Friday, August 15, 2008

I MADE IT! やった!

I just wanted to let everyone know I made it safely and now I'm in a hotel in Utsunomiya Japan. I move into my apartment on Sunday and training begins Monday.

Here's how it all went down: Read if you're curious (It's kinda long)

Monday: PACKED! Went to the bank, and eye doctors.

Tuesday Night: I went to my Aunt's house because Joytalk was mailing my COE (Certificate of Eligibility to my Aunt's work in NYC because they could guarantee an earlier delivery. After not sleeping all night from stress I "woke up" at 7am to start the day. (THANKS TARA YOU ARE MY SAVIOR) (and you rock!!!!!!!)

Wednesday: Went with my Aunt to her work so I could go to the Japanese Consulate in the city. We took a ferry there and it was pretty nice. I got to see the Statue of Liberty for the first time with my own eyes. I also saw ground zero (World Trade Center) and it was interesting. I haven't been there since Sept. 11 happened and it was good to see that they've started work on the freedom tower.

After getting to her work she gave me a tour and her office is really nice. The people working there seem nice too. I could see myself working at a place like that, but I don't know if I could handle living in the city for a long time.

My package (COE) arrived at about 10:00am. This was what I was praying/hoping for all last night. As soon as I got the COE I made photo copies and started to make my way to the Consulate. It took me 30 mins on the subway but I finally made it. Once there I talked to the woman at the window and she said "You know its supposed to take 4 to 7 business days." I was like I know and I'm really sorry, but I need it done today! She said she'll see what they can do, and then gave me a reciept to pick it up at 3:30 that day. (The consulate closed at 4:00pm)

After I got the reciept I went back outside around 49th St. and Park and just started exploring. I wanted to get used to being alone in a city and exploring it hahah. Found some OK stuff. Ended up going to a book store and getting a drink and relaxing. I got some food at Cosi's (pretty good food stuffs haha) I bought a Japanese English dictionary there. I also wanted to get some more Omiyage but only ended up getting one more thing. After hours of waiting and exploring I went back to the Consulate. While there I talked to a few people and thankfully picked up my Visa! After getting this in my hand I was so relieved.

Next I went to the Port Authority and took the bus back to Newburgh (about an hour and half) where my Grandmother picked me up. (THANK YOU!) From there we went to my brother Luke's tee ball game. It was good to see him play one last time before I left. After the game we went to a playground and played around for a bit.

Then we went back home and put the boys to sleep. I did some last minute checking and just made sure everything was set. I printed out my boarding pass and emailed Joytalk a scanned copy of my initial visa entry paper. Went to sleep with excitement (JAPAN) and sadness (I will miss my family).

Thursday: Woke up nice and early, 6:00am and got in the shower to get ready for the airport. After getting everything in the car my step dad and I headed out. We talked a bit in the car on the way. After getting there I checked in my luggage and went through security ect. to get to my gate. I got there around 8/9ish, and had plenty of time to browse the stores around for whatever I might need before I go (magazine or last minute omiyage wise) I was going to buy a book about Japan, but I figured that if I just made Japanese friends I wouldn't really need a book hahaha. Before boarding the plane I made last minute goodbye phone calls to a couple friends I hadn't seen. I just went through my contacts and called people.

Next I got on the plane. I was in the back in a window seat. I was hoping I'd sit next to Japanese people and luckily I did. I watched as they looked at this "Attractions" booklet about what movies were going to be playing for the flight. After watching them try to figure it out I asked if they spoke English in Japanese hahah. The woman next to me gave me a double take and was saying えええええええ?!Basically she was really surprised and told her friend next to her I spoke Japanese. After explaining to them what movies were coming on we talked alot more. I introduced myself in Japanese and they we're both still surprised. Both of the women were really nice and very curious about me. I never asked their names, but I know they both live in Chiba and were coming back from vacation, they went to Cancun for 2 days and NYC for 2 days. I showed the woman next to me all my pictures of Japan so we had something else to talk about. Also I showed her my online flash cards and she helped me learn some more Japanese and fixed any mistakes my flash cards had. I showed them my Genki books and it amazed them ahah. They we're looking at the workbook and textbook for over an hour. After talking to them for a while and learning about them and telling them about myself we finally arrived. (13 Hour flight)

Friday:(Kind of the same day, but I flew over the international date line) After getting to Narita I had to go through customs and immigration and get my luggage. I did all of this with relatively ease and then had to buy a bus ticket to go to Utsunomiya. I bought a phone card and called my Contact here from Joytak and then bought my bus ticket. The bus didn't leave for about 45 mins. From there I bought a Pocari Sweat (YES!) and waited. Got on the bus and found out you could only check 1 bag under the bus. So I had to carry one of my huge bags onto the bus and sit it on my lap for 3 hours on the way there (SUCKED). I felt like a stupid foreigner for about 3 hours on the bus. For some reason the bus felt like a time machine. I kept sleeping but time wasn't moving. The 3 hours felt so long.

After finally getting to Utsunomiya I met with my Contact and walked 5 minutes (which took forever because I had to carry all my stuff) to my hotel. I got to meet another ALT, who has been staying here since last monday due to confusion. Then I went to my room, which I was told women we're not allowed on because there we're naked men there hahaha. (My contact and the other ALT were both women) Anyways I went up to my room which I'll post pictures of later. It's a capsule hotel as well as a normal one. Next I took my shower lol, in a public bath area. A little weird but its ok, once I got back I went to sleep.

Saturday: Now I'm awake and its like 4:00am, and I'm not tired, but I should really try to go back to sleep. I sent out emails and stuff telling everyone I made it safely. Now I'm just talking to friends back in the States because its only like 3:00pm.

Ok so after I woke up around 4:00 I talked to people online until about 5/6 then started to explore Utsunomiya. I posted pictures of my exploration on facebook, of if you don't have it you can see them here:

After that I came back to the hotel and actually slept because I felt a little sick and was bored. I woke up a little while ago and saw Becky arrived and met the other ALTs. Now its about 8:42pm and I guess I'll go back to sleep since I move into my new house in Sano tomorrow at 8:30 am. (I'm not a morning person!)


Christopher said...

Damn you! I want some Pocari Sweat. I guess I have to wait for mine. I can't wait to get back there now that I hear about your landing. Def keep me posted and hopefully we'll hook up soon. Let me know if you run in to James anytime soon too.

Daphne Duke said...

wooo you made it!!

Mandy said...

Yay Nick made it! (ok, so I knew that, but now i've officially read your blog about it!)