Tuesday, March 30, 2010

First Super Long Post of Chaos

First off, I apologize for not blogging sooner, but its been an extremely busy couple first days, and my internet is not working. I'm actually doing this from Stephanie's computer.

So, the first day/night was very overwhelming. I highly do not recommend taking a flight over to Japan unless its in first class. Don't get me wrong, the small LCD screens kept me occupied for about the first four hours, but after that, we still had another eight hours to go. I was sitting (quite closely) between two other men while Stephanie sat in the seat behind me. Luckily they spoke a little bit of broken english, but I only found this out because I looked completely stupid as I tried to play with the remote control for my tv for about twenty minutes. The guy to my left told me that it wouldn't start working until we actually took off. Duh. We ate two meals on the flight, one was a rice bowl called bimbimbop which was pretty good, except the stewardess kept talking to me in Korean, so I eventually just kept nodding until there was food/drink on my tray.

By the time we got to Korea, our brains were already fried. We had to go through security in chicago and korea, but by then we were pros at the whole thing. The flight to Fukuoka was a breeze compared to the 12 hour flight to Korea. Getting to the bus from the Fukuoka airport was also very easy, and we met our first friend named Lisa from France. On the bus, Steph and I passed out the entire two hour ride there, thank god, since we really were only able to get about a total of three hours sleep on the plane.

When we got to APU, it was very cold and windy. We were given our rooms and met our RAs and then were given a small tour of our building. I ended up getting a single room, and Steph got a shared room. I am actually very happy with the way my rooming turned out. My RAs name is Kaoru and she is Taiwanese. She is super cute and has the highest pitched voice I have ever heard in my life. She speaks pretty good english, but she was having some problems so i told her to just fill in the blanks with Japanese and I could still follow it. I will put up pictures later. Afterwards, I unpacked, running on adrenaline, and then passed out the moment my head hit my tiny, bean bag of a pillow.

Yesterday was the shopping tour and we went down to Beppu Station where they showed us the 100 yen shop (1$) and the grocery store. It was about a good twenty minute bus ride down a tremendously curvy road to the city, and yes, I immediately thought of DK's Mountain, Brian, from Tokyo Drift. That's how curvy and high up it was. By the way, our campus is BEAUTIFUL. We are way high up in the mountains, and the view is absolutely AMAZING.

Anyway, shopping was interesting and the city was very cool to walk through. We met a Korean girl named Angelina and we hit it off right away. She speaks exceptionally great english, so we were already able to joke around and stuff. We made more friends with a couple Korean girls and another Japanese girl. They were so impressed by the fact that we could drive and had our own cars. I told them we could drive when we were 16, and showed them my license picture. They were super impressed because the age in Korea for driving is 20, and they have to take hard classes.

Here are some scenes from the city.

The shopping tour took about 5 hours, and by the time we got back, we went to the cafeteria and ate. I have concluded that nobody in the Cafeteria speaks english, so it was very difficult to find what to eat. When in doubt, we are just pointing and nodding and then saying Arigato Gozaimasu.

Today was Alien Registration day, and it took a long time. We met a couple guys from L.A. and New Mexico and another guy from Mexico. So far we have met a handful of people from the States, but mostly from Korea and Thailand. We signed up for our inkan or stamps which are used as signatures instead of actually signing, and then headed out for lunch. I ended up with a rice bowl with runny eggs and onion and mushrooms, then I tried what looked like a squash side dish but was really bad and mushy. So far, the food isn't that bad, but I have not been super impressed with my choices. Hopefully dinner will be better luck. I did however, show off my super skills of Japanese and helped out a girl from sweden order her food. I explained to her what I was getting and told the chefs to give her a small bowl rather than a big bowl. She was so happy that I helped her out because she said she was standing there for a long time with no idea of what to do. Go me.

So far I've been treated like I'm a domestic student which has been very funny to me, but the trick is to greet people in English if I can, and they will most likely switch to english. However, I tend to greet in Japanese, and then they go off in it and I have to smile and quickly say, "Ah! Sumimasen, Amerika-jin desu!"

Tomorrow is Orientation and i get to sign up for classes. I'm not too worried, but I think once I get there I will start freaking out. oh well. I apologize if my next post isn't for a little while, only because my days are really busy getting everything ready. I'll post more pictures up too once my internet works. My internal clock is still all screwy, and I've been feeling kind of nauseous lately, hopefully it will all be okay though for tomorrow. I miss everybody at home already, but keeping busy has been helping out.

Until next time!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pre-Departure Rant

Well, there is officially five more days of life here in glorious America. So far, the freak-out-melt-down-time has been at a rather low occurrence, but I'm guessing that come Thursday, I'll be riding the Loopy Bus to Crazy Town.

Anyway, packing has been slowly coming along and things are starting to finally feel like its actually happening. I've been having my high moments of absolute optimism and then my lower moments of uncertainty and doubt, but those are becoming less and less frequent. It helps that I can use my final week here as quality time with each of my family members individually. Saturday was reserved for Alex and his family, to which I enjoyed a splendid meal of steak and other delicious cooking. Sunday, Brian and Meagan treated me out to my favorite restaurant, Osaka's, and we were able to talk about my trip. Tuesday is reserved for a movie with Dad and a possible trip to the bookstore. Wednesday is Kayla Time where we plan on staying in and catching up on some intense bouts of Mario Kart and other video games. Afterwards, I'm heading on down to Detroit to visit Roni and say my goodbyes to some of the BFC. Thursday and Friday, I'm making final touches on the suitcase extravaganza, final quality time with the family before my early wake up call on Saturday morning.

My flight leaves at 10 am from Detroit to Chicago. From Chicago, its an approximate 13 hour flight to Seoul, South Korea. From the Korean airport its another 2 1/2 hour flight to Fukuoka, Japan. Oh, but that's not all. From the airport in Japan, Steph and I are taking a bus to the University which is about another 2 hours. In other words, I'm planning on looking gorgeous when I make my entrance into the University.

I've been taking in a lot of silly cultural things lately, such as reading billboard signs and feeling comfortable walking in the mall by myself. I'm going to miss driving, and my cell phone, and being able to just flush a toilet normally without having to adjust the pressure of a bidet. I'm going to miss meat, and chicken, and probably even forks. But its okay, I know that I'll probably forget about half of these things when I'm over there, because I'll be struggling to read market signs and swallowing octopus dumplings down my throat.

So for now, I am going to just take one day at a time and enjoy the last few days with my family and friends, and work on my ever-growing fight with understanding Kanji (Japanese writing system).

Until I'm half-way across the world,