I cannot begin to sum up the last three days in any kind of coherent style. It's been fantastic, and annoying, and wonderful, and heart wrenching, but now I'm actually here and tomorrow we get on with the business of learning japanese!
The flight over was absolutely fantastic - I went ahead and stayed awake, talked a little bit with the lovely family in the row with me, and grinned often at the dread-locked Japanese guy who was traveling home from South America beside me. I was good and didn't take any of the alcoholic options offered, but I would reccommend Singapore Air's food to anyone, even if they weren't flying with them (and they served wine with both meals, too... free wine!). Instead of wine I blissed myself out on goofy movies. First Music & Lyrics, then Fearless, then Ghost Rider, and finally managed to read my book and do a little studying and find out more about Tokyo from the people beside me.
And then I was there. There. There. In the Narita airport, wandering through customs, grabbing my luggage, using the complicated bathrooms, breezing past security. Even though they'd told me there wouldn't be anyone to pick me up at the airport and that I'd have to find my own way if I came in after six there were three of the program people waiting for me. I've never been so relieved to see three people holding a sign in my life! Our Summer Coordinator (her first name is Mami, so she says if we get homesick we can actually call her Mommie) actually rode back with me on the bus to the OVTA center in Chiba (our 2-day orientation spot).
Being the last to arrive means everybody's either out walking around or tucking themselves in when you get there. Sure I'd only gotten there around six, but jet lag takes a toll. The bedroom was so cute though! A little alarm clock above our heads, an adorable little bathroom to call our own - if only we could've stayed there the entire time! Kidding, mostly, but I'll explain why I'm not in a minute. Anyway, two days of getting to know you stuff happened after that, and nothing really dramatic or lively, except that I bought myself a tiny magnetic travel chess set, made some friends, decided I want to get a tattoo while I'm in Tokyo, and bought myself a lighter. Yep, that's right, my first significant purchase in Japan was a lighter.
Today, however, was the day that we left the orientation center and acutally GOT to our semi-perminent housing. It's FANTASTIC here! Fantastic in the sense that we're living in a park. There is forest all around us. We went to the top of a 45 story building to see a panoramic view of Tokyo today, and when you look at the complex we're housed in it's this blop of green amidst skyscrapers and apartment buildings and CITY. I feel like I'm back in Santa Cruz, that's how beautiful the campus is. And yes, pictures are forthcoming, but they're not available yet.
Why, do you ask? Our internet connection is so patchy I have to refresh yahoo three times to send an email. I'm going to wait until I'm more used to this kind of a shared network (and wait until the glow has worn off the internet thing and we're not all using it at once) to upload my pictures. They'll keep.
However, there are some not fantastic aspects of this whole dorm style living. The room really is the size of a postage stamp (although I'm one of the lucky ones that has a room more square than rectangular, so I actually have a "big" version), we don't have anywhere to unpack and put our clothes, so we will be living out of suitcases for six weeks, and the bathrooms? I kept saying, after my ... bathing...experience tonight, that I don't know if I did it right, but at least I'm pretty sure I'm clean. That's pretty par for the course. It's going to be an interesting six weeks here, really, it is.
So I haven't explored the city that much - been stuck in orientation, and am not one of those hardy souls that likes to blow off orientation, or the promise of a free meal aftewards, to run into the city. We should have a good many hours tomorrow night for play, and that's when I'm looking forward to goofing around and getting into somewhere fun (and dinner). Oh, that was the other downer - at some point they changed our program so that instead of at least 2 meals a day with the program, we are now responsible for paying for all of our meals. I don't know when they changed this policy, but it was NOT widely discussed. And I was surpirsed with that information today. On my third day. In the country.
However, no experience is perfect. And there's still a whole lot more to go, discover, and do.
And hey, I love all you guys, and I miss you terribly, so I hope you're doing fantastic too!