Orientation Day at Sophia University
After preparing for this experience for a whole year and a half, it has finally arrived!
CRUCIAL INFO – When buying anything anywhere, make sure you tell them that you are a gaikokujin (Foreigner) and that you should be getting things tax free. It will save you money!
Around the Dormitory
First thing to note once you arrive in Japan is to not bother registering your address straight away with the local ward (for your residency card), because once you attend the orientation for Sophia University, they will request a Certificate of Residence and for you to join the Japanese National Health Insurance. I am currently staying at DK House Tokyo Nerima (near Fujimidai station) which is a couple stations away from the main station Nerima (where the local ward office is located). The station is somewhat inconvenient due to the express/semi-express trains do not stop at Fujimidai station unlike the local trains. The area around the dormitory is quite quiet with a 10-minute walk to and from Fujimidai train station. There are some good shops closer to the train station instead of the dorm unfortunately, though I do highly recommend the salads at Family Mart!
The dormitory houses both international and domestic students and working class men (I honestly only thought it to be students but I have met some adults here…). On the first floor of the complex, is the kitchen, shower room and a study room. My room is situated on the 5th floor, so to go have a shower and/or make dinner, is honestly the biggest trek. There are toilets and basins located on each floor, as well as a corridor table area that is mostly quiet since people usually stay within their dorms. The dorm itself is quite a small room, but consists of a couple of cupboards, a fridge (If you are lucky like me, my room had a fridge and a freezer, whereas some friends only got a small fridge!), a desk and chair and a bed. Please note that there is no safe in the room so hide your money safely! The bedding is quite comfy even though the bed is quite small, but I highly recommend either bringing your own pillow or purchasing one from a store (not from Muji!)
Traveling from the dorm to Sophia University (Joochi Daigaku) is about 40 minutes, but if you happen to have a period 1 class at Sophia, I highly recommend leaving at 7:30 to comfortably arrive at Sophia by 9:15 (Japanese people are crazy!). Being late to class is quite a strict aspect of the Japanese lifestyle, so please keep this in mind because if you are late too many times, you could fail the course!
The University has a nice cheap cafeteria and food joints close by, so if ever in a hurry for food near Uni, you are covered! Sophia University can also be quite confusing with its layout, considering building 11 is tucked away in a back corner, whereas building 12, is right up near the entrance next to building 1.
What to do
I have only been in Japan for a week and a half, but I have decided that the best things to do, include:
- Hiking up every mountain that you can!
- Visiting some of the popular shrines;
- Traveling to some random station, getting off, and just start walking in a straight line for hours without checking your GPS (I did that with a Canadian mate I met, was so much fun and would highly recommend!);
- Going to all the thrift shops. There is a good one in Shibuya called Don Don Down on Wednesdays where there is 20% off all items.
I hope that the above information is informative and I am looking forward to conquering more mountains!
Bachelor of Business
Australian Government New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant recipient.