Archive | July, 2012

Arrived in Tokyo!

31 Jul

I apologize for the short and late post in advance; Tokyo Orientation has been intense and all consuming, and tomorrow, I head out to my placement, where I probably won’t be able to get internet for upwards of a month.  But I did want to post to say that I have arrived and am safe in Tokyo!  Some highlights of my Tokyo experience so far have been seeing the Tokyo Sky Tree on the way to the hotel from the airport, going to the Lawson, and, of course, grabbing curry from Coco Ichibanya with my friend C from my time in Japan during fall of 2010.  Image

They’ve also treated us to delicious food here at the hotel, including a really extensive banquet for the first night reception.  It was “Chinese” food as far as I could tell (the Japanese variety rather than the American), and it was delicious, especially the deserts.  The spread was really beautiful, ranging from cakes to tarts to puddings, and I was tempted to try one of everything despite the fact that I’m not even a sweets person.  They had a fruit tart that was delicious, and a matcha or Japanese green tea flavored cake that was amazing.  They also gave us free beer of a brand I had never tried before, and it was quite enjoyable!

ImageMost of the time, I’ve been in various panels, and am incredibly jet-lagged and sleep deprived, but one thing I have been enjoying is Japanese TV!  I’ve been able to see some of the Olympic events that might not be shown in America, as well as some music shows and variety programs featuring groups I like.  I’m quite the fan of a few j-pop groups, so I’m enjoying finally being able to see them on TV!  I’m looking forward to getting a little more time to figure out the TV schedule and figure out when the shows I wish I could watch in the US are on TV here.

I know this isn’t quite a whole post, but I’m exhausted and tomorrow, I’ll be whisked away to Gunma, where, as I mentioned, I’ll be without internet for anywhere from 2 to 5 weeks.  Though I have a prepaid phone, I won’t be able to sign a contract (and therefore get a phone with a data plan) until after I’ve gotten my residence card, which, I’m told, should come to me in about 2 weeks.  It’s the same situation for internet, but without the instant gratification of being able to use it right away since there’s a long set-up process involved, so it will be at least two weeks until I can use the internet from a smartphone and more until I’ll have internet on my computer.  I may be able to use internet cafes or something of the like, but I’m not sure at the moment.  I’ll do my best to keep this blog up to date, but in a worst case scenario, I’ll update with photos and more stories from orientation when I get internet again!

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Pre-departure Orientation

28 Jul

Today I rose at the crack of dawn (7 am; this is beyond early for me) to head to New York for pre-departure orientation.  I drove my beloved car (a periwinkle 2010 Honda Fit called Prissy) one last time to a friend’s  house, and it was a bittersweet parting… with my mother and sister, who had come to bid me farewell, as well as with the vehicle in question.  But after goodbyes were said, it was time to put my bags into my friend (S)’s mother’s minivan and trek off to New York.

I’ve been incredibly lucky through the JET application process that my friend’s parents own a small apartment in New York that they’ve let us use every time we’ve needed to come to New York for JET.  Finding lodgings would have made the whole ordeal ten times more stressful, so I’m eternally grateful for being put up.  Even better yet, the apartment is only 2 blocks from The Nippon Club, where pre-departure events are held.  Because of the close proximity, walking time necessary to get to orientation was minimal, and we arrived at the apartment in time to grab a bite to eat and get changed at our leisure.  We also met up with a third friend, J, who is sleeping over with us tonight in the apartment, as well.
Fed and clothed, we headed to the orientation, where we received our passports back (nothing like spending a month without your passport, hoping that it hasn’t gotten lost somewhere in the bureaucracy) along with an envelope of odds and ends from the travel agency– special luggage tags, a JET identification sticker, a card to hand to the CLAIR associates on arrival in order to redeem our bus tickets, etc.  The departure process was explained in great and painstaking detail by various people and questions were asked by JET participants before, an hour later, we were dismissed.

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After the orientation was a farewell reception being hosted by the Japanese ambassador.  We freshened up before hopping a cab uptown to the ambassador’s residence, which was swanky.  There was a live koto player and delicious food, and we spoke to a variety of alums, 2012 JETs, and guests from Japan.  All in all, it was a wonderful party, with words of support from the ambassador, a JET alum, and someone from the 2012 New York JET group.  The opportunity to talk with more people in our departing “class” (if you will) as well as reacquaint ourselves with people we had met at the pre-departure seminar in June was fantastic.

However, we were all tired from stress and traveling, and so as the party began to wrap up, we headed back to the apartment.  Time for final preparations and rest– we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow!

♪ いってきます ♪

27 Jul

As of tonight, I’m completely packed and ready to head out.  Tomorrow, I’ll be in New York City, the next day, on a plane to Tokyo.  The next day will begin Tokyo Orientation, then by the end of the week I’ll be in Kiryu, Gunma, getting ready to start as an ALT with the JET Programme.

But before my new journey living in Japan and teaching English begins, a little about me:

  • I’m Miranda
  • Half Chinese, half white American (mostly Scandinavian), making me ~Scandanasian!
  • 17 years of ballet experience
  • AB in East Asian Studies and Dance from Bryn Mawr College (Anassa kata, Mawrtyrs!)
  • Studied abroad in Tokyo in fall of 2010
  • Deep and passionate love for makeup, fashion, and shoes
  • Writer of fiction
  • Currently a fan of Johnny’s bands including Arashi, Hey! Say! JUMP, and Kis-My-Ft2
  • Interest in Japanese small theatre
  • Enjoys teaching dance
  • Hopes to one day get a PhD in some form of Japanese studies

For now, that’s me in a nutshell!  よろしくお願いします〜 Tomorrow, off to new adventures!