Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tenth Anniversary of My Arrival in Japan

Today is a very special day. On the twenty-first of August, nineteen ninety-seven I came to Japan. I arrived at Narita airport and took the Narita Express to Shinjuku. At Shinjuku, I was met by Ogasawara-san. She took me to my new home, the Folute Building in Mizuhodai.

At the Folute Building we met Jim, my first room-mate and my first friend in Japan. Ogasawara-san took us for dinner at Fujiya.

My first meal in Japan was negitorodon (ネギトロ丼). It was delicious.

My room was on the third floor. On a clear day I could see Mount Fuji. I was very happy when I saw Mount Fuji. Mizuhodai is in Fujimi City (富士見市). "Fujimi" means Fuji view. Fujimi City is in Saitama prefecture, just north of Tokyo. 

The first sentence I learned in Japan was "みずほ台駅はどこですか?”, which means "Where is Mizuhodai Station?" Mizuhodai station was the railway station nearest to my apartment. While I lived in Mizuhodai, I used Mizuhodai Station almost every day.

Many of the stores I went to were in the station building, including the Tobu Store. I usually bought my groceries at the Tobu Store.

My favourite place in Mizuhodai was also near the station. My favourite place in Mizuhodai was "Big".

"Big" is a yakitori restaurant (焼き鳥屋). However, "Big" also serves sashimi and other Japanese food as well. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of my arrival in Japan I went to "Big" today and took some pictures.

This is one of Japan's famous red lanterns at the entrance to a Japanese tavern (居酒屋).

Amazing! Yakitori is still only ¥80!!! Many people think that Japan is expensive but this is an example of zero inflation (インフレ) in Japan over the past ten years.

I'll write another post about my first days in Japan tomorrow.


  1. Wow! I had my tenth on JULY 21st^-^ Coincidence???

  2. Anonymous11:55 am

    Hey Mike,

    I remember that day quite well. Seeing all those picture really makes me nostalgic. I haven't been back to Mizuhodai since I move from there ten years ago. I know we were only roommates for a short time but it was a really happy time for me. Hope to see you soon.

  3. Hi Michael,

    Many congrats on surviving a decade here in the land of wa. All the old timers tell me that 7 years is the point of no return, so I guess you no longer entertain fantasies of heading back to the motherland, eh? I just finished my 8th year, but I am still plotting my escape;-) I am sure that Motoko and I will end up back here in the long run, but I'd like to be closer to my parents for at least a few years while they are healthy.
    Talk soon!
    Steve N

  4. Hi, Mr.Stout:)

    wow, since you came to Japan, 10years had past!
    I really enjoy reading your blog!
    If I have chance to go to Mizuhodai, I think I will not going to be lost:p

  5. Hi Michael,

    I really enjoyed your 10th anniversary blog. It brought back a lot of memories from when I first got to Tokyo. The first apartment, the strange yet delicious food, the convenient yet confusing transportation, and the loss of my ability to read AND speak. Exciting stuff!
    Interesting that Steve N mentioned the "7 year point of no return" since I left two months before my 7 year anniversary. Do you figure there are any further points of no return, or are you there for good?
    As for myself, I don't know if I will ever live in Japan again, but I'll certainly be back to visit whenever I can. You'll be seeing me again!
    So, congratulations, and I wish you another 10 wonderful years in Japan!

  6. Hirona6:57 am

    Hi. I enjoy to read your memories of the first day of Japan. I've never been to Mizuhodai, but now I want to go there...because the Yakitori shop which is my hometown sells Yakitori over ¥100!!

  7. Ayana.S2:24 pm

    I really enjoy reading your blog today!!
    Please make more great memories in Japan^^

  8. kenji8:01 pm

    hello Mr.Stout

    I used to live in 柳瀬川, which is very close to みずほ台. (@▽@)/
    May be we have seen each other before.
    I'm looking forward to see you.
    sincerely kenji