So I hopped on the plane at JFK with my passport in my hand. But before that guess who I met at the gate? A UMICHER! What are the chances that at JFK on June 16th going on an airline I had never heard of before, I would meet a fellow Michiganer! So we started talking and he ended up sitting in the row behind me. Turns out he had studied abroad in Japan before but now he was just going on vacation with his family.
Anyways, the plane ride went by a lot faster than I thought it would. Each time I looked at the clock, an hour had passed. Watched Beauty and the Beast (thumbs up), Meet the Parents (a classic), some of Shawshank Redemption (Gave it a try but couldn’t make it through the whole thing), The Notebook (Another classic and the best movie ever), and half of Toy Story 3 (<3 Disney).
Sidenote: It is interesting I was traveling to a country way on the East side yet it was more efficient to travel west (see map to the right).
Once I landed, I met up with Davis (the other intern) and we were off. Let me tell you…the Japanese train system is Grand Central x 10 plus all Japanese. Ended up taking one train to the Tokyo train station and from there, one to Hamamatsu. Also, when traveling to somewhere like Tokyo where the train stations are super crowded, do not recommend bringing two bags. Lugging them around was tough having to maneuver through the crowd and not run over toes. I also couldn’t lift them up to the rack on the train yikes.
Mimuro-san and Yuki-san from Roland DG came to pick us up from the Hamamatsu train station and then we grabbed a bite to eat. This is funny lol. So we are walking around downtown Hamamatsu and there are absolutely no trash cans around. I was chewing gum and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I figured I would just put it in a napkin at the restaurant we went to. Once we got to the restaurant, we had to take our shoes off and sit criss-cross apple-sauce. The waiter handed us a warm washcloth to clean our hands with and that’s when I knew I was stuck. The gum! So I swallowed it :/
Sidenote: In a lot of places, the menu is displayed outside with the actual dishes. I had no idea what any of them were. See pic below.
I really like Mimuro-san and Yuki-san. When we went out to eat, I felt like we were all friends. I told them about how I was looking for different Kit-Kat flavors LOL. They thought I was really funny. Yuki-san told me my Japanese was “cute”. She asked if I would help her with her English so we made a deal. Throughout the next few weeks she would teach me some basic Japanese phrases and I would help her with English (Even though it’s actually very good). Mimuro-san mentioned that we will be taking a business trip to Tokyo next Friday and I’m super excited. They were so easy to talk to. I’m really looking forward to meeting the rest of the company.
Patience and speed are key in trying to master the language barrier. Mimuro-san had trouble understanding English so he asked if I could speak more slowly. It was an easy adjust and once I made it, the conversation went a lot smoother.
THEN, got to my apartment and it is very nice don’t get me wrong – spacious, bed is big, TV, balcony. However, the toilet is one of those crazy ones with 20 buttons AND heated seats so it took me at least thirty minutes to figure out how to flush… Also, the sink is connected to the shower so when you use the spray thing in the shower, you have to turn on the sink. The tub is the height of my knee so you have to squat. This was all just very frustrating running on no sleep. I was super hungry because I didn’t eat much of the dinner covered in tangy sauce. So I went to sleep.
Until next time,