Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Misadventures of Rob #ReloadFULL EP2

Hey all! Its thursday right now at about 4:45 (prolly a lot later by the time i finish). I last left off tuesday morning (btw im typing from someone elses computer, so this may be shorter than usual).

Tuesday as I said, I woke up early. Went down and had some breakfast and hung out with some guys for a bit. Then at about 9:00, we went to the room where the first speech was. The guy who did the speech was a Japanese guy who was super random, and would make random references about strange things in the middle of his speech (he was speaking English). It was pretty entertaining, and while not so informative, it was still a pretty good speech. That was only a half hour long, so it went from 9:10 - 9:40. Then there was a "Panel Discussion" where they asked 4 guys to talk about stuff. They were all kinda boring, but the last guy, even tho we were scheduled to finish at 11, he was like "IM GOING OVER" which is kind of annoying. The thing is, it's not like any of the information was helpful, in fact, that guy ended up just talking about his name and how to remember his name, and did a lot of talking about himself and it ended up just not going so well, but it also went into our break. After that, we had a workshop based off the grade we're teaching, so I went to the junior high workshop. It was a LITTLE bit informative, but overall it wasn't anything special, and not worth the time. And of course, since the thing before ended late, that started late, and we were all late for lunch. Then lunch rolls around, and its kinda gross, but i eat it and head back to my room for a bit. The cleaning lady ended up showing up when I was in there, so I was like "uhh..." and I left cause its weird being there when she's doing her job.

After that, the 2nd half of the junior high teaching thing was there, and when I got there, it ended up just being the guy trying to teach us a game that was more trouble than it was worth. It was poorly run, and so I just left, cause it was absolutely useless, and waste of my valuable time in Shinjuku. I walked outside for a bit, and then came back, and all the people in Hyogo (the prefecture I live in) had our prefectural meeting. There, we ended up just getting a bit of information about how we're getting to our place and stuff. That was short and to the point, which was good. After that, I went to one on Japanese Etiquitte for beginners, and it was actually pretty good, compartively. A lot of the stuff I knew, but there was some stuff that was like "oh yeah" as a good refresher. Granted, etiquitte isnt set in stone, so different people react differently, and some realize youre a foreigner born in a society with different etiquitte, but it was still helpful nonetheless. After that, I went back upstairs, packed my suitcase, and got everything ready for shipping off. I shipped off my suitcase, and went out.

After going out, I stopped by Joybox, nobody was playing. Went to Club Sega, nobody was playing. So i walked to the station and debated going to Akihabara, and while I was looking at the map, this old guy came up to me and was like "Do you know where you're going", and I said I was fine, and he kept standing there, so I just left. I walked around the other side of shinjuku that I wasnt on, stopped by any video game store that was there, stopped by any arcades, played a few random games and stuff. Stopped by a couple bookstores, etc. Anything fun, I went into. After a bit, I was getting tired, so I went back to the station. By that time it was like, 7PM, so i figured by the time i got to Akihabara, all the shops would be closed, and if im just gonna play at arcades all night, might as well check out joybox again. So i headed back over there. Lo and behold, people were playing, so I started playing. Slowly and surely, more people showed up, and eventually, Tanekichi (i think), one of the SBO qualifiers, as well as a bunch of other REALLY good players showed up. I was playing those guys a lot, and i had a blast. Even if I was losing, it wasnt FREE, so I was happy. I started getting better near the end of the night I felt, and sticking to Petra really helped me out a lot. After that, I said bye to them and headed back home and went to bed.

Wed morning at like, 5:45, I woke up, went on the comp for a bit, showered, and checked out of our room. Me and some friends had breakfast and then headed down to the room where we needed to be because we were leaving at 9:00. We got to the room and got on some buses and headed to Tokyo station. It was pretty close, so we got there quick. The hard part was that I had my laptop bag, and my other small bag, and i had to carry both. My laptop is heavy, and i had a buncha papers and stuff in there, so it was EXTREMELY heavy to carry for a long period of time. After a lot of walking through the station, we made it to our platform. We got some food, and got on the shinkansen (bullet train). On the other side of our train was a high school group of girls on a dance team or something. They were kinda laughing a bunch and interested in the group of foreigners, so that was kinda funny. After 2 and a half hours of boredom on there, we got off at Osaka station. From there, it was about and hour 10 minutes to the hyogo education center. There, one of my two suitcases was there, and so I picked that up and Miki-san, the person in charge of us ALT's picked us up and took us to the education center, which was about 15 minutes from that place, luckily. Some people had to drive for a few hours to get to their place. It still took forever to get there, seeing as how we left at 9:00ish and got there around 3:30. After that at the education center, we met the superintendent of the education system for our town and a few other people.

After the interrogation session, I got my other suitcase and we got driven to the apt where all the jets but me and one other girl live. Since I'm staying with Nick (who's letting me use his comp atm) I got dropped off there, too. It was only a few minutes to drive there. After that, we headed on over to the dept store called Sati, which is like, a 10 minute walk from the apts. It pretty much has everything. A clothes store, laundry place (with actual GOOD DRYERS for cheap, and fabric softener sold in single use packets), food court with a Mr Donuts, McDonalds, KFC, Baskin Robbins, as well as quite a few japanese places. There's a grocery store section, a dollar store at the top, a small video game area, a small arcade with taiko drum master, mario kart, and stuff like that, a toy area, an electronics area, a music store, appliances. Pretty much everything i would need ever for my apt can be bought there, as well as quite a few other things. On the way there are two video game/used book stores. So after walking around there, we headed back. I watched some Japanese TV and all the JETs headed out for a night eating Okonomiyaki (if you dont know what it is search it in google). I ended up ordering yakisoba (fried noodles with some meat) and we had a good meal. It was fun, and there was a group of high school students there that were students of one of the other ALTs there, which was funny. After that, I went back and passed out on Nick's couch, prolly around 10:45.

