A day in the life...
You may be wondering, "what is a typical school day like for a CIEE student in Tokyo?" Read this post to find out!
My day starts bright and early at 7:00am when I wake up to start getting ready for class. I have one period of Japanese starting at 9:15am; others have a double block from 9:15-12:30, and a lucky few have only second period Japanese starting at 11:00am. Most of those with a first period leave the dorm by about 8:00am in groups of one or two or three, and the commute to school is about an hour door-to-door. Once leaving the dorm, we have about a 10 minute walk to Nishikawaguchi Station. There are several combinations of trains that can get you from Nishikawaguchi to Yotsuya, but most of us do the same thing. From the station, we smush into the train and take the Keihin-Tohoku Line to Akabane (7 minutes), and then transfer to the Saikyo or Shonan-Shinjuku and take that train to Shinjuku (~20 minutes). The Saikyo and Shonan-Shinjuku trains are supposedly the most crowded trains for the morning commute, and we've each had enough rides squished into a mass of Japanese bodies to believe that it's true.
Once reaching Shinjuku, we transfer to the Chuo Rapid Line train and take that one stop to Yotsuya (5 minutes), where our campus is located. Once reaching Yotsuya, we exit the station and join the mass of people crossing the street. All of our Japanese classes are in building 11, which is at the far end of campus from where we enter. My Japanese class is in the basement by the cafeteria, so I usually walk through and get a drink or a snack before class.
Once my first period Japanese class is over, I don't have another class until third period (starting at 1:30pm). So, I usually read or study in the library or in the cafeteria. I get my lunch around 12 or 12:15 every day, and stake out a place to sit with friends. Others, however, are not so lucky - those who get out of class at 12:30pm are caught in the rush of students coming in to get food and seats. It gets unbelievably crowded in the cafeteria during lunch and it's really hard to get food, much less get seats together. I'm a big fan of not having a second period :).
After lunch, we split off to go to class, the library, or to run errands before class. Once done with class, people either go home, meet for group projects, or explore nearby areas like Shinjuku, Harajuku, or Shibuya. Our campus is in a really great location - we can be in all of those areas within about 10 minutes.
Wednesdays are a nice exception because, due to the Mon/Thurs or Tues/Fri scheduling of classes, almost no one has afternoon classes (I acually do, but there are only four of us with a seminar in the afternoon). So, on Wednesday afternoons the city is ours to explore. Yesterday, I went to Ginza to "shop"/mostly sightsee in the famous Mitsukoshi department store that has really high-end goods. Other options include will go to Asakusa, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ueno, or pretty much any combination of consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel you can think of.
Whenever we decide to head home, the night commute is usually better than the morning commute. Night rush hour can be anywhere from 6-10pm, but it's usually not as bad as in the morning. At any rate, the trains aren't as muggy and hot. At the end of a long day, however, the walk home seems to take forever, but getting home to bed is great motivation!