The title says it all! I was up about 7 AM this morning but had a full night's sleep. I wrote out a nice post on my iPod to share once I found WiFi but I can't seem to get connected with it to post both that and my airplane experiences. I may have to bring in my laptop and connect with it to transfer the posts. I might go back to the counter to see if they can work with me on getting connected, but they don't seem to speak English and I don't speak Japanese!
Training was exactly what I would expect it to be on the first day. We learned a basic overview of the company and it's structure and an overview of the teaching methodology and concepts. The great thing at the end of the day was the receiving of our apartment and schedule information!
It appears that I'll be living about two stations north of the school's location. My school is located next to or very near the Shin-Koshigaya station, but I will be a two minute walk from the Kita-Koshigaya station. This means a commute of approximately 15 minutes - a short walk to the station, a short train ride, and a short walk to the school. At least I don't have to worry about the cold weather too much! This is even closer to transit than I had in San Francisco, and I should be very close to the action as far as nearby restaurants and stores.
My apartment will be about seven tatami mats in size with no loft (I wanted a loft, but it's not like I can ask for one). Of course, it has a small kitchen and bathroom and a small closet. It looks like I have a balcony as well! I'll be sure to bring you pictures and/or video as soon as I move in. I was hoping to bring you pictures of my room at the training center but I can't do that without wifi access.
After the half-day training session, we headed out to a curry restaurant (really delicious!) and then I bought my SUICA card (more on that later) and headed to Akihabara.
I won't get into too much detail. We didn't spend a lot of time there - we walked about 550m each way down the main street. There were maids everywhere (I'll eventually tell you about them) and plenty of electronics and anime shops. It's a bit tamer than I expected but I know I can spend at least a full day there and find several stores and other places to explore. We didn't even start to look down the alleyways. I played a drum game with a couple of my training mates (fun but challenging!) and we looked in a DVD/video game shop (live action Sailor Moon! For only about the equivalent of $150!) and checked out an anime book store (again - the training mates are into this stuff). Anime isn't really my thing but I have enjoyed a few of the dubbed movies. Again, a couple pictures will follow once I can get some wifi, though taking photographs inside most of the stores is not allowed.
It's nearly 8:30 PM here, and we have homework and we haven't had dinner yet. So far, I'm excited! It's early in my experience, though. I haven't had a jet lag problem or any real trouble communicating but I know the time will come when Elizabeth's phrase book will come in handy and I will still have trouble.
Words I kind of learned (spelling may not be accurate):
sumi maisen - sorry
origato - thank you
hai - yes
Plus, I can count 1-5, 8, 11-15, and 18. I'm slowly picking up a little language! I don't have much opportunity to speak or learn much because my training mates do most of the talking for me, though we do little spot lessons here and there. And I have no idea what anybody is saying. But it will come in time. Everyone I've talked to (who came from America, etc) said they started without any language skills and they do pretty well now.