Thursday I woke up around 7:30. Went on Nick's computer a bit, showered, etc, and headed to the board of education. There, we filled out forms for our alien registration card, and we opened a Japanese Bank Account (which i deposited 23,000 yen (about 230 bucks) into). We signed our contract and recieved a hanko (a private stamp that has our name on it, used for signing documents or whatever). After that, we went to the post office atm, and i got 50,000 yen for backup $$$. We went back to the education center and found out that I get to move in tomorrow around 5:30 instead of on Monday, which is a lot more convenient. I don't know what I'm doing tonite, I might go out, we'll see. Overall tho, my situation here is awesome, rooms are pretty big for one person, got a lot of stuff taken care of, a lot of stuff is close, and once I move in and get settled, things will be a lot better. Still plan on going to Osaka for the weekend...dunno when the next update will be, cause I dont know when Ill have internet next, but we'll see I guess.

-Rob

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Misadventures of Rob #ReloadFULL EP1

I made it! (obviously). Posting while waiting for my roommate in the hotel room to get out of the shower.

Starting Saturday, I got checked into at the airport, and went to my gate around, 10:15ish. The flight leaves at 12:50, so needless to say, it was kind of a while before I even got on the plane. Just ended up talking to a couple other guys to kill the time. Then the fun part, the flight:
The flight itself is 12 hours 10 minutes. We got delayed a bit so we left a little late (only like 15 minutes). Over the course of the flight, i never really "fell asleep" but fell into that "half-asleep, half-awake" type thing. I played a bit of PSP, watched a subtitled Japanese movie a couple times (cause my headphone jack was messed up, so I couldn't watch anything without a subtitle), and ended up eating a lot of food since they seemed to bring a lot of food. FINALLY, after a long 12 hours, we landed. After that, I got my luggage and went through customs just fine. They didn't even really look at my sheets, I just gave it to him he took it and gave me my passport back. Then, because of the amount of people doing this, there was a huge line to get on the bus (but i got on).

After about an hour and a half, we arrived at the Keio Plaza in Shinjuku, which is a pretty fancy hotel. We got there, there were people and signs directing our every move. We got our room keys and a buncha "essential material" or something like that. Then we waited for like, 20 minutes JUST to get on the elevator to throw our stuff in our room. After that, I took the elevator back downstairs and headed out for the night. I saw that there was a game center in that area while I was walking around, so I spent the rest of the night there playing Arcana 2, and a bit of Tekken 6, with one random game of Fate Unlimited Codes. At first, when playing Arcana, I was really really rusty, but once i started getting used to it again, after not having played for like, a month, i was doing fine. I picked up Petra's combos pretty well, but theyre kinda easy, so i guess i makes sense. I was going even with this one zenia player, and then this Catherine player came. He started beasting me pretty bad, 5-6 in a row. I would get one or two wins every once in a while, but it felt really tough. Not impossible, just tough. It means I had to not mess up, lol. It was a lot of fun. I played some Tekken 6, also. Asuka is mostly the same, and can pretty much be played exactly the same, but with a few combo changes, which i was getting used to doing after one or two matches. Pretty fun, definitely gonna get a T6 card.

The funny thing was, there was SF4 there also, and it was always packed, even up to close, it was completely packed. There were like, 5 good machines, and 2 machines on normal cabinets which people didn't really play on. I didn't really watch cause there was a big crowd, but it was really cool seeing it in action. There were also about 10-15 VF5 (whatever the newest version is) setups there. Considering it IS a Sega arcade, it makes sense, but still, it's crazy.

Somewhere in the middle of that, I went to the convenience store, no CC lemon, but they had Fanta Zero - Lemon. I tried that, and it was like drinking a sweet tart. It wasn't my favorite, but wasn't bad. Then I went to the local beef bowl place and had a beef bowl there. It was pretty good. After that, I went back to the arcade, the Catherine player was still there and had like, 10 wins at that point. I jumped back in the rotation and won the first match, then a few other people played me, I went about even with them, and then played the Catherine player a bunch more after everyone else left, and then it was closing time.

After that, I got back into the room. The other two guys were sleeping, so I couldn't see or anything. It took me about 10 minutes to find the lightswitch for the bathroom in the dark (it ended up being on the outside of the bathroom going in, not in the bathroom).

As you can see, I have internet (for free) in this swanky hotel. Im about to have orientation all day. After that, ill prolly jump back online. Tomorrow night (tues night) they say we have free, so Ill most likely go back to the club sega. I would go to Akihabara, but if I can't buy anything (cause of no space) then it's not gonna be as fun, and i would just be wasting money on train fare.

I did spend quite a bit (close to $30 for food and games) but man, it was refreshing to be able to play again.

I won't have anything to update about tonite cause it's just boring meetings, but yeah...

BTW im up so early cause someone rang the doorbell to our room, and then was like "oops, wrong room, sorry". Then we were like "wait, we have doorbells?". Ok time to go shower and get ready for sitting there. :)

-Rob

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Last post before Japan

So I'm leaving in a couple days. Not much else to say. I'm mostly done packing and pretty much, aside from hanging out with friends and orientation, I've taken care of everything I needed to take care of before I leave.

On a different note, I'm addicted to morning musume tv specials. Not so much the music, but their specials are hilarious.

Next blog post will be from Japan!

-Rob