Computer & Library Orientation and Exploring Ikebukuro
The computer orientation was somewhat interesting. It talked about our student accounts and how to access Rikkyo’s network. The library orientation was pretty boring. She more or less directly read from the PowerPoint and showed us how to search for something online. A lot of it was pretty self explanatory. I’m not sure why they had to have an entire orientation to tell us that library resources are more reliable than Google. Then, since we were done relatively early in the day, it was time to do some exploring!
The computer orientation was interesting in that it was conducted in both Japanese and English. The speaker spoke a sentence in Japanese and then they had somebody say it in English. It explained that the computer network at Rikkyo is known as V-Campus (standing for Virtual Campus). It showed where we can log into our accounts, what we needed to do in order to set up our student accounts, and the things we could do from our student account. It also explained how to connect to the campus WiFi and showed what computer resources (such as computer labs and renting laptops) were available to us.
We had about a 2 hour break after the computer orientation, so a several of us made our way down the street in search for lunch. After striking out at a couple places, we ended up splitting off, simply because few restaurants were big enough to handle all of us at once. My group ended up going to a small ramen shop. It was so cool because you actually ordered your food from a vending machine looking thing on the outside of the restaurant and then it would give you a ticket that you took inside. When you sat down at your table, you handed the ticket to your waiter and then they went to go make the food. Also, across the street at a FamilyMart, I found that they sold corn dogs, and they tasted exactly like the corn dogs from the United States! It was awesome! Although, for some reason they called them an アメリカンドッグ (American Dog) instead of a corn dog.
The library orientation literally went through the entire process of how to rent a book. It started with us going to the library and getting in the front doors (you have to scan your student ID in order to get access) and that part was useful. However, after that they explained sitting down at a computer, how to search for a book, getting the book call number and finding the book. From what I can gather, this whole process was relatively knew to Rikkyo, just being installed a few months ago. However, I’ve grown up with this. I spent most of my summer vacations in libraries. I think I can manage to figure out how to find a book in the library. I think the only thing I really learned from the orientation is the hours of the library and that, while we can print for free, we are limited in the number of things we can print. Per year, we can print a total of 1,000 black and white pages, and a total of 100 color pages.
Some of the orientation seminars are optional. I definitely feel like the computer orientation should have been mandatory since it talked about our student accounts, but I think the library one should have been optional.
Once we finished the library orientation, I decided to go shopping with one of the other girls from my home university and several other international students who had been at the orientation also decided to go with us. We decided to go to Tokyu Hands first. It had also sorts of different stuff from knicknacks, to household supplies, to pet supplies. The top floor even had an area where you could go in and pet some cats, but unfortunately we didn’t go in there.
For dinner we went to an Italian Restaurant called Saizeriya. I couldn’t believe how cheap the food was, and it was good food too! A dinner sized plate of spaghetti with marinara sauce was about $4. It was funny though because a lot of items on the menu had like a Japanese twist to Italian food. Like one of the pasta dishes was spaghetti with tomato sauce, shrimp, octopus and more. What was interesting though was that the restaurant was on B3 (so it was like three levels underground). I’m learning though that shops and restaurants underground are actually quite common, whereas in my hometown I would probably be super hesitant to go to a restaurant that’s underground for fear that it was illegal or something, haha.
After dinner we went to Book-Off, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite stores. I mean, I can buy manga for about a $1. How cool is that? After that we decided to pop into the SEGA store (the video game company). We didn’t explore the entire store, but we did walk around the bottom floor where they had a whole bunch of crane games. Just like in the United States, the games are practically impossible to win.
After that a lot of us went our separate ways, but some of us continued to walk around and explore. We first went to Uniqlo and GU which are both clothing stores. However, they sell dressier types of clothing which isn’t really my style. Japan has obviously adopted western style clothing, but their style is still very different from America. Honestly, when it comes to clothes shopping I think I would do better in places like Harajuku. Then again, I want clothing that is unique without it being super crazy wild or weird. After striking out at the clothing store, we went to Seibu, which is a HUGE shopping complex that is sort of built into the Ikebukuro train station. It is divided into three sections, the North Zone, Center Zone, and South Zone. The North and Center zones both had 8 floors (if you didn’t include the basement levels or the stuff on the roof), and the South Zone had 12 floors. The stores had everything from clothing to pet supplies to stationary. Safe to say, I don’t think I had ever seen a shopping complex so big.
Eventually we made our way back to the train station part of the building as we were going to meet some of the other students from the dorm and head to Shinokubo, which is a little Korean town. While we waited for our friends, I checked out one of the bag shops in the station. When I had originally been packing for my flight, I had decided to get an actual carry-on suitcase instead of just using a bookbag as my carry-on because the suitcase could hold more. However, I realized after getting here that I didn’t have a bookbag for school. That’s okay though because I was able to pick up a more Japanese style looking bookbag. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s necessary Japanese style, other countries in the world may have these style bookbags too, but you can’t really find them in the United States unless you pay a lot of money, so I went with it, haha.
In Shinokubo, we walked up and down some of the streets for a while just generally glancing at a lot of the stores. There were several Korean restaurants, and almost everything seemed to have a K-POP theme. I’m honestly not into K-POP much, not because I don’t like it, but just because I haven’t taken the time simply to sit down and check it out. However, I know that some of my friends from back home would be going absolutely crazy with how much K-POP stuff was available here. However, I did notice that Girl Bands and Boy Bands seem to be way more popular in Asia than they are in the United States. I mean, we did have groups like NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, etc, but those are all relatively older. I can’t think of any boy bands or girl bands that are currently popular, and even the ones we did have were relatively small, consisting of only maybe a max of 5 or so people. A lot of the boy and girl bands from Japan or Korea seem to consist of at least 5 people and often have more than that. The Japanese girl group called AKB48 I believe has around 130 girls!
Here are a bunch of pictures I’ve taken over the last several days: