So, I doubt there will be a better time for really being able to go over all the stuff that has happened to us since we came over here, but I guess this will be an initial attempt at the very least…
When we landed, we did our best to work our way around the immigration. It is pretty much a must to have at least some Japanese because, unlike the last time I came over (when I landed in Osaka and then trained it over to Kyoto) there was no one that spoke fluent English at the Japanese border. We managed pretty well, even got a few smiles at our attempts at being overly friendly, polite, and humble. Note to self: people really like it when I say, “ごめん！私の日本語めちゃへたね！” (Sorry! My Japanese is very poor!)
We made it out; met my boss, James; met Jen and Jon, a couple that is in a similar situation and that we didn’t know existed or would be waiting for us when we landed (they didn’t know about that either…); set up our luggage being delivered to our house; and then drove for the next hour or so driving from Narita Airport to Tateyama.
When we finally got to our apartment, we found out that there were no sheets for the bed so we had to improvise. James gave us some towels to help the sheet effort, and we managed. Sam slept and I had an anxiety attack about having dragged us to this apartment with weird college bachelor decor and lack of sheets. Eventually I passed out, so that was good.
The next morning I started my training and Sam and I set to changing out apartment so it is much more livable. We have come leaps and bounds since the initial days.
Training was very weird. The schedule was in a constant state of flux, but that seems to be the norm for this company (for professional reasons I will leave out the name in this blog). I managed to get about 5 days of training, though most of it was 3 hours or so. That was fine by me because, with my teacher training, much of it was review with different terminology. The things that weren’t were things I really don’t love, being the business side (“We are a business. We need students to make money. etc…”) and the demo lessons. What are demo lessons? That is when grown adults have to pretend to be 3-5 year olds, wide-eyed and crawling around on the floor, and you have to pretend to teach them. I don’t think I have experienced (for me at least) anything so useless and awkward. But… Here we are. I managed to get through it and still keep my lunch.
I thought I had finally gotten through this, but then my second day was a training day (which everyone was constantly referencing without having told me anything about… These people seriously need someone whose sole purpose is to help people coming from other countries acclimate to their new job and life in Japan. Once I’m established, I might just force myself into that position.
An example of how vital they need one is the story of our spare key. From the first introduction to our new apartment, we were told we would get one, but days passed and nothing was happening with it. That is, until our only key fell into the sewer… Mistakes happen, people! There are alot of sewer openings in Japan!
Anyway, I ran to my work, being locked out from my home, and explained that I would be late and that our key was dropped into the sewers and if they could give me a long object to fish it out, I would do my best to hurry back. I received a thin, long, bamboo rake and ran back to Sam, who was marking where we had dropped the key. I was there, on my hands and knees, one of the only gaijins in the city, doing my best to hook the key ring with the handle… But it was a straight stick. There was no hook at the end.
Let me tell you, I pulled a seriously MacGuyver (sp?) with this one. There was a potted plant next to me that had a dead little branch sitting among the dirt. The end of the bamboo pole had a hallow bit (being bamboo and all). I took a section of the branch that was hooked, shoved it into the bamboo pole, and hooked the key. Don’t worry, we then washed everything with dish soap…
Honestly, it could have been worse. To and from my work, I found myself staring at the sewer entrances every step I took. Most of them, I couldn’t see the bottom of; at least we were able to reach our key. Another plus? Second I made it back to work, my boss turned to my manager and said, “Please take them now to get a spare key.”
So, there have been many different moments that have warranted a nice blog post, but unfortunately it’s the norm in Japan (at least in Tateyama) to go without internet for for a month when you move… We have an eta of September 12th. Hopefully after that we will also be able to cut our shopping time down to an hour (takes a while to figure out kanji for objects that are completely foreign to us as well as gage whether or not we need something for fixing up our apartment).
Hopefully we will be able to put up a post of the 3 different sushi-go-rounds in our town! Ah… What a delicious experiment this has been… (>^.^)>