I woke up early so I could eat breakfast and have time to chat with mom before I had to meet my group to go to Fukushima. Breakfast was the same as the previous 2 days. I ate more than I should have…again. After talking with mom I packed up the rest of my stuff that wasn’t packed the night before and said good bye to my roommates then headed off to meet the rest of the JETS who would be taking the bus to Fukushima.
The bus ride took about 4 hours. We had 2 stops along the way for snacks and bathroom breaks. Each stop was about 20 minutes. At the first stop there was a bread shop (kind of like a bakery but with only different kinds of breads). I got a cross between a croissant and a roll that was full of chocolate. Red bull is only 200 yen here ($2) so I got one for the road. I had planned on going to bed early the night before so I’d be well rested when I met my supervisors from the board of education. I was in bed by 11:00, but I didn’t sleep until after 2 and I was up before 6. I was not happy about that…but I wasn’t all that tired either. We got to Koriyama (in Fukushima) and had a welcome ceremony. Each of us was introduced to one of our supervisors from the BOE that contracted us. Iwaki (my city) has 10 JETs that came in my group and 5 JETS that came the week before. We had the largest group so, to get back to Iwaki, we were driven in a small van/bus (a bus that looked like a van).
We made one stop along the way and Zhan bought grasshoppers (which she then shared with everyone on the bus). I didn’t have any. I’m not that brave. She loves them though and so did a few other people on the bus. Ewww.
Once we got to Iwaki we were brought to the BOE office to collect our luggage. We also had to quickly introduce ourselves to the other office workers. Mr. Takahama gave us a script to follow to make it easier for us and so that those who can’t speak Japanese could be understood by the office people.
Everyone got to go to their apartments except for Chelsea and me. lol We got to stay in a hotel for the night. The hotel was nice. Small rooms. I had a twin size bed, a desk, tv, fridge, closet and bathroom. It was nice. There was a wall panel next to my bed with a lamp on it with buttons and switches for all the lights in the room, alarm clock and radio. The lamp was a night light. lol I slept 9 hours that night. The best sleep I’ve had since I got here!
The next morning we had a nice Japanese style breakfast at the hotel restaurant (fish, rice, soup, vegetables, potato salad and probably one or two other things I’m forgetting). I love Japanese potato salad! lol
We walked from the hotel to the Culture Centre which is right next to the BOE. There we had class all morning. We filled out forms to get our Alien Registration cards and bank accounts. Then we went to City Hall (just down the street) to hand in all the forms and stuff.
One thing I should mention is that Iwaki is like a whole bunch of cities and towns that combined to make a city. The BOE, city hall, etc. are all in TAIRA. I live in IZUMI. For people who live in Ottawa…if Taira is Ottawa, then Izumi (where I live) is like Almont! Taira has a downtown core and it’s busy, lots of shops , big train station with stores etc. Izumi has nothing. The train station is just a platform; there aren’t even street lights on most of the streets! There is so much green. I’m in the mountains. I’m glad I have a bike because I honestly don’t think there is a bus system in Izumi. But I’m only about 15 minutes from Taira by train and I’m a 3 minute walk from the Izumi train station.
So in the afternoon , after our classes, we went to Kojira to sign up for internet and cell phones. I didn’t get to start mine that day. I went to get a helmet and a light for my bike. Since there are no lights in Izumi, aside from house lights, I really need a light on my bike…the roads aren’t straight either. It’s really different from what I’m used to!
Mr. Takahama took Chelsea and me back to the hotel to get our bags and then took us to our apartments. I got to my apartment around 5pm and Mrs. Kodama showed me how to use the gas stove and the washing machine, how to turn on the hot water (there is a wall panel and the water takes a few minutes to heat up), and the air conditioner.
Kasey (my predecessor) left me a whole tone of stuff for the apartment! I’m so happy for pretty much all of it! She even left me stuff I wasn’t expecting (like the fan to put under the laptop to keep it from overheating!) I was going to by myself one of those fans and now I don’t have to. J
The only thing I wasn’t happy about is that all the stuff (in boxes thankfully) was stacked up in the livingroom on and around the couch…which is where I need to sleep. So I had to move everything before I could go to sleep. I ended up putting most of the stuff away into cupboards and stuff. I have three boxes left.
Mom, she left me a big bottle of Advil! lol YES!!!
So I got to bed around 10:30 and didn’t get to sleep right away. I need to buy curtains. The ones I have are not wide enough to cover the window and they are white, so the light goes right through them. Even though there are no street lights, there are some house lights and the moon was really bright. Also the sun rises at about 4:30am here. I was woken up at 4:45 the next morning. I was really mad! lol
Woke up way too early. Tried sleeping with a shirt covering my eyes but still ended up with a headache. I gave up on sleep at about 5:50am. I listened to music for a bit then figured out the shower and ate breakfast. I had gone to the 7/11 the night before and got pre-made meals and juice. I left for the train station at 8:40 to catch an 8:56am train. I gave myself plenty of time to find the station, as I hadn’t been there before. It’s literally about 2 streets over from me.
Got to the culture centre 30 minutes before the workshops started and just sat around. Had a conversation with a random lady at the centre and it turns out she’s from my part of town lol. We laughed about it for a bit. People are really nice here. I’m enjoying it, despite the annoyances. I need curtains!!! Class went right to 4pm today. There was a lot of info thrown at us.
After classes finished some of us went back to Kojima to get cell phones and internet. I got my internet application done and now I just need to set up a time for them to come set it all up for me. I get unlimited internet access for about $53/month. Unlimited downloads and everything. Way better than what I had in Canada. I have a fibre optics connection. apparently it’s good! lol
I got a cell phone today…well I have to pick it up tomorrow, but the contract is ready. I get unlimited e-mail through ezweb, and 144 minutes of calling time a month. The left over minutes from each month carry over to the next. I also get internet access but I pay by the amount of data I use…so I’ll only be using for GPS when I get lost. lol
The phone is free with a 2 year contract and the plan was less than $30 a month. The phone is also bilingual, Japanese and English. I’m happy!
Tonight is the start of the 3 day festival in Taira. There was dancing in the streets this evening and lots of booths set up along the streets. People were dressed up in festival attire and the streets are all decorated. It is really beautiful! I’ll try to post some pictures of the festival. Tomorrow there will be fireworks in Onahama. I’m hoping to get to go to the beach party across the water from where the fireworks will be. I’m supposed to call someone about it tomorrow morning.
Well that’s it for me. I’m going to try to go to bed early so I can get 7 hours of sleep before I get woken up by the sun at 4:45am. gggrrrrr. lol
I have to set my bed up every night and put it away every morning. I have a pull out couch in the living room…which is actually what we call a futon couch in Canada. The bar in the middle of it is annoying, so I put the futon on top of it and it helps a bit. I’m going to get a thicker futon next month and it will be even better then.
off to bed for me! Have a good day everyone!