On the third day of Tokyo Orientation, it was time to depart to our respective cities. My city is was Sakai, a decent sized city only 30 minutes south of Osaka. All the Osaka JETs gathered at the lobby and headed toward the Shinjuku train station. Since we were meeting the supervisor and members of the Board of Education, we were required to dress up once more. As if dressing up during orientation wasn’t bad, it was dressing up in the hot and humid weather that killed us. My whole suit was basically drenched by the time we reached the station. We all decided to get bento lunches to eat on the train. Mine looked quite delicious (and cheap!):
Here is Shinjuku station:
Our mode of transportation to Osaka was the famous Shinkansen (bullet train). I was very psyched to ride it as I have heard stories how fast and smooth the ride was. Plus, we were riding on the Nozomi, the fastest Shinkansen out there. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of it. The ride itself was insanely fast and comfortable; I took several pictures as we flew through the countryside and cities. You might notice that the pictures are a bit wavy but that’s how fast the train was going:
After a couple of hours or so, we arrived at Shin-Osaka station. We finally parted ways with the other Osaka JETs that were going to their respective cities and met our supervisor, Ohashi-sensei with a current JET, Andrew. Ohashi-sensei is one of the nicest guys I have met; he bought us water as soon as he saw how hot we looked and gave us a mini tour of the area as we drove to Izumi, the city we would be working in. His English is very good as well! Our first stop was Izumi as we were going to be introduced to some people in the city hall (his superiors, to be exact). I took a few pictures along the way:
When we got to city hall, I was beginning to get nervous as this is when the job was really about to begin. Luckily, the staff that we met were very kind people. I did mess up my Japanese a bit and had my posture look more like a lady (holding my hands in front rather to the side) but what can you do? I felt a bit bad for Judith and Graham, my coworkers that have next to no Japanese knowledge. I also realized how different it is to know Japanese rather than speaking Japanese to an actual Japanese person that is not your sensei. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
After we got the formalities out of the way, we headed to Sakai where we would be staying. We were all shown our apartments, which were completely empty. That’s right, they came unfurnished since we didn’t have any predecessors. However, we would be given a relocation bonus in a week so we could go out and buy things. Here’s a few pictures of my apartment:
That’s the view from my balcony. It’s awesome!
It is a 2DK apartment. What that means is that there are two tatami (straw mat) rooms and a dining/kitchen room. The bathroom is a bit different from the United States as there is a separate toilet room and another room where one takes a shower/bath. The way the Japanese clean themselves is they take a shower first outside of the tub with soap and then they bathe themselves in the bathtub. I had a lot of work to do to make my apartment look more…full. Not too long after we arrived, we were back out to do some shopping!
Our first stop was Nittori, an IKEA-like shop. Inside we bought the bare necessities to get through our first night. I bought a futon, some curtains to block out the sunlight in the morning, and a lamp to light my bedroom up. Afterward, we headed to an electronic store to check out some more things. At this point, I was extremely tired as was everyone else. Some people bought some washers while I decided to wait another day. This was my first mistake as I have to set up a day with someone to get me a washer…my pile of dirty clothes continues to increase! Finally, we decided to call it a day and went back to our apartments.
But the fun wasn’t over yet! The current JETs that were living in the apartment complex decided to have a welcoming party for us. Andrew was going to be the only JET that decided to stay for another year so it was going to be one of the few times we would catch the departing JETs. We went to a restaurant and let Mike do all the ordering. We ate a ton of different food and drank a lot of beer, it was awesome and expensive. I think the total bill came around 200ish dollars and all had to pay 20 some dollars, not a bad way to start life here. I got home at around 12:30 AM and didn’t actually go to bed until 1:30 since I had to set my bedroom up to actually sleep. Overall it was a long but fun first day in Sakai.
I think that’s all I’ll write for now, but I still have so much to talk about. I want to catch up with blogging so I don’t forget everything, but each day brings some new event. I’ll do the best as I can to keep this updated!