Friday, August 21, 2009

Japanese internet, please

We finally have internet!!! Here’s a too long summary of events you probably shouldn’t bother reading to get you up to speed.

August 2: We land in Tokyo and have to split up at the airport. I take a bus with the other JETs to Keio Plaza Hotel, a pretty fancy place in Shinjuku. I immediately pass out because I’ve been awake for 22 hours.

August 3: I sit in a giant room with 600 people listening to long speeches. I finally meet half of the new JETs in my prefecture and we all go out for karaoke that night.

August 4: After another day of meetings and workshops Greg and I escape to have dinner at The Loving Hut, a vegan restaurant run by the all knowing Supreme Master, who apparently has restaurants scattered across half the planet. She is a creepy cult figurehead, but how I love her food. We then hit up Odaiba, a man made island that has a lot of arcade and amusement attractions. We see thousands of people looking at a giant robot as “Auld Lang Syne” plays over loud speakers.

August 5: We wake up super early and take a bus to Haneda airport where we catch a plane to Komatsu in Ishikawa. They had stressed how important it was to look our best so everyone is in suits. My supervisor shows up to pick me up in jeans and a t-shirt. In the car we listen to The Eagles and Christopher Cross as he seems to take the most ridiculous route to Kanazawa. I’m glad I don’t have to drive here, as we seemed to be spiraling our way up the coast by making a long series of right turns through residential neighborhoods. We grab coffee, go to my main school for all of three minutes, and spend an hour signing papers for the apartment. Eventually we make it to the apartment, and find that all of the furniture has been taken apart and stored in the bedroom. We have a long night putting it all together.

August 6: My supervisor picks us up and we have a hectic day getting our personal seals, gaijin cards, bank accounts, and cell phones. Paper work is extensive and everything seems to take an hour longer than you’d expect it to in America.

August 7: My first day at school. It’s summer vacation so I basically sit at my desk all day. I have to introduce myself to the principal in Japanese in a very formal manner which is a little scary and it’s very hard to get any questions answered but other than that it goes ok.

August 8-10: I still haven’t had a day off and I would kill for one but instead I have to head up the coast to Hakui to help run a summer seminar for English students. It’s a pretty relaxed atmosphere and we mostly just play games with the kids. I meet all the other Ishikawa high school JETs and immediately have to get naked with them because the facility’s baths are Japanese style. On an unrelated note, the Japanese sure do love their Michael Jackson.

August 11-12: I finally get two days off and Greg and I spend them exploring Kanazawa. More on this later.

August 13-17: Ishikawa JET prefectural orientation happens. There’s a bar crawl Friday night that Greg and I go to just to meet people, but being the nondrinkers at a bar crawl isn’t much fun so we head back to our place at midnight. Kris from Alabama and Dean from North Carolina both live in the Noto Peninsula which is hard to get to from Kanazawa, so they crash at our place for the weekend. We go on a walking tour and a special diets tour.

August 17-18: On Monday I go to a team teaching workshop. Tuesday I finally go back to school. I work on my self introduction lesson.

August 19: Ishikawa ALTs (assistant language teachers) have this wonderful thing known as cultural furlough that lets us have five days off work to travel within Japan whenever the students are on vacation. If I had more time to plan I probably would have taken a trip to Hokkaido to take a break from the humidity, but instead Greg and I take a slightly less epic trip to the Uniqlo near Kanazawa University. I buy a thin cotton skirt because it’s bloody hot.

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