Published: August 27th 2011August 27th 2011
Wow...first two days have been a trip. Where to start...better at the beginning I guess. We left Katie's house in Indiana, PA at around 3 a.m., but we made it to PIT by about 4:30 a.m. Still, our flight got majorly delayed due to some nasty weather that was spanning Ohio all the way out to Maine. After that, we made it to Cincinnati only to be routed through Chicago. Our flight in Chicago though was on the completely opposite side of where we landed, and when we arrived we forgot to check in, so we were put at the back of the line while one of the stewardesses worked that out. Fortunately, the stewardess we had was a vetran of American Airlines, so she managed to not only check us in in record time, but she managed to make the reservation that Delta FORGOT in Narita, our next stop. Thus followed an extremely long flight. Thought it wasn't as bad as I thought; katie and I got to sit in the first part of the economy class section, and we got to meet a fellow American going to Japan for intensive language studies. Her name escapes me at the moment, but I will remember when I get to email her tomorrow (it's written down with her email address). She will be staying in Tokyo, so with any luck I can crash at her place when I have to go to confrences.
After the long and boring plane ride we got to disembark and be greeted by a japanese flight attendant who was waiting for us. Turns out the flight to Narita gave us actually very little time, as we had to go through customs as soons as we arrived. On top of that, we also had to check in to our flight, and go through the regular airport security in order to reach our gate. We only had an hour or so to do this in; without that awesome flight attendant helping us along and getting us into the express line, we would never have made it.
The flight to Kansai was thankfully boring, but landing was anything but; we were really confused about where to go at first, and ended up spending so much time asking for help. Fortunately, our Japanese classes paid off as we managed to bumble our way through a number of basic conversations, which were often greeted with smiles, english, and an amazing willingness to help two lost adventurers. We did finally make it to a bus, which we rode all the way to Hirakata station. After that, it was a six block walk (three more since we did not take the train) and then we were at the hotel. We got a lot of help getting there though, since two other travelers were willing to show us most of the way there. Upon arrival, we both pretty much passed out on the bed.
Morning saw us missing the breakfast buffet, but we managed (after a bit of a struggle and a few more fumbled conversations, this time with less English offered) to make it to a KFC for breakfast. The taxi's were luckily relatively close by, and so a short taxi ride later, we arrived at Katie's seminar house. I said goodbye to her, and had plans to meet her for dinner tonight. Sadly though, there was no real time to meet up, and we never establised a firm plan (my fault on that one) so it fell through. Still, I sent her a facebook message, so hopefully she will get it and we can meet up tomorrow.
My day though was anything but boring; in the morning, I moved in and went on the campus tour. We ended up having a much larger group than expected, and a got to meet a number of interesting people. The ones that were in my seminar house, house 1, I interacted the most with, including one of the orientation leaders (I think an RA as well, but I'm not quite sure) Tamaki-san. Tamaki-san was really energetic, despite the days oppresive heat, and was even willing to help me study later in the day. I also got to meet Becky, from Tennessee who was into full metal alchemist, and a bunch of other anime I had never heard of, Tom, who was from Canada, and was extremely upbeat about being everything throughout the whole day, and Matteus, who was from Germany (now that I think about it, I can't remember if I asked. I saw his books for Japanese and just assumed; have to check that tomorrow), who is also going to be taking some business courses like myself. Together the four of us made it to an electronics store where got a bunch of much needed appliances (lan cables, batteries, power converters, etc.) and a hyaku-en store, where I got a pair of chopsticks and a pack of cards with poker chips. After that we returned to the seminar house, where I tried to study for a little bit, but ended up taking a much needed nap. After an hour or so of sleep, I finally woke up in time for sushi with a new group of people. Matteus and Tom were also there, and I even ended up eating with Matteus. I also got to meet a number of new people, and the place we went was really interesting. The sushi was on plates that went around on a conveyor belt; when you saw something you liked, you picked it up, and then when the meal was over you paid for the amount of plates you had, around a hundred yen a piece.
The day ended with a trip to the convenience store where I got to buy a bunch of much needed toiletries (shaving cream, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner) and my breakfast for tomorrow morning (cup ramen). Other than that, the day has been very interesting, and very useful for practicing Japanese. I've found basic conversations to be quite simple, and to flow easily. I really have to extend my thanks and gratitude to both Tomoko-sensei and Matsui-sensei; without you two, this would never have been possible.
Well, it's time for me to go to sleep,