(Originally written: August 5, 2013)
What a loooong day.
There are three of us who are sharing a room in the hotel: N, a fellow Atlantic JET; K, a JET from Ontario, Canada; and me. They always say that room assignments at Tokyo Orientation are random, but seeing as the three of us are from Canada and are all going to the Tohoku area of Japan, I don’t know how random it really is, hah! Our alarm went off at 6am and we showered and dressed in our suits before heading down for breakfast at 7:30am.
At 9am, we went to the largest room in the hotel where the Opening Ceremonies were being held. We sat by prefecture, so I got to meet my fellow Group B Akita JETs for the first time. We had an hour to get to know everyone and speak with a Prefectural Advisor (PA), who was telling us about our schools, etc., before the formal speeches started at 10am. Bleh. At 11am, the keynote speech started. I was almost dreading it because I was exhausted by this point – they seriously made us sit and listen to speeches when we were all sooo tired from travelling?! But I was wrong – the keynote speech actually woke me up! Steve gave a great presentation about culture shock and incorporated so many funny anecdotes and actions into his speech that we were all roaring with laughter. He really was a great speaker!
Then it was lunch time! … which was incredibly underwhelming. Oh well.
There was one more set of speeches at 1:15pm, this time geared at ALTs as they described the basics of the Japanese school system. At 3pm, the workshops started. On the first day, I did Elementary School Visits for ALTs, Troubleshooting in the Classroom, and Skill Development for ALTs. Each workshop was 45 minutes in length with a 15 minute break in between that was used to either drink as much water as physically possible while running from one room to the next or waiting 10 minutes for the elevator to the 43rd floor… By the time we got to the third workshop at 5pm, I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. Soooo tiiiirreeeddd.
There was a 45 minute break between the last workshop and the Welcome Reception, so I went up to my room to wash my face before heading back down. The Reception featured a kanpai (a cheers) and a delicious buffet. I met and talked with more of the Akita JETs until the reception finished at 8pm.
Even though I was exhausted, I didn’t want to waste my time in Tokyo, so I changed and went downstairs to the lobby where I stumbled upon A, one of my Atlantic friends. I tagged along with her and her friend, S, who lives in Tokyo. S took us to a lovely restaurant where we ate even more food! I tried horse sashimi for the first time, too – it was surprisingly good!
Then, because no night out in Japan is complete without Purikura, S took us to an arcade. Purikura was so much fun! It’s like a Canadian photobooth, but even better. Once inside the booth, a screen prompts you which poses you should do. After you’ve finished your poses, you get to edit the pictures, then select your favourite, which are then e-mailed to your phone. So much fun!
It’s almost midnight and I’m finally ready for bed. Tomorrow is another long day of workshops… I hope I can stay awake this time!