You just have to know when to laugh at yourself. And it’s ok cause I did this in Japan.
Almost every day this week has been orientation. Monday, we had orientation over our paperwork needed to apply for our student visas and insurance. Three grueling hours later we were all done. It was a necessary evil but my brain still itched towards the end. However, since it was a morning session we were done for the day around noon and stopped for a quick lunch and went on a campus tour. It was an unmercifully hot day but I got to view most of the NUFS campus. One of my friends from Georgia, Kim-san who is also studying abroad went exploring with me and we found the hyaku-en store, which is the equivalent of the American dollar tree stores. Except the quality of product is much higher here in Japan, so it is worth the long walk and the in convince a cash only policy to go to Phaigo.
We also had our second brush with the oki-mart for grocerys. It wasn’t as scary the second time around but I still had to guess what some things were based on the wrappers because I couldn’t read the kanji. Here in Japan, due to my limited language skills, I’ve sort of adopted the Andrew Zimmer food policy: “If it looks good, eat it”…and ask what it is later. So far it’s worked out.
Tuesday we had to go to the city hall and register for our alien cards. The school provided us with a bus and walked us through the process. The women working there were all very helpful and kind to us as well. I still hadn’t gotten use to the time difference so I crashed at around 7:30 and was up again by 5:30.
Wednesday, I also went and purchased a bike for better transportation. Even though the school is within walking distance…little else is. Nisshin is a lovely scenic town but everything is fairly spread out so having a bike makes it easier to see Japan without having to pay the bus fee. It was a bit of an adventure buying our bikes (Kim was there too). We had a hard time understanding the sales man and the process took far longer than it should have. However we managed to succeed in our venture and make it back safely with our new bikes in tow. Unfortunately, I found out that after a decade I had forgotten how to ride so I needed to practice for a few days before it came back.
On Thursday, we had our entrance ceremony and welcome party hosted by NUFS. During the party many of the clubs on campus took the opportunity to introduce themselves and give small demonstrations. Some were hilarious and others we just plain cute. My favorite was for the DJ and CDJ club which focused on Japanese rap, even though that is not my forte. I hope to join the aikido club here and buck up on my skills.
Friday was our last orientation day and we had several special guest come and speak with us. Three were from the police station and two were from local international relations associations within the local community. Later that day Kim and I also go the chance to watch the softball team practice and meet some of the players.
It’s only been a short while since I arrived but already it feels as if I have lived here for months. In another week school will start back up for us and it will offer more chances to increase my Japanese and hopefully make it even better to be here.