Arrival and After

This is my second post since leaving America. See the previous one here.

Surprisingly, I’ve arrived. Immigration into Japan wasn’t as hard as I originally thought. I’ve never really had to go through the procedure before, so I had all kinds of crazy ideas about some two meter tall Japanese security guard pulling me into a dark room with an unsteady lamp swinging overhead asking me what I was doing studying Japanese in Japan, of all places. Of course, it wasn’t like that – the line was worse than the actual inspection, and the line wasn’t that bad.

Upon arrival, I found my checked luggage, which I kind of gambled on. I took the same airlines for the last two flights, and meant to ask the person who checked the luggage if I should re-check it at the first destination… but I forgot. So, I assumed they would move it, didn’t check, and went onward. Not the smartest decision I’ve ever made, but it worked out in the end when I found my luggage waiting for me at my destination.

Also waiting for me at my destination were the people from the college I’ll be studying at – Kansai Gaidai. (Gaidai is an abbreviation of gaikokugo daigaku, meaning foreign language university. Kansai is the region it’s located in.) The staff picked us up and drove us to the dorms that we’d be staying in – or so I thought. The van, filled with 10 or so people, stopped at the campus, and everyone got off, but I (and only I) was quickly called back. Because I’m participating in a homestay program (where a family from Japan hosts me for my stay here), I get to go to another building.

Before I continue, I want to emphasize a rather odd point: Japan is packed. Packed, not necessarily as in crowded with people (although it can be that too at times), but as in packed sand compared to regular sand. Everything here seems designed to fit the most stuff in the least amount of space possible. A good majority of the cars seem to be snub-nosed, as if they crashed head-on into an unmoving wall, but instead of having damage and scratches, their front just kind of… compressed. There’s no one story buildings here – I can’t recall seeing a single one. Instead, every house has its little tiny corner that it’s packed into, surrounded by a small wall or fence, and is at least 2 stories, even if it’s something like a convenience store, which I’d never expect to have two stories in the US.

They’re all like this – blunt. Although I’m pretty sure this picture was taken in America – no way a parking lot in Japan has that much space for the cars driving in and out.

The good thing about this packing, though, is that it means that things are usually close together. The drive to the second stop wasn’t long – just a few minutes, and then I came to where I’m staying now, something along the lines of Station House 4. Upon arrival, I was given quite the packet from the people at the front desk, and this packet contained tons of paperwork. Reading it all took well over an hour, but I finally managed to settle down for the night. The room was simple, and had a futon and blankets rather than a more-western bed.

The pillow was like a rock, though.

2020-02-05T09:00:00

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