Monday, March 19, 2012

Post Arrival and Daily Activities

My room as viewed from the entrance.
3/13 I was greeted into I-House with a group full of smiling faces. It was actually rather intimidating at first. First person who spoke to me spoke in Japanese, which I did not actually understand. This only made me more nervous. Despite my worries, everyone was super friendly and introduced themselves to me before helping me take my things upstairs to my room. They plugged my fridge in for me, showed me how to use the remote to the AC, and then went back downstairs to leave me alone to unpack. It's difficult for me to admit, but the first thing I did when that door shut was cry. It's hard to think that I'm going to be away from everything I knew and was comfortable with back home for five months. I already miss my family so much that it's eating away at my conscience. It still bothers me a little, but I've accepted it. I will always miss them.

I unpacked half way before I got tired of being in my room all by myself. I desperately needed company to take my mind away from the fact that I felt so alone. Again, I was greeted with happy people. I ended up standing in the Genkan talking to random people by using name-learning as a conversation starter. Not long after I arrived, there were apparently plans to go to a restaurant called Hamazushi which I was not invited to. I was told, “You’re going!” I was starving at the time and did not know what to do about food, so I was more than happy to oblige to this demand. Hamazushi is a sushi restaurant, as you could have guessed, that has decent sushi for roughly 60 cents apiece. It is one of the famous conveyer belt sushi restaurants that I find hard to resist. Since arriving, I have gone every other day. 

Moving on, after Hamazushi some of the older residents (in a matter of speaking) took us newbies to the grocery store to get supplies for our kitchens and to show us how things work. The grocery stores have these adorable basket carts, nothing like the large ones at home, which are super easy to navigate through the narrow aisles. I have only been here a week and I have gone grocery shopping about five times. Every time I go back with friends I end up finding something I want or had previously forgotten. For instance, today the girls wanted to go and I intended not to buy anything. Then, I remembered I wanted to get canola oil... One thing lead me to the next which resulted in $20 of food I wasn't previously aware I 'needed.'

My Stocked Cabinet
3/14 The next day after I arrived, more new students showed up and we all gathered for a trip to the Hyaku En (or, 100 yen store) where we could buy our dishes and what nots that we may need in our dorm rooms. I bought so much my shoulders were sore when I finally got back to my room, and I even had help! Masashi and Shota walked with me and helped me back to I-House before also going to the super market and house center to help me find a few things. I bought a pillow and towels. I had previously not been aware that towels would be one of those things one needs to bring in dorm life. As for the pillow, well the one is provided is so ungodly uncomfortable that my neck was screaming bloody murder after the first night.

Back at the dorm, I made fast friends with a couple of girls that are almost from the same time zone as I am: Rebecca and Amanda. Over time our group has grown, but we've mostly stuck to a general MO. We're the group of American girls that live in the corner together (the exception being Dick Jones).

3/15 Besides being my brother's birthday, the 15th was the day of our first orientation. It was not quite as boring as I expected it to be, but it was still pretty dull. We just went from paper to paper signing our names as tiny as possible in little boxes meant for stamps. There wasn't a single paper that I could actually read the Japanese in. We could have been signing away our souls and would not even know it. The greatest thing about this orientation, though, was that we finally got our log in information for the internet. YAY internet! Granted, I still spent a few days not having anything but skype, because not a single website would ever load.

Ebiten = My # 1
We went on a tour of the campus, ate in the school cafeteria, then finally returned to our dorms to wonder what we should do next. Some of the proxy people had apparently wanted to do Hamazushi at 7, but I-House had a meeting at 8, so those of us that had said we'd go did not go with them. Instead, James, Stephan and I played Uno for about an hour or two to kill time until our meeting. Following the meeting some of us went to Hamazushi anyway. I am addicted to the Ebiten roll (the fried shrimp).

3/16 Oh, the joys of alien registration. We went to city hall to complete our alien registration, where we had to sit through a long reading of a bunch of pamphlets we were being given. I was drowsy and hungry all throughout the experience. Afterwards, I spend a great amount of time in my room. Jessica had said something about proxy being my problem with the internet, so I rushed to skype to talk to my step father and mother to get help on fixing it. They're computer genius would save me, I just knew it. And, it did! Finally, I had internet! I played hermit for a good portion of that day simply out of pure excitement to have connection!

Sakae Shopping
3/17 Finally Saturday. Finally the day of the Nagoya City Tour! The sky decided to spite us and our fancy cameras with rain. Granted, the rainy haze did contribute to a great number of pretty photos, but it might have been even better with sunlight. Our first stop on the tour was to Bic, the electronics store. I resisted purchasing electronics, but I did throw money down for a small case for my camera. Having to carry it was just so exhausting. Then, we went to the shops in Sakae station and wandered until finally eating at a small cafe called Café de Crié. I had the カニトマトクリムソース (crab tomato cream sauce served over pasta). Best.Meal.I've.Had.Since.Arriving. It was so good, I spooned out the remaining sauce after finishing my pasta. Who cares if I was full half a bowl ago?

Me, Aki, Hannah, Baptiste, Jessica, Jeshua, and Haruna

     Finally, we went to Nagoya castle. A highly photogenic place with beautiful trees and bushes. I took many pictures and could not resist the souvenir shops. I even caved for this green tea flavored soft serve ice cream. By the end of the trip, my legs were killing me! I had done so much walking that day and the days before it that moving was becoming difficult. To end the night, some of us detoured to Hamazushi before going back to the dorms. I finally tried the salmon that Rebecca raves about, but naturally couldn't resist the ebiten I'm in love with. 

3/18 For the third time, I went to the hyaku en with friends to get the things that we had forgotten before. Afterwards, we went to try out the McDonalds that was right across the street. We tried the 'Beverly Hills Burger', also called a 'Big American Burger'. It was interesting, to say the least. The first half was delicious, but then half way through it began to taste disgusting. It was one of those 'good in small portions' types of foods. Really small portions. After getting back to the dorms and hanging out for a while, we made plans to go out on a mission to get cell phones, not realizing at the time we still needed a major document that we did not have. Alas, the trip was not to be wasted. We all went to the famed Book Off, where I could not resist buying six manga and a couple of clothes (yes, they have clothes). Afterwards, we headed out in search of the Pokemon center. Before getting there, in fact we had only gotten a block away, we realized we were missing someone out of our party. Our group split in two, one staying behind while the other went and frantically looked for our missing group-mate. We searched in vain. He was gone! After a while, there really wasn't anything more we could do beside hope he found his way home without snags on his own. Much to our relief, when we got to the bus station there was that memorable blue jacket. Stephan (the M.I.A.) had found his way to the bus stop before we did. After all this excitement, most of that same group sat in the kitchen and watched silly videos on youtube. It was a blasty blast.

You are now caught up. :]

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