Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The forecast calls for sunshine and a mix of tears....

Hello all from Okinawa--

It has been an eventful few days. Ken and I had a long day of traveling on Saturday and even got to experience our very first emergency fuel stop in Sapporo. Apparently we didn't have enough gas to make it the extra hour to Tokyo. Super! We had two days of orientation in Tokyo and stayed at a very posh hotel in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo (they filmed the lounge scenes of "Lost in Translation" in our hotel). It was very much what you imagine Tokyo to be like. Bright lights and loudspeakers everywhere. Tons of cell phone and camera stores, cartoons on everything, crazy TV ads, the works. (The best part? Toilets that make "stream" sounds so that you can use the rest room without embarrassment. Hilarious!) The days were spent waiting in line for elevators and avoiding meetings at all costs. Plus we got to dread our inevitable good-byes. We tried to avoid reality one last time last night and met up with Ken's friend from college, Taichi, who introduced us to some great new cuisine in Japan. Unfortunately, though, today was the day for the watershed of tears. Poor Ken had to deal with a sobbing fool in front of everyone. I had an assitant come up and say, "It's my job. I have to ask if there's anything I can do for you." I said, "Not unless you can move him to Okinawa with me." And then we both took our separate flights to our respective corners of Japan.

Our flight was amazing. I love Japanese technology. We watched our takeoff and about a half hour of our landing through a camera mounted on the outside of the plane. It was surreal to see the crystal blue water and islands and realize that we'd be touching down in my new home for the next year. We got off the plane and after grabbing our luggage, we were greeted by a very enthusiastic group of JETs and I met my predecessor, Theresa, for the first time. She brought along two teachers from my school who gave me a bouquet of candy. And everyone received a can of Orion beer to continue a JET tradition. We were herded once again onto a bus and driven into the capital, Naha. It's a concrete city to protect it from typhoons, but has a beautiful ocean view and some cool streets. This is where a lot of people hang out on the weekends, I guess. We are staying here tonight and then our supervisors are picking us up tomorrow to go to our apartments and schools. Aaaah! I'm nervous about that! I guess I do officially have an apartment and Theresa is loaning me a air mattress until I decide what kind of bed I want. She's also going to show me around and help me out with the particulars of living in a foreign country.

And that's all I know for now. The group of JETs in Okinawa is interesting - quite a mix of personalities and nationalities. We're missing over half -- they'll be here next week. I hope to get a cell phone and the internet at my apartment soon. Right now I'm somehow tapping into wireless from someone near this hostel. Hope it holds out for a bit longer. Keep the emails coming! I'll try to answer them as soon as I get the chance.

1 comment:

lp said...

You made it!!

Do you have an address to send real mail to yet??