Well folks, I’m here.
I’m sitting in a hotel in Shinjuku right across from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building (like staying across from the capitol building) with luxury on scale with the Amway Grand. It is so crazy to be back here in Japan again. As I was landing, I was seeing things that were familiar and just like “WOAH”. Though, it wasn’t until I was in the airport seeing the Japanese signage that I realized where I really was.
I took a bus ride to the city, on the way passing by the campus for where I studied abroad before, which was a major nostalgia attack. Eventually I made it to the hotel, and then I got ready to go for a stroll. I found another group that wanted to get some food so we went to a Yoshinoya which is like Japanese fast food. Basically beef and rice or other toppings, but it is really good for the price. Most of the rest of the crew was really bad at Japanese, and I was loving how it was coming back to me. But, at the same time I knew that I’m going to be working hard to get back to where I was when I left my study abroad. On the way back from dinner, we stopped at a 7-11 and got some Chu-His and drank that as we walked back, now it was really coming back to me.
Back at the hotel, I had to wait around in my room with the stupidest bros in the world. One is this massive guy who makes a ton of noise, is borderline goth and just bearish. My other roommate is this mega prep, mega dousher, has to say everything he is thinking. He was always trying really hard to be cool and perverse. When he talked with his girlfriend on Skype, he was doing the whole “I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU….BABY, BABE, I MISS YOU SOOOOOO MUCH BABY, AWWWW.” Basically I wanted to die the whole time. In every sense, he is ‘that guy’ who requires an icing, for those who understand that.
From there, I just fell asleep, obviously tired do to the travelling. I did however wake up to the roomies conversation. Despite coming off as huge fags, they have now become loser fags. They had a battle over what good chess strategy was and then went on to have a match this morning to settle their dispute.
I woke up the next day and was ready to suit up and report for Orientation. There are about 1200 people there for this Orientation session so it was a pretty major ordeal. Everything was what I would expect, basic intro to why were there, meet the big wigs of Japan’s educational board, and also get talked at forever about the likes of culture shock. I have heard that more than enough times in my life. Other features involved some sessions where we met the people living near to us and also some sessions catered to specific groups of people. I skipped them since they weren’t mandatory, I wans’t interested, and sleep was way better. There were also really nice catered meals.
At night, I went out and met a number of people that I had met when I was there before. It was a fantastic time and so great to see these long lost faces again. We went to a nomihodai Izakaya which, basically means all you can drink for a few hours while ordering snack foods. Everyone splits the tab at the end which is nice as well. There were two other fraternity members present, Kanako and her sister, and some other people I knew. Pics. We all hung out for a while, which led to a few of them missing their last train. So, we jammed 3 more people into my hotel room, bring the total up to 6. I slept on the floor with Kei, my fraternity friend, and then the girls took the bed. Girls included my friend Kanako who had stayed at my house previously and her sister (for those of you at home scoffing).
We woke up and it was back to Orientation. This was all more of the same, overall uninteresting, not overly relevant and a significant loss of sleep time. I did however learn that I would be living in a town of about 3,500 people. Awesome, I was excited at the learning and grassroots potential of this placement. I knew it was going to be great for me.
The highlight of orientation was certainly the end of it, there was a really nice feast prepared for all of us, buffet style and it also had an open bar which is just a testament to the style of Japanese culture. I’ll have to thank the Japanese tax payers for that one… Following the dinner, I had plans to meet with my Host Mother from the semester I studied abroad, as well as a number of her friends. It had was hard for me to find them, especially with no phone or way of contacting. but it all worked out and it turned into another of those nomihodai Izakayas, which they insisted on paying for. It was great to talk with them, and see them all again. They commented on how I wasn’t as good at Japanese anymore, they were totally right… Next time I see them it will be totally different though!
Eventually we parted ways and then it was back to the hotel. I had to leave early for my placement. In the morning, I met with the others going to my Prefecture, and then we got on a bus, a plane, and then made it to Kagawa prefecture. It was great to be in what would be my home. I met the Principal of my school and then went off to to see my apartment and get settled.
Like I said, it is such an amazing thing to be back in this place again. It is so familiar and I think it is crazy that I am actually here again, and for long enough to call it my home. I’m certainly in a honeymoon period, but I’ll ride it as long as possible!