Sunday, August 2, 2009

My First Few Days in Fukuoka

It's been a truly crazy week, but somehow I survived and I THINK I'm almost over my jet-lag. I can already tell that Fukuoka is going to be a great place to live. It actually feels similar to Kyoto- I think because the buildings are pretty low, the crowds on the sidewalks aren't packed, and there are oodles of people riding bicycles. There is also often a wind off of the sea, so even in this stinking hot, miserably humid weather, there is usually a refreshing breeze.

So what have I been up to... There isn't a lot to say about Tokyo orientation because most of it involved sitting/listening/trying not to fall asleep from exhaustion. It was also not my first time in Tokyo. And I'm still not even sure if I like Tokyo. But anyways, S came to pick me up and we hopped on a plane to Fukuoka on Wednesday morning. I couldn't believe how easy it was to check my suitcase and get through security at Haneda. No removal of shoes, no wrestling my laptop out of its case. I think it took about 30 seconds to get all the way through. How civilized!

That afternoon I dropped all my stuff off and went to work to do official greetings, or aisatsu. They were pretty terrifying, but I got through them fine. I had only slept about three hours the night before, and it wasn't an official work day for me, so I went back to the hotel and slept for about 10 hours.

Thursday, I shadowe my pred and he explained that my day-to-day stuff will primarily involve translation. I imagine it will get tedious at times, but I also know it's going to be really great for my Japanese, as well as my writing skills. He also explained everything that's necessary for the Hakata Dontaku International Troup, of which I will be the head organizer. I will start the preparations at the beginning of the new year, and they will continue until the festival is over at the beginning of May. Wow. It's going to be a lot of work, but hopefully quite rewarding too :)

Friday, we walked around the whole day with the visiting high school kids from O-land. It was nice to get to see some of the city, though I wasn't wearing proper shoes (not fun). There was farewell party in the evening, and after that my section went out to an Okinawan restaurant to wind down. I didn't stay terribly long because I was once again quite exhausted, but I hope that's the last time I have to leave early by a long shot. Everyone is so kind, and being with them is very comfortable.

I'm feeling a nap coming on, so I will leave you with this photo of my lovely new cellphone, which I was able to procure all by myself. It's an "old" (spring) model, so intead of paying it off every month (an extra $30-40 to your phone bill), I don't have to pay anything for it. It's very cute and easy to use, though I'm still getting used to some of its functions. Anyways, I'm in love!


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