Monday, November 26, 2007

There are times when it is a good idea to follow the advice don't get in cars with strangers that your parents taught you when you were small. For example if you are six and a creepy man with a combover offers to show you his puppies, they are in his van, just follow him. Don't go with him!

But then there are times when it is a good idea to throw caution to the wind and climb into the car with someone you have just met and will probably never see again. Like when you get lost in Tuscany and a nice Italian woman offers to drive you to your hostel. Or you miss your bus in Ireland and rather than lugging your suitcase the three kilometers into town, you decide that it's better to thumb for a ride.

Or for example, this Sunday while I was pottering around town when an older man called out "Jennifer!" I didn't recognize him at all, but I have met so many people this past week that he probably did know me. Let's call him Mr. Hinui (because I think that's what he said, I'm still struggling with names here.) He invited me to get into his car, but didn't have enough English to really explain why or where we were going. He took me to a prehistory museum outside of town and then found me someone who spoke English well enough to explain what I was looking at. Then it was back in the car, with a quick stop at the local Circle K for some ice cream, and then we drove up to Mount Zao to see the view of all of Tahara, the Pacific Ocean, and the bay, (I'm on a peninsula.) We ended our outing back at Tahara Castle where he originally found me at the town museum, where he left me with another man who spoke English and could explain.

Mr. Hinoi, or whatever his name was, slipped out while I was watching a video at the museum so I barely had time to say arigatogozaimase for the impromptu tour.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm Here

I arrived in Japan last Friday night. And they put me to work right away teaching on Monday. I've also had my picture taken for the city's monthly magazine, had tea with the mayor, apple juice with the Head Chairman of City Council, and there is a karoake party in my honor tomorrow night thrown by the other Americans here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Down to the wire

So the last week has been a little hectic...

Wednesday - talk to Consulate and decide $0.65 stamp will get visa back to me in time. Then remember that Monday is Veteran's Day and it won't get it to me in time. So I send a DHL overnight envelope through the Cintas mail room (and get the company rates so I only have to pay $14.00 for there and back.)

Wednesday night - Happy Hour at the Irish pub down the street with friends from work and goodbye party for me.

Friday - Visa arrives!!! Last day of work! I still manage to have a couple of meetings, finish an account review, write a memo, and run some sales reports before I leave early and do some more packing.

Saturday - Fly to VA to see my papa (that's grandfather in hick) before I leave. It gets a little "cloudy" on the way there. So much so that we have to radio flight service and figure out what to do because Dad is VFR only, or visual flight rules. That means we're stuck on top because he can't legally fly through the clouds. We ended up diverting to TN and spending 4 hours at the airport there before it clears up enough that we can land in VA.

Sunday - Sister and brother-in-law are up from Louisville. We hang out and then go to the Thanksgiving Dinner at church. One of the deacons is a semi-professional photographer and takes a family portrait since this will be our last chance for awhile (and since we've gained three new people in the last six months!)

Monday - move the rest of my stuff from the apartment. Have several arguments with my father on where everything is going to go. Hurt my knee moving my gargantuan mattress. I get a voicemail from my roommate that evening that says, "I miss you already. I think you should come home." :-(

Today - pack, pack, pack, write some on exchange fic, pack. Call credit card company. Call bank. Stop by doctor's office to pick up script. Get pictures developed. Buy more space bags. Have dinner with roommate. Watch House. That's the plan anyway...

The next time I post I'll be in Japan!!!