This is my blog. I was SUPPOSED to start it a month back, when I had first arrived. But then with all the earthquakes and such, my internet broke. Not really, it was all my fault. Tripped on an important internet wire and only just now have I rejoined the modern world.
In any case, a lot has been going on! I hope I can convey my many new and varied experiences well on dis here blog. I have grand schemes of including PICTURES and LINKS to pages that better illustrate what I'm blogging about. Revolutionary, I know.
Seeing as so much has happened, (and since I am a very busy and important person here), a re-cap of the last four weeks seems best. Here we go:
Week 1 (August 1-8): Arrival and Orientation in Tokyo, followed by arrival in my new home, Kagoshima City
- Tokyo Orientation was a whirlwind. The 13 hour time difference contributed to general tiredness/massive jetlag situation. It was aight, though. Woke up hella early those days, but it was good for exploring Tokyo and getting some nice pictures. JET participants were put up at the Keio Plaza Hotel- really swanky digs. We only got to explore the city at night, though. During the days we had workshops and lectures of varying degrees of usefulness and fun.
-On Wednesday, Aug 5, the Kagoshima Prefecture (it's the equivalent of a state) folks flew down from Tokyo and got picked up by their new supervisors. My group is particularly large, with a total of 12 new JETs in the Kagoshima City Board of Education. A surprisingly small number of us were American. Iz cool, we reppin.
-My supervisor is very nice and jokes around a lot. His name is Taniguchi-sensei. Some people call him Tany. I don't. I shall try to get a picture of him for all ya'll.
-I really like my group of JETs, new and old. (There are about 21 JETs in my office- 12 newbs, 9 returners).
-My apartment is new, which means it's nice and clean. It also means that there is no furniture in the place from a previous tenant. My first few days here I had only a futon. Literally. I didn't even have ceiling lights or curtains. 'Twas a dark time for me.... (get it??)
- On Sunday I found a church to go to, not far at all from my apartment. Whew, sigh of relief. I was also promptly adopted by two sweet old ladies after my first Mass. They took me to tea after church, and lunch, and to pick up some clothes they had had made, and then they wanted to go grocery shopping but at that point I felt dey was pushing it so I said I had to be somewhere. ;S le sigh. But dey really nice ol ladies. We still tight.
Week 2 (Aug 9-16)
-I forgot to mention that within the first few days in Kagoshima, I had been taken to open a bank account, apply for foreigner registration card, and to various other offices ad infinitum. Week 2, on the other hand, was very slow. This is because we were supposed to be at our desks at the office despite the fact that we had no work to do. Many people studied Japanese. I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. HOLY CRAP. It was good. Real good.
-Made various trips to the Hyaku Yen store (DOLLA STORE, SUCKASSS) and Daiei (department store), and Best Denki (electronics store) for crap I needed in order to live.
- Also, got internet set up. But I don't want to talk about this because I'm still bitter about my two weeks in internet exile.
Week 3 (Aug 17-24)
- I think during work hours we were at workshops with Japanese elementary and middle school teachers. It was aight. My teachers are all really nice, but the elementary school ones, dey don't speak much English. At all. Luckily I'm good at charades and pictionary, so communication is possible amongst us.
- On Saturday, August 22, Kagoshima held their annual Hanabi (fireworks) Festival. It was very beautiful, but crowded. The best part is that everyone dresses in yukata (light cotton kimono, specifically used during the warm summers). Most of the girls from the office bought yukata for this event. I did not, so don't ask. Le sigh.
-Also, on Sunday I went to a place called Higashi-Ichiki for a sohmen (type of light noodle, also typical of summer season) party/bar-b-que. Was invited by a nice lady I met at church. The house is the summer villa of a very well-to-do family. YOUGETWHATIMSAYIN? Dey place was niiiice. The guest were cool too. ;) In all honesty, really kind and gracious people.
Week 4 (Aug 25-31)
-And here we are. Last Tues-Fri I was in a Japanese Culture and Language course at a place called KAPIC. It stands for something crazy like "Kagoshima Awesome Pacific Island Culture." Not really. I'm just too lazy to look it up. The course was in a very rural and beautiful part of Japan. Hard to get to. I had to take a tram, a ferry, and a bus to get to this place. It was very worth it, though, just for the views! It's a sort of mountain retreat type place, with beautiful hills and bridges and rivers and a lake!
-On Saturday the other JETs and I drove down to Makurazaki, a really beautiful beach surrounded by green hills and volcanic rock. We snorkeled and of course did some chicken fighting and I ran away from soccer balls and volleyballs that were being tossed around.
-Sunday was mellow, but long. Shopping for more stuff for the ol' apartie, played on a japanese variation of rock band. It's very very fun: you bang on a japanese style drum, with one hand or two, or on the rim. Sounds simple, but it can get pretty dicey. Then my apartment-mates and I went on the big ferris wheel in Amu Plaza (the big mall close to where I live). 'Twas fun.
-And let it be recorded that today, the 31st day of August, I once again had access to the world wide web. O Happy Day!
I miss everyone very much and will get started on writing emails and messages to all ya'll! I just wanted to get the ball rolling on the blog, and hopefully I'll feel like I'm sharing bits of my life in a meaningful way. Mad love from Japan!!