It’s always hard to close one chapter of your life and be prepared for the next one. I feel like I had just gotten settled into my new apartment in North Hollywood when it was time to go. Leaving for Japan was bittersweet and different the last time I went to go live abroad for an extended period of time. When I was 22, I was unattached and also clueless about a lot of life skills necessary to be a fully functioning adult. Eight years later, and my situation is completely different: leaving behind my little urban life and my loved ones.
Orientation was jam packed with seminars and useful information. I didn’t really sleep the first three days because my room-mate snored horribly, so I was basically wandering around the hotel at odd hours of the night and slowly descending into delirium. I met a lot of interesting people during meal times but I never actually made it out to explore Tokyo as I got sick from some combination of lack of sleep, jet lag, and mingling with people from all over the world.
Wednesday was also jam packed: After a bus ride to Gunma, I got to meet with the Japanese English teachers that I would be working with; they are the sweetest people! They drove me to city hall to do some paperwork, then to get my bank account, next to grab my luggage from the high school and introduce me to the principal and vice principal, then finally to my apartment in Takasaki. My landlady took pity on me, as I had been blowing my nose all day and probably looked like the walking dead, and drove me to the store to get some groceries and some medicine. Finally, I got to sleep. Glorious sleep! The next day, my predecessor helped me get on the train to my high school. I came home, went to sleep at 8pm. On Friday, I introduced myself in the limited Japanese that I have to all of the teachers at my high school. I have to give a speech in Japanese during my appointment ceremony and also during the larger school ceremony later.
Finally, on Saturday, I was feeling well enough to go out and explore. Saturday also happened to be the time that the Takasaki Matsuri festival was happening. I decided to try to meet up with some other JETs and watch the fireworks. I got lost along the way, but ended up getting some awesome pictures of some taiko drummers: