Mar. 20th, 2014 11:09 am
First full day in Japan!
And now the countdown/etc will be finished. lol

I guess... I want to write about some of my feelings about this thing, getting here, the physical journey itself, etcetera.

Section One: The Trip

Once everything was packed and my mom, dad, and I were at the airport and they took me all the way to the security checkpoint and it was time to say goodbye, I was actually absolutely stunned because... My dad cried.
I didn't really know what else to do so then I also started crying. lol My mom ended up telling me later (this morning, when I called) that he even watched until he couldn't see me anymore. That was... I felt a lot of things, mostly sad. I think part of the reason my dad crying was so shocking (and also difficult) is because my dad is not an emotional person, really, and I've never related to him in a very emotional way (even though I have often wanted to), so it was hard too because I felt like that was the first time that I could really tell that he really cared for me. I know he has his own ways of showing it, as every parent does, by supporting me in other, more comfortable ways (for him). But that hit me really hard, I'll admit.

Well, then I got through security and everything and met my aunt on the other side, who got me into the special Air Canada lounge, which was nice 'cause I got free breakfast. Nothing else too interesting happened, I got on my flight, landed in Vancouver, and then spent two and a half hours in Milestones in the Vancouver airport eating too much food, drinking three bellinis and chatting away on the computer on facebook and everything else.

Then came the flight to Japan. I was already getting what I call 'fat girl hate' from a whole bunch of stink-eyes even waiting at the gate. lol Vancouver is already pretty size-ist, and then add Asian size-ism onto that? Yeah. I can say I wasn't surprised, but I did sigh and roll my eyes about the whole thing. Got onto the plane, sat beside a mid-30s looking guy who obviously considered me bothersome before I even sat down, and we did not exchange a single word the entire ten and a half hour flight lol. I learned from his papers that his name was Masahiro, but that was it. LOL They served us two meals neither of which I even ate more than half of, part-way because I was still full from gorging myself in Vancouver and part-way because I become very conscious of my intake around Japanese people. I am not entirely sure what that means but it's true.

Side-note; my legs have never hurt so bad as they did yesterday. I was able to get up ONCE during the flight to Tokyo, but that was all, and it was so cramped and I was stuck against the window. That was pretty intense. But nonetheless, I was going to Japan, so still worth it. I watched three movies, including: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Frozen, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. They were all okay, they were probably even good, but I was in a pretty foul mood from the pain in my legs and the dude beside me. XD;

Arrived in Tokyo, went through immigration. For those of you that don't know, Japanese immigration is set up like so: several lines for individuals in possession of a Japanese passport, and then a few lines for individuals in possession of any foreign passports. And everyone, regardless, gets fingerprinted and photographed. If you refuse this step, you'll be deported lol. Anyway! I got through without a problem, because unlike several other people in line from various places, I read and filled out everything. :P Some people got sent to the back of the line if enough of their cards weren't filled out properly. The immigration people took my certificate of eligibility, filed it, and gave me a residence card! It's good for two and some years. Yay.

Then, I went and grabbed my baggage, got on the computer to get Leela's address again, wrote it out in romaji, then asked some people at a desk if they thought a taxi driver would be able to read/understand the address in romaji (which means "roman characters"; English characters for Japanese words, for example "Tokyo" instead of 東京). They said yes, so I prepared to go pay a hefty price for a cab from Narita to Shinjuku-area. I could have taken a train to Tokyo and then gotten a cab, which would have been cheaper, but with two 100-pound bags and a hefty backpack and 24 hours of travelling, I was feeling kind of done. LOL So, I paid ¥26,000 for the trip (which is roughly $280). Needless to say, my cab driver was really nice. ROFL I got to get my feet wet practicing a little Japanese with him, so that was good. :)

Here's a tangent for you: seeing how much I remember after not using or hearing Japanese in about 3 years (except in vkei songs, which... I don't pay a lot of attention to the words anyway I'll be honest), made me realize that I am probably going to be okay with picking it up fast again. Being surrounded by it and reading kana (which is the word for the Japanese writing system which is in three parts--kanji which are derived from Chinese characters, then katakana and hiragana which are syllabic and much simpler to write) on everything around me is helping to jog things a bit also. People always ask me "why do they need three alphabets? (which is generally how I describe the kana writing systems)", and the short answer is I don't know, the evolution of written language in Japan comes from historical cultural absorption and appropriation. The more pressing question, though, of why do we still need/use it over here? Well, keep in mind that the word for eraser (keshigomu; lit. "deleting rubber") has all three writing systems in it alone. 消しゴム. 消 = ke し=shi, ゴム=gomu. The first character, 'ke', is an entire 'word' meaning to delete, erase, cancel, etc. The 'shi' part is just... part of the pronunciation of that word, 'keshi', but has no actual meaning by itself. The last part, 'gomu', is written in katakana (which, opposite to romaji, is how Japanese people write foreign-origin words. It is phonetic for "gum", actually). All that just to say eraser, much less ask to borrow one. (Which, by the way, is: 消しゴムを借りてもよいですか? (Keshigomu o karite mo ii desu ka?)) Yes, Japanese is complicated! Is it worth it? Yeah. Especially because I happen to really love how it sounds. XD

Anyways, after the 1.5 hour taxi ride from the airport, I arrived at Leela's and we hung out and talked for about three hours before we crashed. I called my mom to let her know I was alright, and that concludes the travel section. :P

I think that's good for now, I'll write about other stuff later!



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