As I begin this post, I want to apologize in advance for all the keyboard mishaps and typos. Japanese keyboards are quite a bit different than American keyboards and I am finding them a little difficult to get used to at the moment:)
So, during the last week of July, Kyle and I packed our crap into bins and bags, took them over to my sister April`s house, and rolled our 2 checked bags, and carry-ons to sleep on couches. July 31st, I hugged my family, kissed my husband, grabbed my luggage, got on a plane, put on a suit, and had a welcome dinner reception in Tokyo, Japan, where we stayed at the Keio Plaza in Shinjuku.
For the next three days all the 800 some participants who`d be teaching somewhere in this beautiful country had orientation meetings after orientation meetings. Breakfast started at 7:30, first speeches at 9, then we were finished with all of our meetings around 6. Two of the three nights we had dinner receptions, which I thought was awesome.
During the night we drank together, sang together, and broke the ice with one another over food and fun. Tokyo city is something to be seen, I just wish I had more time and less business to do:) But, I guess I`m getting paid to basically have the time of my life.
Around 7AM on August 4th I said my goodbyes to the new friends I`d made, boarded a plane, my black pant suit and all, to head to Aomori Prefecture to begin my real life in Japan. A very sleepy hour later we arrived in Aomori and after picking up my bags and put in a very tight line to file out the luggage doors, I saw a small poster with my name, *Sharpe* across it. I smiled at the man and woman holding the sign, waved, then bowed and said, `Hajimemashite, Tori des, yoroshiku` and we left the airport for Hirosaki.
I could feel the beads of sweat trickling down the small of my back, my forehead, my belly… wiping my upper lip off every 5 seconds with the back of my hand. `this heat is very unusual for Hirosaki` they told me. It was around 90 degrees, 80% humidity, and there I was… in my pants suit like they`d told me to wear to make a great impression. Some impression I was making. Hey! Look at me! The sweaty gaijin (foreigner) here to come teach with you!! Aren`t you impressed!? They did let me leave my jacket in the car. And after suckin down cold ramen noodles, which tasted like heaven in my mouth, I`d almost forgotten how hot it was outside.
Finally, after meeting all the staff at the school and getting my alien card, I got to see my home for the first time. I stripped myself of the sweat soaked suit upon my back, and lay face up on the floor of my new home…