私は無事に日本に来ました！I have safely arrived in Japan! I am so happy to be back in such an awe-inspiring place as an ESL teacher! As soon as I got off the plane, I bought some kelp onigiri from Sky Mart and made my way to the Narita View Hotel where I stayed the night. I started off my morning by hiking to the Oyama shrine and praying to the local Shiisaa deity for safe travels.
Unfortunately I did not get a chance to explore much of Narita outside of the shrine and running on the nature trails because I had to meet a Nichii Gakkan company representative at 16:00. After showering and playing a few rounds of Persona 4 Dancing All Night on my Vita, I made my way back to the airport to meet the representative and three other English instructors who had just arrived like myself. We briefly introduced one another. Two of them were from Canada, and one was from LA. All of us were jet-lagged, but we talked about our experiences abroad very avidly. Two of the people I met placed scored an N2 on the JLPT, and all of us were pretty much fresh out of college and very motivated for this position. Thanks to studying 4 years of Japanese, we were easily able to navigate our way to the Daiichi Hotel in Kashiwa where the company booked our stay to the night. After dropping off our luggage in our rooms, we decided to get 夜ご飯 (dinner)!
As a die-hard sushi fanatic, I naturally was drawn to the kaiten sushi restaurant. Because there were not many vegetarian options, I ate 4 plates of tamago (egg) nigiri and drank green tea that was on the house. I found it easy to converse with the waiters and chefs. They laughed at how much I liked egg and I remarked that I am an extremely picky eater. As a vegetarian, I am used to this but am always willing to try new things. The service was incredible and I am so delighted to be able to eat authentic sushi again! After finishing our delicious meal, we made our way to the Taito Game Station where I played a couple rounds of Persona 4 Arena and Pokemon Tekken.
The Taito Game Station was three floors and featured a bingo and pachinko section on the top floor geared towards older gamers. The first and second floor contained claw and arcade games. I was enthralled to see some of the American console games I love (such as BlazBlue and the Arc System fighting games) available to play in arcade form! One of my fellow instructors had never been inside a Japanese arcade before so he was like a kid in a candy store as he gazed at the light-up screens, Purika photo booths, and multi-colored lights. This brought me back to when I first visited a Taito Station closer to Tokyo in the summer of 2013. I am excited to feel more nostalgia as well as make new memories on this journey!
Today was definitely an experience that made me feel welcome and happy to be here with such an opportunity. Tomorrow I am beginning my training to become an English Instructor at one of the training schools in Shin-Kashiwa. I am excited to learn and hopefully explore more of Tokyo once my training is finished! I am also excited to write more about Nichii Gakkan as there doesn’t currently seem to be a lot of blogs about it. So far I have had a wonderul time and look forward to writing again soon!