Going to our residence

※ This article discusses the 30th of September 2016.

A few days before, we were asked whether we want a tutor to help us finding the residence. Because we started at the Hostel and didn’t know when we will be ready in the morning, we decided to handle it on our own. As it turns out, we were one of the very few people to do so. But with Martina’s experience with reading Kanji, we successfully used public transport for the first time.

Waking up at 9:30 at the hostel, we recognized that we suffered from a jetlag. I was very dry and needed something to drink (and eat for breakfast). Because of our journey in the neighborhood at the previous day, I already knew where to find a convenience store. I grabbed some water (a very expensive one as it turned out) and brought it our hostel. At the hostel, I also found some maps for Kobe for free, which turned out to be helpful. Studying our path to go to our designated Kobe residence for International Students, we recognized that we would take two trains. However, finishing our room and studying the material took some time and we started at 11:00. We expected to start earlier and therefore decided to skip breakfast.

We headed immediately to Shinkaichi station and bought tickets. 260 Yen don’t seem much, but paying each direction individually accumulates to a high price. For now it was fine, but the Student Commuter Pass helps a lot to reduce costs when going to university. Once you had the tickets, we pushed them into the machine and it will register your initial point of travel. It will spit out the ticket again 1 meter in front of you. Don’t dare to loose this ticket, because when leaving the train, you need to push it into the machine again. It will determine whether you paid correctly.

The Hanyku line towards Osaka dropped us at Sannomiya. Sannomiya can be considered as center of Kobe. We left the train, pushed our tickets (yay! we paid correctly!) and tried to find our next train. It is called Portliner and takes passenger either to Kobe Airport (for domestic flights) or general destinations at Minatojima (the Port island). We paid 250 Yen for the Portliner. Because no train was available for the latter, we took one heading towards the Airport and left at Shimin Hiroba station as suggested by the loud speakers. Waiting a few minutes at the station, the next train took us to Kita Futo which is the closest train station to the Kobe University International Students Residence. At the station, Martina went to the toilet and I started a chat with another foreigner. He was from Germany and also just arrived to go to the same Residence. He had a tutor with him and as a team of four, we went to the Residence by foot. It takes roughly 5 minutes to go there.

At the residence 2 officials waited to register arriving students. We got our key, sheets of paper with instructions and an explanation how to go to our room. Martina and I are in different buildings, so we split up and put our luggage into our rooms. As it turned out, Martina’s room wasn’t cleaned. The floor was very dusty, the bathroom had many stains and the freezer was really gross. We decided to report it and the official tolds us the room will be cleaned on Monday again. Later he checked and confirmed that the freezer proves that the room was not cleaned. As it turned out, Martina was not the only one with an uncleaned room though a cleaning fee is paid by every resident, when moving out.

In conclusion, it would have been very difficult to find the right trains without Martina and registering at the Residence was not without troubles, but fine.