Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The beginning (A very good place to start!)

I wrote the following earlier in the day in a Word document because I didn't have an ethernet cable (you'll see why). Actually, I still don't, but I discovered a wifi connection that I can borrow until my suitcase arrives.

Well I’ve finally arrived at my dorm room, where I’ll be spending the next four months. It’s been a rather trying time, but I’m glad to finally be able to settle down a bit. I haven’t been able to really use a computer, so let’s start from the beginning.

I woke up bright and early at about 4:10 AM (EST) on the 22nd, did some last minute running around to assemble all my stuff, and got to the airport, where I met up with my friend and travel-buddy, Emil. When I was checking in, it turned out that my bag was way overweight (12 pounds—how did that happen?!), which pretty much set the tone for the whole rest of the trip over. After waiting wading through security and riding the new train system to our gate, we waited for about an hour, making one last stop at Five Guy’s for breakfast before getting on the short hop to Toronto. Because it was so small, there was no room for my violin in the overhead compartments, and they forced me to check it. Otherwise, the flight wasn’t awful, and we made it to Toronto with several hours of waiting ahead of us.

Not much to say about the Air Canada flight, other than it was long—about 13 hours long. We had plenty of leg room because the only tickets left when we were purchasing were the “premium” seats, which are basically glorified economy class. In fact, while it was nice to be able to stretch out a bit, we had to keep our carry-on bags stowed (there were not seats in front of us), making it annoying to pull out my laptop. Also, that extra leg room meant we had to reach extra far to use the touch screen in-flight entertainment system. It had a fairly wide selection, but I only watched Ninja Assassin on it before taking naps and taking out my laptop. The plus sides to the flight were being able to stow my violin in an overhead bin, the food, and the fact that the baby in the seat next to us was extremely well behaved and didn’t cry a single time.

The negative, was that they lost my suitcase.

We practically flew through immigration, but after waiting for quite some time at baggage claim (it felt like five or six hours, but I think it was probably closer to thirty or forty minutes), I noticed a woman holding up a sign with my name. She informed me that, for whatever reason, my suitcase didn’t come on the flight from Canada, and that they would ship it to my dorm on the 25th.


Fortunately, we didn’t have to brave Japan’s extensive train system just yet, as our mutual friend Shota Kikuoka met us with his mother, and took us to their home in Chiba. They were incredibly hospitable, and I can’t thank them enough. They prepared a feast for us for dinner that I regret being unable to eat more of. There was sushi, sashimi, some kind of soup-thing with meat and potatoes (and I think daikon radishes), karaage (which is like fried chicken), vegetable and shrimp tempura, and Mr. Kikuoka kept offering us more and more food. I tried some of everything, and loved it all. Shortly after dinner, I took a bath and, exhausted, went to bed.

After breakfast this morning, Mr. Kikuoka drove us to Chiba station and helped us get tickets for the first leg of the trip and to find our train. One thing that surprised me was that the touch screen in his car—which wasn’t too surprising, as I had one in my Prius—could actually display live TV—which was very surprising. Anyway, we took that train to Musashi-Kosugi Station, where we made our way to the Tokyu-Toyoko line, which we rode until Hiyoshi station. We got off, figured out the way we needed to go, and began the trek through a light rain to the dorm. Along the way, we ran into a young lady who is staying at the same place who introduced herself as Joanna. As it turns out, she is from Toronto University, and was on the same flight with us—what a coincidence!

Finally at the dorm, we checked in without hassle and got instructions on how to deal with the various items in the dorm (trash collection, utilities fees, and so on). Emil managed to lock his key in his room somehow, right off the bat.


More exciting, but less humorous, was when I opened my violin case just a few moments ago, to discover that my bridge broke somewhere in transit. I suspect it happened when the lovely folks at United put it in the bottom of the plane on the first leg of the trip, but I can’t say for sure. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a place that can make me a new bridge soon!

On a lighter note, Japanese bedding is ridiculous. I really wish they’d given us a manual for this. I don’t want to embarrass myself by going into details, but suffice to say that I never imagined that I could feel like this big of an idiot trying to make my bed

That finally brings me to now. In just a few moments, I think Emil and I are going to try to find our way to Kohoku Ward Office to do our Alien Registration. The sooner the better on this one, because we’ll need this to open a bank account and get a cell phone—both crucial items! Also, we’re required to do it within 14 days, but my priority lies with the phone.

I think that does it for now. Until next time!

1 comment:

  1. Well, it sure sounds like you are having an adventure! I'm sure someone can direct you to a violin repair shop so you can get your baby fixed! Daniel without an musical outlet just won't do! Love you baby brother and I'm so unbelievably proud of you!