Monday, September 18, 2006

Ack, sorry guys!

I'm not sure where I left off in my journal, but I'm now in Tokyo. The reason I'm not sure is that I am writing this on my computer while not being on-line (in case you were wondering).I arrived in Tokyo last Wednesday, and it's been extremely busy since then. I arrived at CKS Airport in Taipei early, but ended up having to pay a fine over $100 because the airlinewouldn't allow more than 1 bag at 20 kilograms. They said it was because I was flying intra-Asia. I argued but couldn't get them to budge (altho the lady did lower the fine a bit). Anyway, I think she felt bad because she upgraded me into Economy Plus, meaning I was given 5 extra inches!

CIEE paid for a hotel for two nights, and it was actually rather nice. It could not possibly have been expensive, but it was a business hotel and therefore very convenient, clean, and accommodating. There was a brand new Toshiba television in the room, the toilet had various options, air conditioner had its own remote, and internet access was free! At Tokyu Stay Hotel,I bought a phone card and called Nanny and Poppy to let them know I had arrived. My parents were flying at the time, or soon to be at least, and Lisa was in class. I wish I could haves poken to everyone, but I hope they know how much I'm thinking of them. I've been able to talk to Lisa through AIM once and GMail once, but I really need to find a way to improve my internet access. I think once I get settled into my homestay and actually know what's going on it'll be okay.

Those first two days of orientation were a whirlwind of information. We heard from a professor who will also act as our academic advisor, so I need to figure out what classes I will take to see what he thinks. We don't choose for another week, and the first day of school isn't until October 2!

On the first night I went out to dinner with a group of 6 other gakusei (students)at a place near Sophia Daigaku (University). We ordered about 10 small dishes to share- kind of like Spanish tappas. The next night CIEE took us out to dinner at a really nice traditional restaurant where the chefs fried various vegetables, meats, and seafood right in front of us- ooishideshita (tasty!). After the aforementioned dinner, we were ushered to Roopongi (sp?) Hills,where we visited a modern art gallery and saw nighttime Tokyo in its entirety from the 52nd floor. I was able to see the Giants stadium, although what I'm really looking forward to is buying a ticket to see Bobby Valentine's Chiba Lotte Marines play!

The second day of orientation was filled mostly with preparations for meeting our host families. This was, to say the least, a nervous endeavor! We prepared and practiced speeches to present in front of the collective group of families. Mine went as follows:

(Bow) Nice have met you once.
My (boastful) name is Mr. Brian.
Once, I came from New York (heavy accent).
Usually, I am George Washington's pupil, but now Tokyo studies me.
I like you, do you like me?
Treat me well.
Here are some boring gifts.

Okay, so it went a LITTLE better than that; at least everyone clapped kindly and within a minute I was seated next to temproary host mother (okaasan). I say temporary because my actual host family Is currently on vacation in Europe. I will move to their home on Wednesday but, until then has been kind enough to take me in.

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