I’m finally in Japan! I've only been here two days and so much has already happened. The plane ride itself was okay... very long and very tedious... but our neighbors on the plane were pleasant enough and the food was good. I loved the clouds especially... masses and masses of cumulus clouds on the descent into Japan. At one point we passed the anvil of one. I’ve missed these sorts of cloud structures... California doesn’t have much variation with its perfect weather (haha!). So, overall, I actually enjoyed the flight over.
However, Immigration and Customs in Japan are another matter entirely. Our plane got in at 3pm, but by the time I was anywhere near an exit, it was already 5pm. Transportation to Sugamo took roughly another hour or so from Narita, but they have really amazing trains in Japan. While we were waiting to board, the seats swiveled automatically to allow a swifter cleaning of the train, and the train itself was impeccably clean. In fact, all of Tokyo is incredibly clean.
We arrived in Sugamo around 6pm, fully ready to just relax and take it easy for a few hours, but that was an impossibility. Despite my asking EAP on three separate occasions about Nicky staying with me, no red flags were raised until we actually arrived there at 6pm. The long and short of it was that they told Nicky that she couldn't stay in my room, but they had another room that she could rent for 5 nights. She's done that, and today she found and leased a beautiful room in Shinjuku (20 minutes away)- it's actually quite the deal. She's paying less than I am, for twice the space and a garden. It may turn out that I just spend the night at her place half the time instead of staying here. 84º and humid is not the most awesome weather to have while in a cramped room in Tokyo. Neither of us can wait until we're in Kyoto. The cities are just too hectic.
The night we flew in I had my first bar experience ever. I had a beer and some soju (Korean sake)... I didn't get buzzed though~ so at least I know I can drink casually here and not have any major side effects. Nicky has a really nice friend out here named Nao. Afterwards we pretty much crashed~ but, with the humidity, my night's sleep was restless to say the least.
Today was my placement test, which I did well on. Afterwards I finally got my phone activated. Japanese cellphones are so awesome. Even the cheapest brands here do much more than most phones in the U.S. I’m really excited about finally having one.
Tonight Nao invited us to go to the Festival of Light... it was a massive, one hour fireworks show on the canal... roughly ten thousand people were there, and the fireworks were super close. I got some video and pictures, but spent a majority of the time just watching them. It was really amazing. Very slowly, it's sinking in that I'm in Japan finally, and I'm loosening up to allow myself to enjoy the experience. I have this weird bite on my neck though, that has a three inch diameter of red around it I hope it goes away soon. That’s about all for now...