So, I have arrived in Tokyo for the JET orientation. The flight (yesterday) was long and I had a middle seat so unfortunately I couldn't get up to walk around as much as I would have liked, so my legs turned to stone, but it was not so bad and after getting whisked through narita airport by all the incredibly efficient orientation volunteers, and a quick bus ride through chiba, I arrived at the beautiful keio plaza hotel, along with over 1,000 other new jets (and that's not even all of us - there's another orientation next week!). Here's the keio!
The hotel is really nice, although a little heavy on the 80's all-gold decor. No orientation activities that afternoon so I explored the shinjuku area with a fellow NYC friend, we found a great little yakitori restaurant where we sat at the same table as a japanese couple, but for privacy they let down a bamboo screen between us - it was quite cozy! We thought we might have trouble ordering with our minimal japanese and lack of pictures/plastic food outside the restaurant (for pointing purposes) but even this tiny little restaurant had an english menu. We had delicious yakitori beef and chicken with stir fried noodles and grilled rice balls. On our way back to the hotel it started raining so we took shelter in a huge mall similar to bloomingdale's. Although finding our way back out ended up being more complicated than navigating the streets outside! Back near the hotel, just outside a large office building, we saw a bunch of kids practicing breakdancing/hip-hop - they were using the reflective glass of the building as a mirror! that was quite a cool site to see, with their boomboxes blasting lauryn hill.
today has been chock full of orientation presentations on everything from team-teaching to food shopping, and tomorrow will be more of the same. I've met most of the folks who will be going to akita with me, and will hopefully get to know them better at the karaoke party we will be having tonight!