Friday, August 28, 2009

Tokyo Orientation

After the fireworks everyone headed home around 11pm and then I had to be up the very next morning at the crack of dawn to catch a taxi to the airport to go to Tokyo for Orientation!!!! 3 ALT's (Wayne, Justin and myself) were chosen to go down to Tokyo to represent Hokkaido as TOAs (Tokyo Orientation Assistant). We now call ourselves TEAM HOKKAIDO! whoop whoop!

I arrived to Tokyo with a bit of time to spare so I caught the JR train to Harajuku to hopefully catch some crazy cosplay (costume role play) gals but sadly they were all still sleeping... so instead I headed over to Meiji Jingu... a beautiful shrine right in the middle of Tokyo. I was also lucky to catch a traditional Japanese style wedding. It was gorgeous.... but I hate to say it but the bride looked more like the young chap's mom than his wife.... but HEY! good on her!!! Maybe that will be me one day ;-)

The rest of the day we were briefed at the hotel about our jobs as TOAs and then at night we were taken to a hotel in Narita. My dad came to Japan 15 sum years ago with one of his students after winning a competition. His homestay family from Akita now lives in Narita so they were kind enough to come pick me up at the Narita hotel and take me out for dinner! We stayed out til midnight eating and chatting. Their little girl was the cutest thing and wouldn't let me out of her sight. awww...

The next day we spent the entire day at Narita airport welcoming the new ALTs as they flew in. We ushered them through the airport, helped to make sure they had the right VISAs, their bags were OK and got them on a bus to Tokyo. One of the flights had been delayed 6 hours (they had to wait IN THE PLANE on the ground!!!) so the poor guys were exhausted by the time they got to Tokyo. I was their bus leader so tried to cheer em up a bit and then let them crash.

Monday was a full day of orientation for them... I remember how draining it was to sit through so many talks and presentations while being jet lagged so in the evening for the fancy welcome reception TEAM HOKKAIDO decided to welcome and cheer our group up by doing a: "give me a H!!!! give me an O!!!!... what does that spell!???! HOKKAIDO!!!"

We're not too sure if it eased their tensions or made them a bit more nervous to be heading to wacky Hokkaido ;-)

After the reception we threw our Hokkaido Welcome Party at a Japanese izakaya in Shinjuku.

Tuesday was another FULL day of orientation and workshops... At night I was somehow put in charge of helping the British JETs get to the British embassy for a welcome reception. There were 3 other American TOAs there who were outcasts like myself... so we just stood in the corner and scarfed down yummy snacks!!!! hahaha

The TOA's had crazy schedules since there was a hospitality center which had internet and ironing which was open 24/7... It was open all night in case the new JETs got sick, homesick, couldn't sleep, etc.... so some of us had 2am, 5am shifts... in order to keep each other company thru the redeye shifts, we all stayed up in the hotel lounge area chatting and threw a few cartwheel and butt race competitions...

Wed we got up early and said our goodbyes to the Hokkaido JETs as they ventured off to Hokkaido to meet their supervisors and start this wild and crazy new adventure in Japan.

Still can't believe that was US a year ago!!! Time sure does fly when you're having fun!!! ;-)

gooooooo team HOKKAIDO!

give me an "H"!!!!!!

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