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Kiley Hodgson

December 6, 2006

Kiley Hodgson
Kiley Hodgson

Elmer Olsen's Kiley Hodgson recently returned from Tokyo.

These were her insights as she neared the end of her trip.

EEEYAY I'm in Tokyo! And I think I'm loving it!?! At first I had no idea WHAT to think... but I decided very soon after I got here that "I totally like the way it is here..." is the best way I can put it. It's like all the Japanese people are working together as a team to make Tokyo function as "The Most Populated City in the World" (not really... but definitely in Japan) and yet be more efficient then any city I've ever seen in my... 19 years of living. I'll walk down the street and see Japanese road workers sweeping up LEAVES off the street, and scraping even the worst, darkest and most worn down used gum off the sidewalk. Some nights I will walk home from the clubs and once I get past the intersection nearest to my apartment I just take my heels off and walk barefoot... That would be unheard of and completely disgusting in Toronto or NY... but that night I got home, didn't shower... pretty much just passed out... in the morning I looked at my feet and there was not one trace of dirt! By far the cleanest city I've ever been in... VERY impressed.

The metro here is quite interesting... but from what I've noticed, very quick and easy. Most stations have large colourful metro maps. Only at SOME main or touristy stations will there be an actual separate English map. Most of the time they just have the English words aside the Japanese in small letters. Even if there IS English, the words look so random and similar to the next that there is definitely room for mistakes. (I live in an area called, "Azabujaban"... took me a while to memorize that one.) However, I didn't have a problem figuring out where I was going, probably because everything there was colour coordinated and/or numbered. I definitely have never gotten seriously lost or anything, just a couple wrong turns...

Even going to the simplest places, like a convenience store is an experience in itself. There is very little English on the label of the products, unless it is a brand name, like what you see everywhere. When you go to the cashier with your stuff, you only have a general idea of what you're getting, there is no way of reading it's ingredients (if you don't know Japanese of course) or even knowing it's price. I never know what I am getting or how much it is until I am at the cash register. The cashier will say, what I guess is a welcome and the amount I owe... but I just smile and look at the register which will show me the price I owe in Yen. My trick to convert Yen to Canadian dollar is to put the point 2 digits from the right. So, 600yen is $6.00 or 1150yen is $11.50 or 200000yen is $2000.00 (approx.)

I AM loving it here, but for the first month I was getting more and more worried as each day went by because I wasn't getting ANY work. I think I was here for over 30 days without a single job! But all of a sudden, coming into December, I got my first 3 jobs, all in one week! Thank god for Japanese clients and their ways, because once they work with you and like you, they will just continue to re-book you. Even if it's for the same magazine! It's weird, I'll be flipping through some Japanese fashion magazines, and feels like it's the same 2 models throughout the whole thing! I knew once I worked with them, then I'm in... and that's exactly what happened... I've been re-hired by the same clients already, and it's only my second week of actually working! So really happy that things are finally starting to happen. To bad, now I'm only here for another 2 weeks. Guess I'm just gonna have to come back!

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