Today was orientation in Shinjuku (downtown Tokyo). Shinjuku station is the busiest train station in the world. We were oriented for 6 hours, with a break for some disgusting cold coffee. After, we went to Subway for dinner and the bar at the bottom of our building for a few drinks. The drinks were very expensive so we got a group of about 40 and wandered Shinjuku looking for a bar. About an hour later we found and English pub and the 20 that were left happily went in for a few drinks. Drinkng with English people is fun, I recommend everyone do it one in your lifetime.
Also, I got to see Fuji-san for the first time today!!! Simply awesome, even through the Tokyo smog.
There isn’t really a traditional “downtown” area in Tokyo. There are a lot of built up areas like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Shinagawa or Ueno that have their own attractions and shopping.
At orientation we signed up for cell phones and bank accounts. If you decided to sign up for a cell phone at the start of orientation you could walk away with a functioning phone at the end. Most people opted for this. My phone was an awesome flip phone with a camera and web browsing features. It is primitive by today’s standards, but was far ahead of anything available in Canada at the time.
Other than learning about the company and the job, one of the topics that was focused on was drugs. We were informed that in Japan there is no difference between “soft” drugs like marijuana and “hard” drugs like heroin or cocaine. Drugs were drugs, and they were all illegal. The police have the power to detain you while investigating, and we were told in no uncertain terms that the company would not help us at all if we ran into trouble with Japanese drug laws.
After the orientation we ended up at the Rose & Crown pub on the first floor of the NS building. I feel bad for the Rose & Crown and their periodic invasions of new English teachers. Our group was loud and enthusiastic, but fairly well behaved. A few months after I started, one of the new teachers got extremely drunk and puked all over the restaurant. The senior instructors spent a lot of time apologizing on behalf of the teachers and the company.
After the masses left the Rose & Crown we were all keen on getting another drink somewhere. Nobody really had any ideas on where to go or how to get there. After about 5-10 minutes of everyone standing around I announced “follow me!” and randomly chose a direction. To my surprise, everyone actually did follow me. We slowly started losing groups of people who either found a bar to go to, or realized that the crazy Canadian guy at the front of the line had no idea where he was going. My group of followers ended up in Hub British Pub, which is a fantastic place to have a beer or watch some footy.
Lesson of the night – everyone will follow you as long as you look confident that you know where you are going.