Welcome to Japan (and Jet Lag)

6:40 am

I’m pre-emptively writing these notes in my hotel room since getting a connection downstairs requires sacrificing a first-born child. There’s something like 1500 JETs in this hotel and while I could conceivably fight them all, I wouldn’t want to deal with all the blood stains on my clothes. I’m a ninja, but not when it comes to laundry.

It’s 6:40 am and I’m just waiting for the breakfast hall to open. Since it’s the equivalent of 3:40 back home, starvation is setting in.

Last night, I went for my first Japanese dining experience and I had a couple of good Japanese speakers along for the ride, so they were able to guide me through the process. I have, however, already had my first meat slip up. There seemed to be pork or some other formerly-living product residing in my mizo soup – an unusual phenomenon I’m told. I’m probably going to have to learn to love mizo soup and just start hoping that I get more meat-free versions in the future.

My roommates are a couple other guys from Alberta and so far we’ve all managed to share our bathroom considerately. We’re all adjusting our internal clocks and griping about the ironing situation. No wait, I could care less about ironing.

Tokyo is enormous. I can’t think of any city I’ve visited that is so densely packed while simultaneously being so sprawling. Apartment buildings are crammed together with no space in between and fill endless stretches of city blocks. The only real landmark we passed on the way to the hotel was Tokyo Disney – it just looked like Disneyland, but oddly enough, with more trees.

The weather has been incredibly humid and quite warm. I don’t find it unbearable, but there have been more than a few complaints that have reached my ears. It’s not so bad though. I mean, I could probably grow rice in my underwear it’s so humid, but I haven’t wanted to pass out or anything (though apparently one girl did while waiting in line at Narita airport – she wasn’t a JET, so I think she just got tired of being in an endless line with a bunch of sleep-deprived rookie teachers and wanted a quick way out).

The flight over was uneventful. I tried every means at my disposal to get some sleep, but only managed an hour. Ear plugs, a neck pillow, and a sleeping pill couldn’t do it for me. I’m just fated to never sleep on planes. I did, however, get stuck next to someone who took the Celestine Prophecies seriously and wanted to talk philosophy with me in that context. Somewhere, my B.A. is crying.

Today, we’ll be running the gauntlet of conference speakers. It could prove to be long and dull, or somewhat interesting. I’m hoping for the latter, but not holding my breath. I believe I get to meet other people from my prefecture, so we’ll see if I can find someone who wants to check out some festivals or something.

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