Tokyo, December Edition

I just got home from one of the best trips of my life.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it on this blog, but I am a huge Arashi fan. My Japanese teacher in Canada introduced me to the Japanese drama, “Hana Yori Dango,” starring none other than Jun Matsumoto. Not only did I get hooked on Jun, but I also got hooked on the theme song, which led me to the band, Arashi (of which Jun is a member). I’ve been a goner ever since!

Before I came to Japan, I knew that I wanted to try to see Arashi in concert, but they are one of the most popular bands in Japan and tickets are very hard to come by – in fact, the only way to get them is to be a fan club member and to enter a lottery, hoping that your name is one of the lucky ones drawn. So, one of the first things that I did upon arriving in Japan in August was join the Arashi Fan Club. (Yes, I have my priorities straight!) When I put my name in for the lottery in September, I got to choose my top three concert venues; knowing Tokyo would be the biggest and the best, I put my number one choice as Saturday night at Tokyo Dome, never thinking I would actually get it.

In October, the lottery results came out and, what do you know, I got my number one choice! I paid for my ticket by doing a money transfer into the Arashi bank account at my ATM, fretted that I had deposited it into the wrong account number (Japanese ATMs will be the death of me), and jumped for joy when, in November, I received my ticket in the mail. Not only was I lucky enough to win my first venue choice, but I was also lucky enough to win a seat on the floor in the arena! Fangirlish excitement ensued.

If you have me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been the happiest lately. In fact, knowing that I was going to Tokyo to see Arashi for a weekend by myself was the only thing getting me through the last month, and was pretty much the only thing that was stopping me from breaking contract and booking a one-way flight home before Christmas. (Well, that, and I love my students and JTEs and fellow teachers way too much to just up-and-leave like that).

And then my big travel day, Friday, December 13th, arrived, and brought with it snow and strong winds that cancelled my train.

I was beyond devastated. I was visiting my Elementary School that day, and it took everything I had not to break down and cry and give up right in the middle of the teacher’s room. However, that morning, I had arrived at school with my luggage and told several of the teachers of my plans, and when we found out that the trains were cancelled, the teachers and Vice Principal sprang into action. They called the railway company, they called the bus company, they sorted everything out for me, and before I knew it, my Vice Principal was driving me to the bus station in his own car. I got a bus to Akita City, where I then boarded the Shinkansen, and arrived at my hotel in Tokyo only an hour later than originally planned.

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No matter how many times I ride the Shinkansen, it will always impress me. This is one of the Super Komachi trains that services the Akita Shinkansen line.

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On the way to Tokyo, all thanks to Kyoto-sensei!

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In case you’ve ever wondered what the inside of the famous Shinkansen looks like…

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Inside Tokyo Station! You’d never know it was past 11pm – it was still so busy!

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The amazing view from my hotel room. I could stare at it all night!

It’s thanks to the kindness of my ES teachers that I made it to Tokyo and that I was able to have the best weekend of my stay in Japan so far. If this doesn’t prove how nice the people in Japan are, then nothing will!

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The view from my bed. Yes, that’s Tokyo Tower. Yes, I was incredibly happy. <3

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