Tokyo Orientation!

7 Aug

ImageAfter the long break, I return!  I’m currently in the process of trying to apply for internet, but I went ahead and got a smartphone with tethering, which I’m happily using in the short term.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to catch up to the present now that I’ve been rejoined with my main form of international communication!

Upon landing in Tokyo last Sunday evening, all of the new JETs were whisked through Narita airport with amazing consistency– JET must have had a staff of around 100 people in total who were shepherding and assisting new JETs from customs to the chartered busses– and onto busses en route for the Keio Plaza hotel in Shinjuku.  The bus ride, as I had experienced once before during my time studying abroad, was incredibly dragged out due to congested highways during rush hour, but we finally made it to the hotel, were told to fend for ourselves, and were expected to be at breakfast at 7:00 am the next morning.

These were high expectations for a large group of highly jet-lagged people, but sure enough, I managed to get some small amount of sleep and drag myself to breakfast the following morning.  After some delicious french fries and hot dog-like sausages (seemingly the Keio Plazas take on a Western breakfast), we all shuffled to the main ballroom area, which was all decked out for the JET programme with a giant banner and flags of the various countries whose citizens were attending that orientation.  The room was full of chairs, each with the name of a prefecture on the back, arranged from north to south.  The whole setup had clearly taken someone a lot of time to put together, and I was quite impressed.

ImageAfter making it to the Gunma section with friend S, who was placed in the same town as I was, we were met by a friendly ALT from Gunma who gave us some information before the orientation opening ceremonies began.  Representatives from the various Japanese ministries that are associated with the JET programme gave speeches, and the whole thing was a very formal affair.  However, afterwards, the orientation began, and we were overwhelmed with information, handouts, and choices of panels to visit in the afternoon.

All in all, my main feeling about Tokyo Orientation was how exhausting it was, but I learned a lot and got some interesting information.  However, they kept us busy the whole time, and on top of the jet lag, I spent most of the time I wasn’t in panels sleeping, so I was unable to get out into the city much.  Hopefully S and I will have a chance to venture out of Gunma and back to Tokyo for fun sometime in the future!

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