Jet lag propelled us out of bed at the ungodly hour of 6ish, and by 8:30 we decided we needed to leave our new apartment and not come back for the rest of the day, lest we fall prey to the insidious urge to nap that would keep us on an awkward jet-lagged schedule for days to come.
Without internet or TV, we didn’t realize the rain pouring down was the result of a nearby typhoon. When a friend posted an article on Facebook about evacuations due to the typhoon, wondering whether we were near it, Don assured me it was 150 miles away and nothing to worry about. It wasn’t until around 5:00 in the evening that we realized the gale force winds blowing umbrellas, bicycles and people over and the buckets of rain being poured down, the nearly-empty streets and shuttered shops with signs reading “Closed due to bad weather,” were perhaps part of this typhoon. (In, it didn’t really dawn on us until the next day, when we walked through the park and saw the paths strewn with leaves and mud and huge trees ripped up at the roots that we realized that typhoon was much more serious than we’d thought.)
Since we were clueless that first day, however, we pretty much had Kichijoji to ourselves, and we explored the veins of shopping arcades pulsing through our little city – and managed to spend hours in some of the super-department stores, marveling at the multitudes of Japanese electronics and getting creepy songs about Halloween stuck in our head at various stores.
We started the day off by visiting my very first Shinto shrine, a shrine to the Kami of war located a block from our home. (Within 10 minutes walking distance to our home are several Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, and at least two Buddhist grave/memorial sites. This neighborhood is a religious studies scholar’s heaven!)