Thursday, August 5, 2010

Taking Tokyo By Storm


I have arrived in Nihon!

After packing up the remainder of my first big girl apartment in SF and saying a tear filled goodbye to my roommates, I was greeted by my parents and airport bound chariot. The lovely grey Honda CRV was ready and waiting to escort me to my new life overseas. My parents drove me to the airport where I met up with up the rest of the SF crew as we anxiously discussed what was in store. My parents were able to park and sit with me a bit before I had to head through security and board.

The nine hour flight was completely full and rather uneventful. The food and service were AMAZING, leaps and bounds better than any US flight service I’ve ever had. As soon as we exited the plane we were greeted by a JET participant about every 10 ft pointing us in the right direction, it literally would have been impossible to get lost. All of them had a smile and an accent; it was amazing to meet so many different people from so many different countries in all of 30 seconds. We then boarded a bus from Narita to Tokyo, during the two hour drive we signed release forms and made some new friends.

Katie, one of my two roommates from the Bay Area
Finally we arrived at Keio Plaza Hotel and were placed with roommates from our departing city. The hotel was completely overrun by JETs. There were about 1,000 of us from certain parts of the US, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, Singapore and New Zealand. Keep in mind that I was in the second arrival group, and this is happening a total of 3 times. That’s A LOT of JETS! Currently there are a little over 5,000 JETs throughout Japan ranging from 36 different countries. Pretty amazing huh?!

It was interesting to watch the dynamic of the future JETs as we got further and further from home. People were trying to hold on to where they were from all the while trying to find similarities with everyone else. At the SF consulate people were very proud of where they were actually from and quick to rattle of towns in the East Bay rather than have be assumed that they lived IN the city. But as we arrived in Japan, you would watch an SF person introduce themselves to a Seattle person and one might as well have exclaimed, “Oh my god you’re from the West coast too! Let’s be friends!” By the end of the weekend it was assumed that if you were from the same continent you were destined to be friends for life.

During our 4 days in Tokyo we attended various speeches and workshops to help prepare us for our new life. Needn’t worry though, I was able to go out at night, discovered some bomb Udon and Korean BBQ and 2 hour karaoke/all you can drink place, Uh, Yes Please! I explored Tokyo a bit with some new friends from Canada, we took the train to Harajuku, yes as in Gwen Steffani’s clothing line, and Shibuya, kinda the times square of Tokyo with the huge cross walk that has the cars stop completely while everyone crosses. A-mazing!

In Harijuku. Apparently this Japanese man saw us in these and
promptly purchased a pair, we should get commission. 

Shinjuku in Tokyo, across from our hotel.

In Shibuya at THE crosswalk with Trey lurkin in the background. He is also Chiba bound.
For those of you who are wondering, I was able to meet up with Kristin briefly!  Kristin Namimoto is one of closest family friends who just completed her 2 yr in JET and was at the AJET fair handing out information on building houses in India (Go KNam1!). We’re currently trying to figure out a time I can go met her Aunt and cousin before she heads back to the states on the 12th.

Proof to our mother's that we saw each other. 
After 3 days of orientation and learning more about the JET program, stages of homesickness, and Japanese etiquette than I could handle, I was ready to experience it for myself! The final day of orientation I met with the other 8 Chiba JETs to board a bus and head our new prefecture!


  1. the one of you across from your hotel looks like a backdrop! so glad you're having an awesome time!!

  2. What an exciting experience so far! You're rocking that suit ;) Keep the updates coming. It's like going to Japan... but not. Miss you, but am so happy you're getting to do this!!

  3. Hi! I'm SO happy that you are such a fantastic blogger! It makes me feel like we just chatted (well, you chatted, I listened) over coffee or something : ) Totally appreicate you taking the time to write! And also, I'm SO excited for you! A little sad that BART doesn't go to Japan (yet), but can't wait for more stories!

  4. I enjoyed reading this and you are gonna be so missed as the school year starts!

  5. Love the photos & visit to Tokyo through your eyes,I like the image of you & the back ground of the hotel the lights, signage & the condensed feel you look great woman, love carol

  6. This is great! I'm so excited for you hearing all about your new experiences! Loads of love - The Macs



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