Originally published on 2019/08/27

My apartment is in a mostly residential neighborhood. It’s a far cry from the bustle of Nishi-shinjuku and its nightly sirens.

I really don’t know how to feel about this drastic change in residence.

On the one hand, it’s a bit like my place back home. On the other, the quiet can sometimes be deafening. And boring.

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Hamza ERBAY@hamzaerbay via Unsplash

My apartment is right across a junior high school, but since it’s still technically summer, it’s mostly silent. There are very few people passing by, and most of them are on bicycles.

I’m a few minutes away from a local train station that’s not so busy during non-rush hour. It’s a far cry from Shinjuku station, and that’s what I love about it. Unfortunately, this also means that getting to happening places like Shibuya isn’t so convenient.

Back at my hotel in Nishi-shinjuku, I heard sirens almost every night, but I was on the sixth floor, and I loved the light pooling into my room, on my bed every morning.

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Markus Spiske@markusspiske via Unsplash

Now, in my current apartment, that doesn’t really happen because I have absolutely no windows.

Also, back in my hotel, the convenience stores were less than five minutes away. It was terribly convenient, which was good for, well, convenience, but not good for my wallet.

How could I not be tempted to dash to Family Mart for a midnight snack or a cup of ice cream while watching Mindhunter or The Boys?

But now, the konbini are quite a few minutes away, and my neighbors turn in early so the silence can be unsettling. It makes me stay put and not walk around late at night — which is good for my purse.

Back in Nishi-shinjuku, there were many signs and shops with English notices and warnings. Here, in my new area, it’s mostly Japanese, so I bust out Google Translate and my handy dandy notebook to write down my new Japanese discoveries of the day.

I miss the busy alleys of the city center. I miss the colorful lights, people on the streets handing out fliers and telling people about discounts, the people lugging large suitcases across pedestrian lanes, and the constant noise that’s not too loud to be annoying but enough to say that something’s happening here.

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Banter Snaps@bantersnaps via Unsplash

At the same time, I love the local charm of my new neighborhood. I love the challenge of reading Japanese signs that I know will add to my culture fatigue later on in the year. I love the local train station with only two platforms, but I know the ten-minute interval between trains will grate on me when I’m late for work.

It’s my new home, and I just know that I will be proud of it, be frustrated by it, be lonely in it, and find adventure in it.

Now isn’t that part of making yourself at home?

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