I`ve been in Japan for a little over a week now. Already it has gotten much more comfortable since I`ve gotten here.
The plane ride was uneventful, I actually managed to sleep on the way, from Boise to the Alaskan coast, which is amazing. I never sleep on planes. We carried our bags through the unfathomable system of trains, and at one station, when everyone was eating their take-out sushi and noodles from one of the kiosks, Tansei and Kazu showed up to see us off. It was really surprising. I really need to see some of the Waseda students when I go to Tokyo in October. We got on the 新幹線 [bullet train], which are very futuristic looking for aerodynamics, and went almost 200 mph to Morioka.
The first few nights we stayed at the くまがい旅館. I slept on a futon and tatami and wore a yukata to sleep. The bath was amazing. On three sides it was rock, jutting out for little statues and decorations to be placed on the ledges.
I moved in with my host family a few days ago. They'e an older couple, but their niece was there visiting when I moved in. I'm going to see her when I go to Tokyo also. The house is American sized, which is huge for Japan. There's a trail next to it that goes down to the lake, and everything in the neighborhood is lush and green. Papa-san is the boss of a surveying company [buildings, not polls]. He's very quiet, but fun to talk to. Mama-san is very talkative, and we talk about the differences between America and Japan all the time. The only drawback is the distance from the center of town and the curfew. Although in SICE orientation meetings we discussed getting used to family life all over again after the freedom of college, it still takes getting used to.
Today the SICE people went to a middle school track meet. It was the first one I'd ever been to. It was really intense, people were chanting the whole time, and the designs made from the kids in the stands changed from English to Japanese words. I met one of the English teachers I'll be working with, at 北松園中学校 [the middle school], and I go there for my first day of internship on Friday. So far all the middle schools we've met seem really cool. In the park, we passed by a group, and they all ran up to meet us. Today at the track meet, wherever we walked, groups of heads would turn and stare and a hundred kids would be saying "haro, haro!" [their pronounciation of hello].
There are a few other foreigners in this town, and whenever we meet there is always a nod or hello to acknowledge each others prescence, like when two of the same kind of very old cars pass on the street and honk.
I've been taking pictures. I'll post them when I can. Right now I'm at the Iwate Daigaku library, so I can't here.