Traveling around Tokyo to teach is pushing my boundaries in new ways this time, forcing me to take trains further distances and explore different neighborhoods. On my first day of teaching in Kichijoji, Yuri met at the Gotanda station to show me the train route. After class, I told Yuri that I wanted to stroll around the neighborhood and could get home by myself. She asked “are you sure?” I said absolutely, “I remember how to get back.” I ended up getting terribly lost on the subway and it took me over an hour to reach my final destination! I slightly panicked because no one spoke English and I didn’t quite know how to get back to where I needed to go. The subway map wasn’t quite making sense. I finally got some assistiance and found out later that I somehow got on the Chou “Blue Line” instead of the Chou “Yellow” Line. Furthermore, I should have changed trains at Shinjuku for the Yamanote Line (green)! You really have to stay focused!
I teach two classes a week in Kichijoji and I absolutely love this location, its has a great balance of the old and new, affordable goods, and is bustling with creative energy. It’s also more manageable than, lets say, Shibuya–even with the multitude of shops, cafes, restaurants, and stores–you get a sense of being in a close-knit neighborhood. Plus there is the beautiful Inokashira Park, which features a lake surrounded by hundreds of cherry blossom trees. I was able to get a first glimpse of the budding cherry blossoms earlier this week which will be in full bloom in the days to come.