Posted by: pdot78 | July 30, 2008

Week 1: Recap

Hello Everyone,

You might be wondering what has happened to me or why I have not posted anything all week. Don’t worry, everything is awesome, I simply don’t have any access to internet. I already set it up but internet is impossible in Japan and it wont be ready for 2 weeks (as I will explain a little later on in the story). Anyways, here is what has happened to me in my first week in Japan.

The first few days could be described as nothing less then an emotional roller coaster. I was sad, I was happy, I was nervous, I was busy. That was generally the pattern of the first few days of training, which was actually pretty intense. Near the end of the week everyone became comfortable with the workload and we went out for dinner the last night. We did karaoke on the last night and our time ran out the second Mr Roboto came on so that is still on my list of things to do.

The next morning we took the Shinkonsen (Bullet Train) from Okayama to Osaka, then passed through Kyoto and through the southernmost part of Japan before winding up to Tokyo to transfer trains and eventually up near Nagano to Niigata, where I will be teaching. The train ride itself was actually pretty fun because it helped display the diverse country side of Japan, along with quick glimpses of ancient temples  in Kyoto and ridiculous buildings in Tokyo and Osaka. The entire journey took about 6 or 7 hours and took me through almost the entire main island of Japan. I got to see rice fields, mountains, the ocean, rugged countryside, cities, and basically any style of living you can think of.

I arrived in Niigata on Sunday night and my branch manager and two NETs (Native English Teachers) were waiting to help bring me to my apartment, which is awesome. The NET that I am replacing left me a ton of her stuff to help ease my transition into Japan, the most notably being a bed! The tatami mat that I was originally supposed to be sleeping on is not bad, but pales in comparison to the awesome bed I am now sleeping in! My apartment is also not nearly as small as I originally imagined. It is on the 5th floor of a nice building, has a great view, and keeps me far enough away from the noisy bugs that I will sleep well. They are called suketas or something like that and are ridiculously noisy and large. Apparently they stay underground for a year and only come above ground for 7 days before they die, all of which time they spend making a weird humming noise . I will have to take some pictures of it and my town when I am fully settled as I am still not fully unpacked.

My first real day in Japan was spent on the go with Christina and Yoshie. They took me to city hall to set up an alien registration card (which I will need on me at all times), a Hancho, which is essentially a stamp that I use to replace my signature on important documents. I had mine say my family name Skinner, which in Japanese Katakana comes out Ski Na, its pretty neat. I also set up a bank account and ordered internet, which will take at least two weeks and at most two months. The procedure took about an hour and a half to order, which alone is crazy. The guy who worked in the store was actually really cool though and he formerly asked me if i wanted to be his friend and go out for drinks with him so that makes it ok.

The next day I went into my first day at work with the kids. They are all awesome and I think we are going to get along great. My co workers are really awesome too, I am really looking forward to hanging out with them. We already have plans to go to a fireworks festival and Sumo wrestling event in a few weeks. There is also a Canadian bar about 2 minutes from my apartment that apparently all the foreigners in Niigata come too.

Anyways, I don’t have internet but things are going great in Niigata. I will reply as soon as my internet is set up in my apartment.

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Responses

  1. You would think that the internet would be easy to set up in a country that seems so advanced.

  2. I think its nice you have a bed! I don’t think I would have been able to sleep on a mat for a year…

  3. You are missing out on an authentic Japanese experience! The tatami is a part of their heritage. When I was there, I definitely slept on a bed. 😛

    Oh and if you get a change, look up the mountain village of Ohichijuku (Oh-hee-chih-jue-kue). I recommend a night there 🙂


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