I met up with a lot of my fellow JETs at the Brisbane domestic (we had to go to Sydney first-blehh let's travel away from our final destination first-woot!) and I got to meet boyfriends, mums, dads, friends et al. which was kinda heartwarming. I enjoyed seeing the spark of pride in the eyes of the dads and the mums of the other JETs. At check-in time I said my final goodbye :(
Before long we were descending into the metropolis of Tokyo. On descent a flood of memories 2 years past came back to me. I remember my first descent into this wonderful city. It was night and the vastness of the lights was mesmerising. The seemingly endless scale of construction was a little scary. How could they power all these cells of humanity and industry? Seeing the vast residential sprawl on my first train ride from Narita to Tokyo reinforced the scale of life in the metropolis that holds roughly the same population as that of my home country of Australia.
Anyway, I digressed didn't I? This time around, I was greeted with a hot and humid Narita morning. After we got our luggage, a good Brisbane JET friend of mine, 'Mie L', and I finally met 'Aichi P', a friend that we made through the forums. He gave us each a 扇子/sensu (Japanese folding fan), which was an awesome welcoming gift that we put to use pretty darn promptly. Mie L and I boarded the bus bound for swanky Keio Plaza. The reality of being in Japan really started to hit on this bus ride. The alien boxy cars, the architectured roadside 緑/midori, the abundant baseball fields, the unfamiliar plantlife, and of course, the signage in asian characters, all together made it sink in.
|ほっけ定食 Mackerel Set Meal|
The next day was the start of the business end of the orientation. The opening presentations were very good and the mood, despite being official, was counterbalanced with the humour and occasional anecdotes of the presenters. The same day, I met all my fellow newbie Aichi Prefecture JETs which was great; a mixture of cool people from America, America, & America. Day 3 was full of workshops. The ones that I attended were pretty well done, especially the team teaching and teaching to children with disabilities workshops. That night we got to visit the Australian Embassy in Tokyo. That was a really good time. I actually bit the bullet and talked to the big wigs during meal time. They were really friendly, it was just like talking to anyone I have ever met back home as they certainly retained their laid-back, approachable Australian-ness.
|The Aichi massive|
|Brisbane JETs on Embassy visit night.|
And so started my Japanese life. So, what of my posting? Well, my area abounds in rice paddies (they are called 'tanbo' / 田んぼ) which to me hold a special charm of their own. I've found myself often riding home at night (if you do the JET program you will surely spend your initial few days/weeks going out to eat and drink) and as I approach my home, the wind often blows through the tanbo making the rice plants dance, and seemingly, whisper to each other. It's really nice. The novelty of the birds and plants that are alien to my Australian eyes, remains strong still. I often see what I am convinced is the same big ol' Japanese crane having a late night fish in the channel near my house. Damn thing scared the jiminy crickets out of me the first time I saw it, but now I get disappointed whenever it isn't there to say 今晩は/goodnight to, haha.
|Turning the key for the first time in my new apartment|
So now's a good time to stop this installment. There is definitely a need for a G'day Japan Part 3. Next time I will get more into the specifics of school life and the fun outings I have been indulging in.
Well until then, thanks so much for reading. Much love to friends and family back home and my continued thanks to anyone else that stumbles upon and reads my entries.
Thanks again :)