A journey to the Kansai Airport:
After the 5 hour drive from Santa Barbara to Turlock and the 2 hour drive to the San Francisco International Airport, I waited patiently and nervously for my first plane. I had never ridden a plane before and the only thing in my mind was not fainting. I knew that if I fainted, they were going to make me stay at the airport and my plane will leave. So, there I sat patiently, for the plane to arrive. Suddenly, a girl with a pink stuff animal walked in front of me and started to line up at the front desk followed by everyone else in the waiting room. I was confused by this scenario for a second, to then realized that the plane had arrive and that we were called to queued up. I felt my heart sink and I could not stand up for second but I was able to gather the strength get up and line up. The line steady moved and before I knew it was inside the plane.
I once inside, I was trying to calm my self down when I feel my body pressing against the sit. We were taking off! It felt like being in a roller coaster! My heart started to speed up and I started to smile. It hit me, I was going to Japan and I was in plane to Vancouver to get my connecting flight to Osaka! I was fulled of joy and I could not stop smiling. I got a weird look from the lady sitting next to me, but I did not mind since this flight was only 2 hours.
Once in Vancouver, explored the airport for a Tim Horton go eat a “Canadian Breakfast” but to no avail. I ended up eating my standear steak and cheese chipotle creamy sriracha sweet onion sandwich at Subway. I was surprise to hear the Subway worker speaking French, back home they usually speak Spanish. After eating, my plane arrived and I got in for my 10 hour flight. This time I was not that nervous. I sat next to a pilot of a sister airline to Air Canada and we talked for a while. I did my best to sleep, but I could not contain my excitement!
Upon entrance at the airport I was met with a familiar face, Mario! The wall picture at the entrance to the Kansai airport made me feel welcomed. Once passing customes, I was picked up by my kendo Senpais: Ryo and Tabia. They help me out to get an ICOCA card and get to the Tabicco share house!
At Tabicco House, I was met by my Senpai’s housemates with a “Hola amigo!” (Hello my friend). I was caught off guard by this welcoming and I started to speak fluently Spanish for a bit. I did not take long for to realize that they only knew that phrase in Spanish. I was then escorted to my bed, which was really cozy, and we proceed to eat dinner. They prepared a home made dinner for me and it was really good! I wish I had taken a picture, but I was too tired and hungry to do anything but eat.
I am really grateful for that welcome. I was really nervous and scare to meet them. Listening to kind words in my mother tongue really calmed me down.
The next morning, we woke up early to go to Kyoto! One of my Senpai’s housemate let us borrow a Kimono each (traditional Japanese attire) to wear while walking around the city and temples.
We started our day by going to “Eggs n’ Things” were I ordered a loco moco. It gave us enough energy to get through the day. We then proceed to walk around a small street market with a small temple in the middle of it.
There I got an “Exellent” fortune. Which apparently is the highest level you can get. From there we headed to Fushimi Inari Shrine. It was beautiful. Stairs and gates that just keep going on and on and on. It was like a whole different world. I wanted to climb it all, but it was really hard with a kimono on. We just walked to the best place we could get a picture in. After exploring the long the small river, we returned to Tabbicco house. I started to get ready for my Program Orientation the next day.
My Senpais decided that they will help me get to my orientation. We took the Osaka Monorail to Minoh Campus. There I found a classmate from high school I had not seen since we graduated. He was enrolled in the language program for Japanese language, a sister program to my research one. We walked to together to the orientation site and my senpais said goodbye as they dropped us off for school. Once inside the waiting room, I met a lot of different people from the two sister programs. The girl with the pink stuff animal I saw at the airport was there too!
There is not much to say from the orientation besides that the banquet was great. After the orientation we, got taken our dormitory.
At the dormitory, the guys at our dormitory decided to go together to a conveyor belt sushi place. It was a really good meal that was less than 6 dollars!
Meet the lab!
The following day we had to get to Suita campus from our dorm at 9 am. So, we all got up, and took a bus, and arrived at Suita Station around 8:30am. We just had to walk from there. We looked at our map and saw that it was an HOUR AND A HALF WALK! We were confused for a while, and then realized that Suita Station was in the opposite direction of Suita Campus! We had less than 20 minutes to get to our second orientation! We reluctantly called a taxi and, in broken Japanese, showed him a map of where we wanted to go. The streets we took were really green and relaxing, I just hoped I had experience them in a less stressful way.
After arriving late and listening to the orientation, we waited for our mentors to pick us up. There was general feeling among participants that we were children waiting for our parents to pick us up. After a long wait, my mentor came to pick me up. I was really nervous, but I calmed down after a while.
I got to eat lunch with them at the school cafeteria, and I will say, it is the most inexpensive well made food I ever had!
After hanging they showed me the lab and I got introduce to all of them. Before I knew it was time go back at my dorm. I look at the map and saw that my dorm is 50 minutes away by train!
I decided to take the monorail and walked the rest of the way. After all, I already have an hour commute, I mind as well take the scenic view and do some exercise to save money.