Have I mentioned that I have the best parents ever? 

I now I’m biased but that’s how I’ve felt since yesterday evening, when I got the most perfect Christmas gift (in my family we give each other presents on the Christmas Eve).

(I’m in the middle of preparing Christmas dinner, so I’m gonna skip details and go to the most important part of my story.)

Anyway, I was opening my presents and found some rather useful ones, some funny ones, a book by Tolkien (obviously), and one volume of manga.

Shingeki no Kyojin, Volume 12 by Hajime Isayama

One volume of manga which made me really happy because seriously, parents seldom buy things like that. I thanked everyone, saw what others got and this was supposed to be the end of that evening. And then my mom gave me a box and said, “I forgot to put it under a tree.”
I found these inside:

All volumes of this particular manga that are available in Poland! I felt like crying and got a little bit too emotional. My hands were shaking, I couldn’t speak, started counting them and putting them in order… I probably looked like that:

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(Yuri on Ice)

I don’t remember the last time I was that emotional. And it wasn’t just about the fact that I got all of them, it was also about this element of surprise (I found out later that it was planned) and the fact that I got them from my parents. I still can’t believe it!

I have to go. But I want to wish you all the best Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/end of this year ever! Be merry!

Strange things did happen here…

Hello, World! The way you’ve been shaking lately, you should probably try and relax a bit.

capaldi_relax

But seriously, the ground’s been shaking since an early morning today, with two magnitude 3 and 4 quakes at 05:24 am and 08:35 am and lots of aftershocks. Strong enough to keep me awake from 5 to 10 (not because I was afraid but because every tremor would wake me up – it was like sleeping on a waterbed), so now I’m so sleepy! I wonder if September’s always like that here (and by like that I mean with daily quakes).

Anyway, yesterday was interesting! Ever heard about the Japan Rail Pass? It is this awesome ticket-thingy that you can order only if you are not Japanese and when you are still abroad. I usually use this website because it’s cheaper than buying it in Poland. I have no idea why. So I got mine in July:

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… and yesterday I went to one of the main JR Pass exchange offices in Tokyo to, well, exchange the order for my pass. I chose Tokyo Station JR Pass exchange office because it was close to my route to Nakano. Going to Tokyo Station was a piece of cake. Finding the office – not so much. I got lost at least three times, asked some foreigners checking their JR Passes for help (unfortunately, they exchanged theirs at Narita, but good luck we’re sure it’s here somewhere), and finally used my final weapon: finding main entrance. It worked – office is next to the central north gate 🙂

I have to say that JR personnel is not only very nice but also knowledgeable. And they speak English very well! Exchanging my order for the pass took me less than five minutes. I was also given simple and easy-to-follow directions to the nearest currency exchange office with good US dollar exchange rates (they had terrible PLN exchange rates, thank goodness I did not bring any Polish currency!).

One more very important thing about the JR Pass: if you have it, you can use all Shinkansen (fast trains) (except Nozomi and Mizuho lines), local and express JR lines (similar to subway lines), lots of various JR buses, monorail to Haneda Airport, and JR line to Narita Airport – for free. As you can see, I’m a fan 😉

So after I got my JR Pass I went to Nakano Broadway. It’s a shopping mall of sorts, with lots of small shops for different subcultures.

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Follow the road and you’ll find Nakano Broadway 😉

This was my second time here, so I wasn’t that overwhelmed anymore and this time I bought some stuff I’m really happy about 🙂

As I wrote in my previous post, I took the wrong train home and spent lot of time riding the subway. Well, it happens to the best of us 😉 But thanks to that I met a new neighbor (girl from Colorado) who reads Japanese a bit, she helped me find butter at the konbini.

I also got (and ate) delicious soba – used it as an opportunity to practice my chopsticks skills (you know, practice makes perfect…) 🙂

soba
It’s not me shaking, it’s my camera!