04 January 2013


This is my third day in Japan, and I'm still jet lagged.  I can't believe how slowly my body is adjusting.  On the plus side, so far my Japanese experience has been wonderful, even if I am a bit sleepy during the day and wide awake at night.  :)

The hardest part of traveling is saying goodbye to my mother.  She held up like a champ, but there were a few tears, and I felt like a lousy child for leaving her.  Of course, I've spoken to her since landing, and she's fine.
On our way to the airport.
I was fortunate to have a direct flight from Chicago to Tokyo-- 13 hours!-- and even more fortunate to be in an upgraded class with more room and fancy features.  The lady at the check-in counter wore a kimono and was friendlier than I've ever seen airport personnel be.  So far, Japan is looking awesome.

Luxury at it's better-than-the-cheap-seats-est.
The first 8 hours of the flight were pretty standard.  I watched a few movies, dozed, and occasionally snacked or ate the food the lovely flight attendants brought me.  Turns out Moneyball is probably one of my new favorite movies.  And I'm super stoked for baseball season.  The last 5 hours of my flight dragged on and on.  Sleep eluded me, and my bum ached.

Finally, I arrived in Japan.  I found my checked luggage, went through customs, and received my resident card.  When I finally reached the other side, I saw David looking sharp in a suit he donned for the occasion.  I wish I'd have gotten a picture of him-- he looked so dapper.  Unfortunately, the only photos of that occasion are of me looking tired and haggard.  Let's not put them here, ok?  David was also very thoughtful.  He brought me a rail pass and carried my heaviest bags.  

My resident card and rail pass.
David took me out for sushi for my first meal.  I already liked sushi, but this exceeded any expectations I might have had.  And we weren't even at a terribly fancy restaurant.  I'm looking forward to more of that. 

We reached David's house after dark.  I'm not sure how long it will take me to get used to driving on the left instead of the right, but it'll take longer than a day-- I was convinced oncoming traffic would hit us.  Once at David's house, I encountered the one and only thing (so far) that I know I'm going to have trouble with: a lack of central heat.  His house is super cute and much bigger than I had imagined, but it is COLD!  The living space and the bedroom aren't so bad after the space heaters do their thing, but everywhere else is crisp.  I'd thought the heated, fancy toilets were a luxury, but now I see they're more necessity.  I resisted using the bathroom more than once or twice for my first two days here (and now I have a UTI, so not my best decision making), and the only reason I opted to go at all was because the toilet seats were delightfully heated.  You can imagine how I dread getting in and out of the shower, though actually taking a shower is also quite luxurious.  Once again, I suspect the experience needs to be over the top in order for anyone to feel compelled to participate.  

Like I said, I'm still very jet lagged, which means I've spent a good deal of time sleeping.  Yesterday was my first time really going anywhere, and it was just to my new apartment.  I fell asleep soon after arriving.  This morning I ventured to the grocery store, but now I'm back at home and in bed.  In my defense, I've been awake since about 2 in the morning.  It's almost 11 am now.  That's not so bad.