[Photo from the balcony of my room the morning after my arrival]
Sorry about the delay, net was shaky for a few days and has just become stable enough to write. This post will outline my experience getting to Japan and what my first night in Japan consisted of.
I ended up leaving Palmerston North around 6:45pm for Auckland and then, after a few hours of wondering around Auckland airport, left on what would be an 11ish hour flight to Hong Kong overnight. The flight was pretty awful; lots of turbulence and the dude in-front of me reclined his chair all the way back resulting in me getting no sleep at all. The people sitting beside me were nice though; a chatty old couple going on holiday all over the show with their combined savings. After arriving at Hong Kong airport I had a minor scare when my flight was not on the flight schedule at the time it was supposed to be; but after downloading the Hong Kong airport app I found out the flight had been mildly delayed and the gate changed and proceeded to nab a bite to eat and wait. I ended up getting on the flight no problem; but was very very tired at this stage. Fortunately, the person sitting next to me on the place was a former politics major now teaching economics in Nagoya; so the last 4 hour flight was filled with questions about Nagoya, Living in Japan, Japanese culture and political pondering which quickly woke me back up. Once I landed I proceeded to customs in Japan, which I expected to be a pain, which was actually pretty quick; I let a couple of customs officers rustle through my bag, told them why I was there and then got through fine. At last I had arrived!
I was meet just outside the entrance gate by a gaggle of Japanese students waving a sign with my name on it and followed them to meet up with another group of Australian students who were on the same plane as me. We were quickly filed onto a bus and spent the next hour and a bit checking out Japan as we drove by and getting to know each other. During the bus ride, to our surprise, it began to snow; which was pretty awesome. Once we got off the bus we headed off into town, following the Japanese students, and eventually got individual cabs which ferried us to I-House. We had all hoped to immediately crash upon arrival; but unfortunately the Residential Assistants, the students who had lead us this far, insisted upon showing us around and laying out the rules of the house before we did anything else. During that process we met some of the students already at I-House; who offered to take us to the supermarket to nab some food for the morning, which we all decided was a good idea. We wandered literally across the road to the supermarket and attempted to find familiar food at the Japanese supermarket. Surprisingly; finding food we recognized was not terribly hard at all; with most of us nabbing cereal, bread or Ramen for the following morning. Upon arriving home we then crashed after unpacking our stuff.
All in all the trip was long, tiring but super exciting; the snow was a pretty huge plus, as it is not something we commonly experience in my corner of New Zealand. The supermarket was fun to explore too and was filled with interesting looking food; such as chocolate potato chips, Japanese sauces and vegetables I had never even seen before. No doubt one of the many interesting things I would get to do in the following weeks.