My First Week in Japan


HOLY GUACAMOLE.  It’s been almost a week since I set off and started my journey to Japan and it has been nothing short of amazing.  I’ve been working for two days and it’s been so overwhelming.  I first had orientation in Tokyo, where we went to workshops to help us transition into language teachers and living in Japan.  Lets just say it was exhausting, but I met so many great people from all over the world.  The orientation was in Shinjuku, so I mainly stayed around that area when we went out at night.  I could only be out for an hour or two because I was so exhausted from jet lag and sitting at orientation all day.  I will definitely be making a trip back to Tokyo in the near future!  It’s such a huge city and there’s so much to do.


Honestly, it felt like I was in LA the entire time since I was stuck in the hotel.  I didn’t actually look outside a window until the middle of Monday (we got there on Sunday night) and I didn’t step outside the hotel until Monday night.  Once I stepped outside, it hit me.  This wasn’t LA.  I’m more than 5,000 miles away from LA.  OMG I’M IN JAPAN BREATHING THE SAME AIR AS MIURA HARUMA!!!!!  The whole time we were there, it felt like I was on some sort of vacation.  I was going home in a couple weeks (actually it still feels like that…) and I’ll be back at home with my kitty and waayyyy cooler weather.


I’m living in Mie Prefecture, about four hours south of Tokyo.  I think my town is super cute and everyone I’ve met so far is extremely nice.  Even though I barely know any Japanese, they still try to talk to me.  We basically exchange one word and a lot of smiling and laughing.  I’m so thankful the other JET I work with knows Japanese, so she has been translating for me.  I feel bad that she has to do it, so I will study extra hard to get as conversational as I can!


We took the shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Nagoya and I had to take another train to Mie.  It took about 4 hours in total, which is not bad!  I’m so happy that I’m pretty close to most of the major cities: Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, and Tokyo in the nearish distance.  The bullet train reaches up to speeds of 200 mph which is pretty awesome… and fast.  This is my second time riding it, that I haven’t had to pay for, so I was definitely savoring the moment.  The tickets to ride the shinkansen are pretty expensive.

Tokyo Station


I’ve already made some mistakes.  Ah!  But I’m glad that I’ve been able to laugh them off.  When I first got to my city, literally ran around everywhere trying to get things done.  I saw my apartment, I went to the town hall, the market, and back to the town hall to meet the mayor.  I introduced myself so many different times in super beginner Japanese (blkajr;ekaj;ekfjae).  I accidentally handed over $300 for my groceries when they costed about $24, I was smiling awkwardly at the mayor when he was super serious, and there are so many other things that have happened, and I’ve only been living here for two days.  HOLY MOLY.


My apartment is bigger than I expected it to be.  I have a ton of space which is really nice.  There are three different rooms: my bedroom, the TV area, some kind of laundry/closet thing, plus the kitchen and bathroom.  I love it.  I was expecting to have one giant room, like a studio apartment, but having separate rooms is nice!  I don’t always have to been in the same place all the time.  Once I make it a little more homey with more pictures and belongings, I think this place will feel like home.  But the bathroom kind of creeps me out…

Japanese apartment

Japanese apartment

Japanese apartment

I’m so excited for the days to come!  This is just the beginning.  There are so many new experiences and adventures to come.  I’ve barely gone out and explored my city, but hopefully I’ll have the chance really soon, just to walk around.


  1. Kristyn @ Milk + Crown

    Wow, sounds like a whirlwind of experiences already! Haha, I’m sorry but I had to laugh about the mayor incident–and the $300! That’s too funny :) Blunders like that make for great stories and memories though. And your apartment is very spacious. I can imagine why the bathroom is creepy…

    • Mallory

      They are great memories! They make for great stories, even though at the moment I was totally spaced out. I’m having such a great time right now!

  2. Mel @ The Nectar Collective

    I loved this post!! It reminds me SO much of exactly how I felt when I first got here. My apartment was pretty big too! Actually really big! haha. It had like three rooms, a kitchen, etc. I didn’t even use one of the rooms, like…at all. haha but I loved that apartment and I’m really glad you are loving yours too! I think living in smaller towns is really nice because the apartments are big and people are nice. I hope the rest of the week goes well! I sucked at Japanese too and everyone translated for me, so don’t worry. :)

    • Mallory

      Thanks! :) I’m always happy to know that there are people didn’t who know any Japanese before coming here and they’re just fine. But I’m motivated to learn the language!

  3. Erika

    Mallory, I am soooooo excited for you and loved reading this! I could just FEEL your excitement coming off of the computer screen! And Tokyo honestly looks so amazing and big and wow! And I was going to ask about your apartment and it’s like you answered the question as I read and included the photos — awesome! It sounds like so much has been going on your first week — and I can’t even believe it’s been a week already!!! :) And oh yeah, haha, I loved the stuff about your mistakes, too! I can’t wait to see how you end up improving with speaking Japanese by the end of the year!

    • Mallory

      I’m so happy that you liked it!! Tokyo is an amazing city and it’s waaaayyy too big to travel around in just one weekend (especially if you’re super tired). Haha! I was totally reading your mind even before you even thought it ;) I can’t believe it’s been a week already too! Soooo much has happened, but it’s probably not going to slow down for a while.

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  5. adventuresofalondonkiwi

    That’s so cute how you met the mayor!
    I’m fascinated about your bathroom though- Does it talk to you like our friends’ one in Kyoto?

  6. Waegook Tom

    This is making me excited for my move to Taipei next month! I love getting settled in a new apartment and making it feel like a home, rather than just a box with a few basic things. Also, I’m pretty sure I’ll be heading to Japan next year – we should totally meet up! ^.^

    • Mallory

      I’m excited for you and can’t wait to read about all your adventures! Yes, we should definitely meet up if you come to Japan. I’m also planning to go to Taiwan in the near future (hopefully), so I’ll probably need a tour guide :)

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