I don't even know where to begin. This will be a long entry and I will try to blog more often. There's just so much happening! I arrived in Osaka on Friday night. Thankfully, the flight was uneventful, I watched a few movies and finished Harry Potter. We were greeted by Mr. Iizuka, our contact from the Himeji Board of Education, and driven to Himeji. The apartment building is very modern and nice. My apartment is spacious, so everyone is welcome to visit, there's plenty of room. I'm on the 4th floor and I can see Himeji-jo (castle) from my balcony. It's breathtaking.
I'm exhausted and excited, it all feels like a dream. I'm still experiencing jet lag, but my days are full and I'm having a lot of fun exploring and getting to know the city and other teachers. Over the weekend, I bought a bike, so I've been able to explore more of the city and get a lot of exercise. The city is really beautiful and the castle is spectacular. I can't wait to tour the castle. I biked around that area yesterday. There were lots of dance groups downtown for some event. I think they were groups from different areas and they were dancing all over the place in crazy and amazing costumes. I love how everyone is so enthusiastic and uninhibited. The dance music range was from very traditional Japanese music to Bon Jovi. I've mostly been hanging out with the Phoenix teachers --- it's been fun exploring the city together.
Every errand is an adventure, from grocery shopping, going to the 100 Yen store to buying a bicycle! I was feeling nervous the first couple of days but I'm becoming a little more comfortable. I'm determined to learn the layout of the city so I can get around. I can't read Japanese signs so I need to remember landmarks. I'm also having trouble with the appliances in our apartment, but the teachers are very helpful in showing me how to operate them. My Japanese is terrible, so I signed up for some classes. All of the teachers are very nice and I'm having a lot of fun. I have teacher orientation this morning. I will find out where my school is, I hope it's nearby. I start teaching on Thursday and I have to give a speech in Japanese to the entire school of 800 students and staff. At least the speech is short!
I have a lot to learn! I miss everyone like crazy! Everyone here is very nice. I'm very happy! There is so much to explore and figure out. I left the camera cable in Phoenix. Julian will bring it, but in the meantime I'm going to try to find one here. I will post some photos hopefully soon.
Also, my very first friend in the world from Japanese preschool, Yukiko and her mom, Miyoko are wonderful! They live in Tokyo. They sent me flowers, a card in the mail and a fax which were waiting for me upon my arrival to my apartment. It's very comforting to know that they are nearby. They told me that if I need anything to let them know and that I have a "home" in Tokyo. They are so kind and wonderful. I love them!!! I hope to see them soon.