Home » Archives » February 2007 » Let's go (to) school!

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02/05/2007: "Let's go (to) school!" mood: rushed

I've been talking with many people from home about my trip to and from school and how long it generally takes. Because of this I thought I would make a post about the whole process from start to finish. A sort of a "day in the life of-" minus everything but my commute.

A short overall info: I live in Saitama, go to school in central/lower Tokyo, takes 2 hours one way. When people think of Japan they immediately think of Tokyo. While Tokyo plays a large role in Japan as a country, there are other places here. Japan is split up into what's called prefactures, similar to our States and Canada's provinces. And much like different states, different prefacturers have different governments, styles, living costs, etc. Tokyo the city is in the Tokyo prefacture but it's size is so massive that it bleeds over into surrounding prefacturers. Tokyo prefacture surrounds Tokyo bay and even has several man-made islands in to supply more land for the insanely large metropolis.

Here is a map of the kanto plain area prefactures. As you can see Saitama is directly to the north of Tokyo. I live somewhere in north eastern-ish Saitama. As you could see from previous posts, where I live is pretty spread out and not so crowded.

So every day I head out from where I live and head into town by train to Azabu in Tokyo. Azabu is a very ritzy rich area. I can say, without lying, that everyday I see ferraris, moseratis, bentleys, etc cutting through traffic on my walk from the Azabu-juban train station to my school's campus. A one room apartment, from what I was seeing, can cost you upwards of $1,200-$2,000USD/mo.

This is how I start my day just before I leave for school. I sit on the laptop I'm on as we speak, check my webcomics (penny arcade, megatokyo, and reallifecomics), chat a bit with friends, and check to make sure I finished all my homework. On M/W/F I leave about 9:30am, Tu/Th about 11:30am.

This is what I see just after I park my racing bicycle and am walking towards the train station.

Here is the entrance to Sengendai station.

At the top of the sairs I turn right and see the gates. The line of people in the back are buying tickets for the train. They then take the ticket and put it in the slot at the entrance of the gates, which then opens a barrier, and spits out the ticket on the other end (when they reach their destination they do the same thing and the gate keeps the ticket).

After passing through the gates you walk down the stairs onto the train platforms. At my station, there are 2 platforms, one for each direction. On M/W/F I always hop into the 9:51am rapid train to Kita-Senju, where I first change train lines.

Trains outside of tokyo usually aren't subways, and are therefore above ground. Take special notice of sub-zero next to the door. One respectful part of the Japanese culture is, if you are sick, you wear a mask in public as to not spread germs onto others. An awesome biproduct of that practice is the opportunity to look like sub-zero or scorpion without it being halloween.

This leg of the trip takes the longest, even when on a rapid train. Probably around 38 - 45 minutes. Once I arrive at kita-senju, I exit the train and go up two levels to board the Hibiya line and ride to Ueno. Ueno is a very famous station as it was the center of traditional Edo in the Edo era( for those who don't know what the Edo era is, think Samurais). At Ueno station I switch onto the Ginza lane, which is a subway, and ride through and around tokyo.

On the ginza line above the doors, there is a map depicting the current location of the train on the line. The red line next to the station name to the left is where I do another train change. Above the ginza line map, there is an overview map of the Tokyo metro train lines. The long red line shows where the ginza line cuts through Tokyo.

This is what it looks like on an average Tokyo subway train. Ginza line, for some unknown reason, is particularly hotter in temperature than the others. I ride this train line for probably 20 - 25 minutes.

Here is the closeup as we pull into Tameike-sanno, where I change train lines for the last time.

This is what the average subway underground train platform looks like. In this picture, I am 3 or more floors below ground.

Above is an over-simplified map showing where I go to get to the next platform. Yes, as you noticed, they have many things in English in Tokyo to help foreigners from getting lost. This, though, is not an excuse to be lazy and not learn Japanese if you live here as a foreigner (no specific people in mind with that statement...).

Here is the last platform I change on. This is the Namboku line which in this area travels through Roppongi and to Azabu.

I think this picture is pretty self-explanatory.

Heh, yea. A thing to know about Roppongi: it's most famous for it's concentration of foreigners and expatriates. You know you're in Roppongi cause you see alot more American, Australians, English, Indian, etc. Roppongi also is probably the most dangerous area to be at at night in Tokyo. Whether it's due to the foreigner concentration, Yakuza concentration, or the sleazier Japanese businesses trying to take advantage of the foreigners, it's a place to be on your guard. Personally, I never go to the Roppongi night scene.

Here I am walking out of the Azabu-juban station into daylight. The Azabu-juban train platform is about 4 floors underground.

After exiting the subway, it's a straight walk for about a mile or more to school. This road is a main fairway in the area. I believe it's actually highway 1, which you can guess from the number, was one of the original main roads in Tokyo.

And here we are finally at the front of Azabu hall (the name of one of Temple's buildings).

When I was researching Temple, I tried to find it on google earth with no sucess. Since Tokyo, especially Azabu, is so dense and expensive, the Japanese build up to supply more room. Due to this, Temple Japan Campus is made up of two large buildings that go by the name of Azabu Hall and Mita Hall. It so happens all of my classes are in Azabu hall, so I won't be showing you Mita. This is what the entrance to Azabu hall looks like.

The whole process including walking times starting from my front door to Azabu Hall is roughly 2 hours. That means a total of 4 hours commute time by train. By no means is that normal. It is because I live in a Homestay that I'm so damn far from everything. Even normal homestays aren't that far away... I guess I'm just lucky. The majority of the international students live in the Dorms which are a little under an hour away.

yup, that's my daily grind to and from. Thanks for reading!

Replies: 4 Comments

Tuesday, February 6th
u call it a racing bicycle just to make it sound cooler.
did u lose any weight from the shitload amount of pt and walking?

Monday, February 5th
Isnt Roppongi where we kicked it with the oceans 12 crew? like brad, george, matt, and umm i forgot her name. but yeah isnt it?

Monday, February 5th
Isnt Roppongi where we kicked it with the oceans 12 crew? like brad, george, matt, and umm i forgot her name. but yeah isnt it?

Devon DeLapp [homepage]
Monday, February 5th
crazyFOUR TRAINS! crazy crazy crazy crazy crazy That's nuts. Let's find you a place a little closer after your homestay.