Monday, July 30, 2007
Finally in Tokyo
It's day one of Tokyo orientation. Right now I'm chilling in my room waiting for the next event to begin after wandering around Shinjuku. Here's what's happened since my last update.

The Flight Over: Wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be. My first flight there was an empty seat between me and the guy sitting next to the window, so plenty of space. And I ended up sleeping the whole way. The second, and much longer flight, I ended up in this weird row towards the back of the plane that didn't have TVs on the back of the seat in front of me. Instead they were in the arm rest, like in business class. We also only had 4 chairs in our row (in the middle of the plane) rather than 5 chairs like the other rows. This flight was a bit more of a pain, but still not bad at all. Got to sit next to Jun, another JET who is also headed to Yamanashi. We chatted a bit, but spent most of the flight sleeping. I also got about 300 pages into the new Harry Potter book. Food was okay. Got two meals. First was chicken with rice and veggies, a sushi sampler (very cute!), cookie, and salad. Second was a personal pan pizza, fruit, and a brownie.

Arrival: Immigration line was long and equally long was the bus ride to the hotel. Didn't get in until 9pm - ish. Just walked around outside a bit before showering and heading to bed. Nothing too exciting.

Day One of Orientation: Welcome event started late, but gave me plenty of time to chat with other people headed to my prefecture, including one also headed to Yamanashi city. She hadn't heard from her pred either, but apparently had gotten info from the schools she'll teach at. I'm definitely feeling a bit out of the loop. On a positive note I did find out that I will be teaching in an elementary school from the TOA (Tokyo Orientation Assistant) that came from my prefecture (she was taking attendance and had some of our placement info written on her 'list'). I'm hoping that it's true cause it means that I'll have to go to several elementary specific orientation events. Plus little kids are fun!

That's all for now! I'm off to the next event.
posted by am at 1:36 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
Friday, July 27, 2007
The final countdown
Today was spent finishing up packing and attending the mandatory JET pre-departure orientation. Got back my passport and visa. Also got my plane ticket and special baggage tags. The orientation was pretty standard and finished about 1 hour early at 4:00. Normally not a problem, but there was supposed to be a reception at 6:00 so I ended up with an extra 2 hours time to kill. Luckily I wasn't alone so I headed out we some fellow JETs to hit up the 16th Street Mall. Stopped by a souvenir place so someone could pick up more omiyage (I ended up getting some small Colorado mint tins and some specialty trail mix from the Mountain Man Fruit and Nut Company). We then decided to grab some Starbucks and ran accross another wandering group of JETs.

This is where it gets fun. While were chatting in Starbucks, it starts to rain. In Colorado, this normally isn't too big a deal, as it normally clears up after a few minutes. However, it kept getting worse and worse. Here we all are in our business suits about to go to a formal reception and it's pouring down cats and dogs. Luckily, someone thought to ask the Starbucks employees for some garbage bags and they gave all of us these massive industrial type ones. Good thing too.....or we all would have been horribly drenched. Even with the 'garbage poncho' on, we still got fairly wet. Felt sorry for all the stores we passed on our way to the reception who were trying to sweep the water out of their stores into drains that were overflowing. One of the drains was even spraying out water like a fountain.

All in all, an exciting day. Now I'm just bumming around, trying to stay up till my flight (stupid time change). Will probably grab 2 hours or so of sleep before heading to the airport, but while it's almost midnight here, it's only like 3 in the afternoon there. Got to stay up now, sleep on the first part of the flight, stay awake on the second part, and hopefully arrive in Tokyo fairly fresh and alert. We'll see what happens.

I can't believe my next post will be from Japan!
posted by am at 10:43 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Three days to go
I'll be leaving soon for Japan and have been quite busy this past month doing a variety of things. Almost all the current JETs suggest trying to have a good time before heading out, and that's exactly what I've done. So here is a list of things I've done and still have left to do before heading out.

Things I've done:
  • When to California on vacation, had a blast
  • Went to Ohio to hang out with the family (cause it's where they ALL are....pity they don't all live somewhere a little more vacation friendly)
  • While in Ohio, had some of the greatest chicken in the world over at Hopkins Gardens, and hit up some of the greatest roller coasters ever at Cedar Point
  • Went to see the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with friends
  • Bought the last Harry Potter book for the flight over to Tokyo
  • Got FBI background check and IRS things sorted
  • Went to JET Q & A session
  • Tried sushi for the first time
  • Have been trying to eat all my favorite food (I bought a bottle of A-1 to bring with me....I like to put it on my rice)
  • Did the first 2 Pimsleur lessons

Things I still need to do (and really should have done sooner, but will do before leaving)

  • Get my IDP at the AAA
  • Exchange $$$ to yen
  • Dry cleaning for my suits
  • Laundry
  • Get parents signed on jointly to my bank account
  • use up various unused gift certificates for a haircut and some clothing
  • FOR THE LOVE OF....why aren't I.....PACKING! (which is harder than I though it would be given I don't know how many schools I'll be teaching at or what, if anything, I might need for my apartment. *pouts*)
  • Get unknown amount of omiyage

Things I'd like to do, but probably won't

  • More Pimsleur lessons
  • Learn katakana and hiragana (started to....but got sidetracked....pity)
  • More clothes and shoe shopping, but I probably won't have room for much more so it's good I can't do this
  • Stress out less
posted by am at 8:10 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Nothing New
Still don't know who my pred is, and I think at this point I'm resigned to the fact that I'll be heading over to Japan with minimal knowledge. Not too concerned though. It will just be a bit more of an adventure than I was thinking it would be. I did get my contract from the Yamanashi BOE and I know my address, so I guess I'm set.

In a few days, I'll be heading to Ohio for one last visit with the family. I'm definitely starting to feel nervous about leaving, but an excited sort of nervous.
posted by am at 7:10 PM | Permalink | 0 comments