Saturday, September 1, 2012
Finally a Post!
Today marks my 5th day in Japan so far and I've finally gotten around to writing my first blog post. For now I'll just recap what has gone on so far since I left home.
My flight went along seamlessly, much love to the Canadian priest I sat next to on the first leg of the trip who calmed me down. It certainly was a long flight. But with no delays, cup of noodles, and plenty of water, I was greeted in Narita by humidity I've never experienced and Japanese students eagerly awaiting our arrival. The whole airport process was a blur of language I barely understand and mild panic due to my debit card malfunctioning (later solved by my wonderful family, thanks a million), but eventually I was on a bus on the way to the hotel we were staying at for orientation.
We stayed at Hotel Springs in Kaihin-Makuhari which is in Chiba, a prefecture of Tokyo. At this point I'm not really sure I even got that right, so just go along with it. My lack of appetite led to an early night, though that seems to be a pattern I have yet to break. Our orientation lasted until Friday afternoon. They gave us presentations on everything from earthquakes to academic advising. The conference center where the seminars were held was the only place we got wifi so my attempt at paying attention while sending mass 'I'M ALIVE' emails was mediocre at best. It is SO good to hear from people at home at this stage. Just to know everyone is alive and no one has forgotten about me way over here on this little island.
After orientation, we were escorted to our separate living accommodations. In total, my program has around 30 students. Most are in the Society and Culture Program, like me, while about 7 are in the intensive language program. Out of those 30 people I'm probably 1 of 10 living in a dorm while the others are in homestays. There is only one other girl from the program in my dorm. We are all dispersed, from walking distance (like me) all the way to 90 minute commutes to school every day. My dorm is an all girls dorm for students of Kanda University of International Studies (where I'll be taking my language classes). I have a single room with a refrigerator and tv, a balcony, and not so much storage space. We have communal kitchens where we cook meals, laundry, and a common room with a tv and computers. Luckily I've gotten my own wifi connection in my room so I don't have to use the communal computers to skype and such. I'm only a few minutes walk from the Makuhari-Hongo train station and about 20 minute walk from campus. So far there are not many girls moved in, and from the little I did understand in our dorm orientation, the Japanese students will be moving in within the next 2 weeks. It's a very nice dorm, I'm just slightly worried about the whole cooking for myself thing. What better way to start cooking for yourself than in a foreign country, right? Somehow I'll get by. Trial and error is certainly going to be a key to living comfortably here in Japan.
So far I've actually made friends despite the doubt my friends and family had in me. One Japanese girl I met even gave me a little birthday present. Her name is Mari and she is definitely one of the major reasons I feel as comfortable as I do here. Though my Japanese isn't very good, we get by communicating with each other. Tomorrow she's going to show me and some of my friends from IES (name of my program) around Minami-Funabashi. All the people here are very nice (American and Japanese), but I'm eager to get into a pattern and start classes so I don't feel so much like a clueless American girl roaming the streets. I plan to upload the pictures I have so far and create a post with just them, then one about my classes once they start. Hope all my 6 readers like that plan! Wow, this feels just like my radio station at Villanova. Hi, Mom!