Monday, September 24, 2012

Picking Up Where We Left Off... (pt.3)

I slept the hell out of that bed, despite waking up numerous times and at all hours. I STILL managed to sleep for almost 11 hours. I fell asleep at 7 PM the night before and rose around 6, my condition much improved.

I managed to eat a light breakfast, still sick of soupy stuff, and made my way to the morning ceremony. It was still hot, but I didn't feel like I was going to pass out this time. I hit 2/3 of the sessions on the second day, and only because the third session was completely irrelevant to me
But another incident bears retelling from day 2, and though it may seem minor I will tell it anyway. Keep in mind that many of us are still reeling back on our heels from the firehose TORRENT of information we're presented with, and with our lives having been completely disrupted and also just landing in a strange place. It's not a state of constant panic or anything, but it is certainly a very mild, light case of shock.
I met up with a fellow Tottori faithful in the hallway- Travis. Travis is a Hawaiian of Japanese descent who speaks  some Japanese but (obviously) perfect English. We got to talking about this and that and the other thing, and finally he offered to accompany me to a convenience store down the street so I could get a coke.

I know, I know- you're wondering why I decided on a coke. Primarily because it is an American thing that I knew I could get my hands on and I knew it would remind me of home. So yes, a coke. I didn't want Pocari Sweat or some other inscrutable power drink. I wanted a damn coke.
So we went. It did WONDERS for me to get outside again. It also did wonders to just chat to Travis about nothing for a little while. I began to feel my curiosity swell again when we entered the shop. I saw a few magazines and cute things that I knew some of my friends back home would soil themselves to see. I myself soiled when I saw the coke, and Travis fronted me the couple hundred yen or whatever and we made our way back to the hotel. I retired upstairs feeling like a new man. With plenty of sleep, and a reminder that I'm not on the moon and some parts of home are still closeby, I cheerily chatted with some folks back home.
That night we went out again, since it was our third and final night in the metropolis that is Tokyo. This time we were in a group comprised of current JETs who had renewed for another year, so they knew more of what was going on. We went to a lovely restaurant, which I have since forgotten the name of, and had a grand time. I tried to pay 10,000 yen for my meal instead of 1000 or 2000, and I was briefly taunted. ( I basically tried to give away 100 bucks instead of 20. Keep in mind at this point it still feels like Monopoly money). After our dinner, one of my roommates and I popped our heads into an arcade. Japanese arcades are alive and well, let me tell you. They're smokey affairs full of young to middle aged men, most of whom wear no delight on thier faces. They seem to be playing for the point of conquest, not pleasure--although I will remark that many of the games looked like a blast. There was one in particular, Sengoku something or other, where you are playing on a rectangular field of battle the likeness of which is laid out on the console itself. You slap down these cards (which you can buy elsewhere, I think) and they have various effects on the game itself. It just looked really cool and tangibly interactive. After a brief exploration, we headed back and prepared to leave the following morning.

The Tottori faithful gathered in the main ballroom the next morning and went over the day's agenda: get on a bus, go to the airport. Get on a plane, meet with your supervisor from work. Run around to get groceries, pay a deposit on your apartment, get fire insurance, sign up for various things, eat lunch, set up your apartment, and so on.  I knew one thing though-- I was DONE sleeping on that chair bed. I was at long last going home, and I was DELIGHTED...

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