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Journals from Kanto Gakuin University

2008-08-29 First Weeks Discoveries

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Some of the exchange students before going out for an evening stroll.

The week before travel was a little insane and a little boring. I was done with work, done with classes and had nothing to keep me busy, while at the same time feeling like I had way too much to do to get ready for Japan. I managed to get everything that I thought I would need along with gifts for my buddy and host families all packed up in a reasonable state so nothing was overweight and I could carry everything I needed. I headed off to Portland on Tuesday and spent the night at a Marriott by the Airport with Kyle and Dane. We went into Portland to wander around and have dinner. It was great fun. We woke up early to catch a shuttle into the airport and waited for the rest of the group. Both flights were delayed. From Portland to San Fran it was just a minor delay, but in San Fran they had us switch gates and then had to clean and change crews and do safety checks, putting us about an hour behind schedule. The flight took somewhere around 12 hours. Much sleeping and reading and watching movies was done. Finally they announced that we were nearing our destination and Dane and I spent the next 20 minutes looking out the window anticipating our first sight of Japanese soil. Of course it was only a few minutes before we landed that we were actually able to see anything. But either way it was amazing and so exciting. We got through customs pretty quickly and without anyone being searched. We were met outside by some of our KGU buddies and brought all our luggage out to our bus. We had to return inside for about an hour because there were a few more students we had to wait for. During that time we wandered around and mangled together some communications. Finally everyone was there and we got on the bus for a long ride to Hayama Seminar House. There was a brief stop for food and I had some Katsudon on rice. At HSH we were shown to our rooms and left to our own devices for the rest of the night. We were all exhausted, but most of us unpacked our stuff and got online to check and send emails before giving into exhaustion and going to bed. In the morning I got up and looked out my window and saw a huge spider spinning its web. It was pretty cool, but I had to steal a picture from Dane because the light was not doing what I wanted it to. We were given a delicious breakfast of omelet, salad, potato salad, toast and sausage. After that we went to meet our buddies and do a bit of Orientating. During this time we went over a bit of what we needed to know along with rules and all that general information that one should know in polite company. We had to go and fill out some paperwork so we wouldn't get in trouble for sticking around in Japan. After that we had a quick lunch of a deep sort of fried chicken, mashed potatoes with salmon eggs, a fruit that was crunchy like an apple but not as sweet, and some rice. Then we got up and went for a walk around town. We literally are a 5-minute walk from the beach and the water is wonderful and warm. There's a post office nearby, a Starbucks (yes it will [probably] only be used for emergency homesick feelings ^^) and a supermarket, which was our last stop. We bought a few necessary items and some foodstuffs for breakfast and dinner. I found some ramen and rice for dinner and quickfix oatmeal and some raisins for breakfast (which I had with hot chocolate from home.) At this point we went upstairs to the tatami room for a party with our buddies and some fun games which challenged our Japanese. After that grand adventure our buddies left us once again for the evening and some of us braver souls decided to go for a walk. We wandered around town and were going to head to the beach even though it was getting dark. We turned back because some of us were getting hungry, and low and behold it began to rain. It didn't start slowly either, it was a sudden rush of drops plopping down on our heads. Anyway, I'll leave it at that for today. We're heading off soon to have lunch with some of our buddies and do some more shopping, looking for alarm clocks and cell phones and other useful items of the sort. Krista Fehr

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