and write about my experiences in greater detail, but I will upload some pictures. I have taken a lot – stay tuned.
– interlude –
This past weekend I moved on. After a more than 24h long trip I set foot on the last continent (being permanently inhabited by humans) I had never visited before: Australia. I arrived in Melbourne and started my internship with NMBW today – an architecture and urban planning studio whose design starts off from the perspective of the user and therefore sometimes appears unconventional. I am looking forward to taking part in this thoughtful process and maybe to experiencing their university research.
The first days of the week I used to stroll around the area and visited some sites of the office’s current projects. Immediately I felt comfortable with the city. Life seems a lot more relaxed here than in Tokyo and the weather is nice (There are just a little too many Germans here for my taste…). On top of that there lays an entire continent ahead of me ready to get explored!
Sitting in the airport lobby I decided to make a quick log entry. Due to the 90 day limit for touristic stays in Japan combined with the categorization of unpaid internships as touristic, I had to choose one out of two options to be able to stay for the desired 4 months: Either my office and I go through a bureaucratic application process with the migration authorities for an extension or I leave and reenter the country. It didn’t take either of us long to decide for the latter option. So here I am on my way to Singapore for a 5 day trip. Cu soon, Japan!
When I’m back I will give an update on my life in Tokyo and what I’ve been up to in the meantime.
My two weeks of leisure and first week of the internship have now officially passed. In the beginning my intense jetlag actually stuck with me for a couple of days, probably intensified by the fact that I didn’t have any schedule that I had to cope with and was able to sleep in and got to bed late every day. Still I was able to venture some exciting things and to meet new people.
The highlights were probably visiting teamlab, a crazy experience exhibition for all senses, met up with a japanese former colleague from PEZO VON ELLRICHSHAUSEN and attended a students’ projects presentation at his uni, went to a disco in an aquarium – yes, you heard right! Something like that probably only exists in Japan – tasted some crazy food (I’ll elaborate if you ask me, but please brace yourselves), took a look over this mega-city from an observation deck, educated myself about japanese culture and history in the Nationa Museum and enjoyed homemade food at my house’s summer party. Sounds like much, but there is still so much more to do! Including visiting the fish market and trying out ALL the food.
This Monday was my first day at work. So far I can tell that the office works on some interesting projects, people and the office space are very nice and the myth of the restless office hours in Japan seems to be true, but at least we interns are supposedly asked rarely to work the weekends. But don’t worry, all “daijobou”. This (most important) japanese word apparently originally meant noble man, but is nowadays used in almost every situation, meaning “It’s alright”, “I’m fine”, “No, thanks” and “Yes, please” (yes, both of them), “Everything is gonna be good” and so much more.
Tomorrow three colleagues and I will travel first to Osaka and then on Monday to Yoshino, where our office built a beautiful timber house that we have the chance to spend a night in. I will upload some pictures of my first time here afterwards.
After having spent 2 months back home in Germany, I now moved on to the next stop on my world trip: Japan!
In August I’m gonna start working with Go Hasegawa, whose studio regularly finds extraordinary answers to everyday problems. Without the necessity for an architectural style or expression, their projects seek fulfilling the people’s true needs and desires.
I decided to get here a little earlier to explore my new home before being busy with work. My trip was a rollercoaster ride between good and bad luck. It started on Monday evening while preparing my suitcase when I couldn’t find my passport. After 5 hours of searching I had already given up emotionally when I finally found it. Turns out, when tidying up my room before, I had confused my expired passport with my current one and had put it away (luckily not thrown out!). Having to leave my house at 5am, there wasn’t a minute left to sleep. The bus driver obviously didn’t realize I was in a hurry when he closed the doors right in front of me. Being a little behind schedule, I decided to walk to the train station carrying my 20kgs luggage in my hands cause its wheel is broken. At this point I really questioned the use of having showered before. Unfortunately I didn’t catch the train either and had to wait 15 min for the next. Luckily I made it quickly through baggage drop off (being told by the agent to better hurry up) and security and managed to be one of the first at the gate.
Then my three flights to Brussels, Hong Kong and finally Tokyo went by without incidents. Thanks to my host here I knew beforehand exactly how to get to my new home. Additionally I had free WiFi at airport and train stations – all easy! Then I arrived at the final stop where my host’s explanation ended with only the words “8 min walk” – no directions whatsoever. Additionally the final subway stop was the first one I’ve been to without WiFi and on top my phone was about to die. Of course it would be too easy if everything went by smoothly. After more than 24 hours of traveling, I found myself in front of a physical map in the entrance to the subway station (yes, these still exist nowadays) trying to find myself a way.
After a couple of minutes a lady approached me offering “Can I help you?”. I showed her my address and she laughed “That’s my house!”. What a coincidence is that? There are 36 Mio people living in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area – and the one I meet is one of my 7 housemates! She walked me to my new home where I met my host and other housemates. I am really looking forward to living in this cute, traditional japanese house for the next months and can’t wait to explore the city.
Today, I woke up at 8am, got ready, got myself some breakfast and felt a little tired. I decided to close my eyes for a couple more minutes and BOOM – it was the late afternoon. I never had a jetlag this crazy. I will go out for dinner soon and will try again tomorrow.
Side note: After having banged my head heavily into doors twice already within the first 24 hours, I suddenly get a totally new interpretation to Alphaville’s song “Big in Japan” – ouch!