Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Year in the Life...Day 1:


Hey. I guess this makes it official. I can't even read the instructions for making this post. We're definitely in Japan. The trip was a little rough, I'm not going to lie. We left Kalamazoo at 8:00 a.m. Everything went smoothly until we got onto our plane (Big shout out to Andy for the excellent driving to Chicago). The plane was warm. Very warm. The A/C didn't work on it, so we actually had to get off and wait for a different plane because they couldn't fix the electrical problems. Our original departure time was 12:50 p.m. We actually took off at 5:00 p.m. Little bit of a late start. The flight was pretty good, except I can't get comfortable on a plane to save my life, and therefore didn't sleep a wink. We had a pretty awesome view as we passed over the Alaskan peninsula. I've got one of the pictures as my wallpaper for my desktop. Here's a look:

So even though we left at 5:00, it was only 7:00 p.m. when we got to Tokyo. Somehow, 2 hours and a day went by over the course of 13 hours. We actually skipped 9/11, It happened somewhere over the Pacific.

Narita airport is very big, and very very Japanese. It was tough trying to get through customs, exchange our money, and mail our bags, but Kendra did great, and we somehow made it. Then we had to get a bus ticket. Somehow it took 3 hours to get from one side of Tokyo to the other by bus. We were nodding off like mad, but still, I couldn't fall asleep. By the way, Tokyo is gigantic! Huge buildings as far as the eye could see in every direction. This entire part of the country is populated, so it was quite intimidating. It makes the Chicago sky-line look weak. Oh, also, Japan has this weather thing called, oh yeah, monsoon season. It never stops raining. Luckily, we could buy umbrellas at the hotel desk. It also gets dark here at like 6:30 p.m.

The Hotel is quite nice. The room is smaller than American rooms, but the bathroom is of far superior technology. The toilet looks like a robot. There is actually a button with a picture of a water spout spraying a butt. I'm a little scared to push that one. Also, none of the electricity in the room works unless the keychain to the room is resting nicely in a slot on the wall by the door. I guess the idea is you can't leave without your keys, so you can't leave the lights on. Plus, when you come in the room, you put the keychain in the slot, and everything you had turned on before automatically turns on. It took us about 5 minutes to figure out how to turn on the lights.

That seems to be the way of things. This place makes me feel really stupid. It takes me forever to figure simple things out. In the bathroom at the meeting building, I had trouble flushing the toilet, turning on the faucet, getting soap out of the dispensor and even opening the door. I still haven't figured out how to fasten a safety belt here either. I've seen 2 different kinds, both are beyond me. The first one looked exactly like our seatbelts, except there was a little piece of metal jutting out from the clip, blocking me from pushing it into the slot. I don't get it. I should probably figure that one out soon, because the drivers scare me here. They whip around curves on the highways, and the lanes are so thin. Plus, they drive in the left lane, so everytime we make a left turn, I feel like we're going to get sideswiped. This is a true learning experience.

Kendra's first meeting went well. It was a lot of introductions, but I think we made good impressions. I've dubbed myself the cheerleader for the fulbrights. They even insisted on putting me in the group picture.

The food has been awesome. Fish everywhere. I've tried some new things, and have been pleasantly surprised for the most part. Anyway, Have to go. More to come soon.


Matt said...

I love how you have no idea how to function! Good luck figuring out how to pay your rent...

De Witt said...

Dude, Im so happy you guys made it ok. It's awesome you get to post about everything here. By the way, I happen to know what the button showing a water spout spraying a butt means. It's drinking fountain. Japanese water tastes funny though...