Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Yesterday was a long day, but the first day in Japan has finally passed and all have arrived safely here ,after a flight which was actually shorter than expected and included a pleasant surprise as they showed the movie 容疑者Xの献身 (Yougisha X no Kenshin (”The Devotion of Suspect X")), a movie in the Detective Galileo series. Have been wanting to see the it ever since I read the book last year and it turned out to be an excellent movie. To quote Galileo, 実に面白い (jitsu ni omoshiroi, ("truly amusing")).

But anyway, coming back to the topic of Japan, we were kindly picked up by mr. Remmelink of the Japan-Netherlands Institute and brought to Tokyo by the Skyliner train. Which was a fairly normal train, save for the fact while the seats were set to all face the same direction, you could actually turn the seats 360 degrees, resulting in revolving hilarity during the long trip, people passing by who were possibly thinking the worst of those gaijin playing around and further confirming the fact that transforming robots originate from Japan. I was half-expecting combining trains.

The rest of the day consisted of a small introduction at the Japan-Netherlands Institute, getting the procedures started for our gaikokujintourokushou (foreign registration card), which we unfortunately won't be getting until the end of April, installing ourselves in our rooms at the Weekly Mansions in Ekota near Ikebukero, eating curry, going from one place with pretty lights to the other like the moths we were and an epic, everlasting battle against the Greek god Hypnos.

Walking through Ekota, we found a Book-Off around the corner, a superspecialawesome chain of second-hand books. And while we have such chains in the Netherlands too like De Slegte, the prices and selection here just can't be beat. I had to control myself to not immediatly go for a shopping spree on my first day, though seeing a complete 金田一少年の事件簿 (Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo ("The Case Files of Young Kindaichi")) set go for a mere 4000 Yen, or the 封神演義 (Houshin Engi, "Romance of the Sealing of the Gods")) set for 2000 Yen was very, very hard to resist. In the end, I settled for some detective novels by Higashino Keigo (of the above-mentioned Detetive Galileo series) and Norizuki Rintarou (which seem to be homages to the excellent Tragedy of... series by Ellery Queen).

Somehow, I felt both a victor and a loser when leaving the store. More the victor though. Of course, entering pretty much every store will prove to be a challenge as even convenience stores stock the latest detective novels.

Today, we're supposed to gather at 8.30 to leave for the Japan-Netherlands Institute again, getting an introduction of the Institute, with the afternoon to ourselves. Tomorrow though, we'll be doing a placement test to assest our language proficiency and to split us up in two groups.

Crime scene pictures will follow when I err... actually have purchased a camera, but till then, I'll act the gentleman-thief part and steal pictures from my fellow students. Check (leader) Diana's blog for several pictures, including a group picture.


  1. here is a self-reference of this blog thru google translate. I think it does an OK job,at least i can get a sense of what you have written in dutch.



  2. that book-off should be forbidden. Zo awesome als de chain inderdaad is, mijn portomonee gaat hier zo bezwaar tegen maken...

  3. Enjoy your time in Japan. I'm now going to Japan in September instead of going to South Korea in February thanks to some shit going on with some student.

    Nothing special at the home front. I did get all my ebay stuff safely (Except for the crushed Revoltech box, but the figure was mostly intact).

    Please take a children's history book for me when you return. I'm rather curious on how their conceited historians muffled some of their dark history in order to please their own filthy pleasures.