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I'm in an Apartment... back...
...but not the one I thought I would be staying in when I wrote my last post.

Later that day I got an e-mail from the company who leases the apartment. I won't say the name of the company while I'm still living in one of their apartments. But it starts with S. And rhymes with Akura House.

The e-mail informed me that someone else had got in before me in paying the deposit, and now the only apartments they had left were 7sq.m. or one in Saginomiya. The one I'm staying in now.

Oh well, these things happen, it was really no-one's fault but mine. So enough of that.

I said goodbye to my parents and went through security at 12.30 pm yesterday. The plane was delayed by 1.5 hours including time waiting before boarding and time spent sitting on a non-moving plane. It wasn't a bad journey, I managed to get in 1 and a half hours' sleep through Hitman: The Movie, and watched Sweeney Todd as well as Superbad for the first time.

I was sitting next to a guy called Patrick. Originating from Ireland, he's spent the last 10 years in and around Tokyo apart from a few visits back to Ireland (from one of which he was returning). We only got chatting after 9 hours or so, but it turned out he was also headed to Shinjuku station. Difference is, he had a pretty good idea of how to get there. So another 30 mins of train delays later (Patrick swears it's the first time he's seen a train delay in his time here), and we were on the Narita Express, on our way to Shinjuku station.

Once there, we went our seperate ways, and I pretty quickly got lost. Determined to find my way I resisted the urge to ask for help until a kind, elderly Japanese guy asked where I was trying to go. I won't go into the details of how it took us almost an hour to find the Sakura House office, but let's just say I learned that there's a lot of Epson buildings in Shinjuku. What was awesome was that this guy asked me if I wanted help, and spent all that time trying to find the place with me, something that is pretty much out of the question back in London.

So after checking in at the office I was hit with the delayed realisation that I had to haul my 18kg suitcase and hand luggage to Seibu Shinjuku station. Luckily I found it without too much trouble. With the help of a policeman.

The slightly tricky thing about the trains I've used so far in Tokyo is that the stations don't have Romanised names on most of the signs. This means stop-counting is in order, which may be all well and good when you've had 2 hours' sleep in the past 24 hours. But yeah.

I found my way to Saginomiya Apts. eventually, after more of aforementioned hauling. I was helped at the last moment by an early 20s girl, and her boyfriend, who seemed very friendly until I heard him spit the word "gaijin" mid-sentence.

So yeah, way over 24 hours after arriving at Heathrow airport, I find myself sitting here writing this, when I should probably be sleeping. It's for that reason that you'll have to excuse the grumpiness of this post.

So I decided to get something to eat and drink before I went to sleep. But on leaving my apartment I noticed a distinct lack of light. Oh yeah, the hour hasn't gone back in Tokyo. Well, it was still worth a try, I had a map and it should only be 10 minutes walk. At first it was slightly creepy, walking though a deserted playground, hearing the creaking of the merry-go-round and also of a padlocked gate, both moving in the wind. I could hear sirens in the far distance and birds like I've never heard before. And mysterious shadows (which later turned out to be one of the many neighbourhood cats. Yeah it started out creepy. Then I noticed that a taxi driver had left his car in the road, with the keys in the ignition, the doors (presumably) unlocked, and the engine running; the guy was nowhere to be seen. So maybe it's not a bad neighbourhood. Or maybe it's almost impossibly to come across one of those in Japan in the first place.

I found my way to a local mini-super-market and bought a small supply of liquids and fruit until I can find somewhere that sells meals tomorrow.

I bought some "100% Orange Mikan Juice", a few oranges, and a mysterious looking drink that, having now tasted it, I guess would best be described as Vinegar Juice. Mmmmmm. Maybe it's an acquired taste. I guess I'll find out as I'm determined to give it a proper try now I've bought it.

I guess I should point out that while this e-mail may make me sound like the most ungrateful whinging bastard on the planet, I have actually enjoy every second of the experience so far. Even if only in my English, begrudging way.

I didn't manage to take any photos while I was out, so I'll finish with a couple of photos of my slightly messy apartment.

[pic2]

[pic3]

If it looks like it's not much, well, that's because it isn't. But it's a livable size and close to a station which gives pretty easy access to Shibuya, so it's fine by me.

I need to sleep now before I pass out. Goodbye.

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