I have arrived, and what is more, with my luggage intact. I felt such enormous relief when I saw my big beribboned bag at baggage collection; I really don't know what I would have done had it gone missing so it truly warmed my heart to be reunited with it!
I find time difference such a bizarre thing and subsequently, it feels as though I set off from London about two weeks ago, when in fact, it was just yesterday. I was very tearful on my London to Hong Kong flight. At Heathrow, I felt really relaxed but when Mum started to cry, it really threw me. When I see others who I care for crying, I instantly do the same, it really is an instinctive thing. So my legs felt like jelly and I had a lump in my throat for at least half of the flight, made worse by the fact that I decided to watch Is Anyone There? It's such a beautiful film and combined with my recent goodbyes, I was somewhat conspicious with my puffy eyes and red nose!
The tiredness didn't really begin to hit me until I had to take the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Osaka to Hiroshima. I managed to keep my eyes open long enough to see Osaka to Okayama; Japan is unlike anywhere I have ever been to. For miles and miles, all I could see from the window were concrete jungles. Houses and apartments are squeezed into the tiniest nooks and crannies and as a result, many are very oddly shaped. Once I glanced away from the concrete however, all I could see were the lush, green, beautiful mountains that almost seem to encircle the human life existing within the concrete puzzle. It is a curious contrast. Jetlag caught up with me after Okayama so I am almost certain that I spent the rest of the journey in my unsightly,embarrassing sleeping position: mouth wide open with a few body jolts when I wake up suddenly, gah. Why can't I sleep like an angel?
I've just been out for a sushi dinner with a few of the other assistant language teachers who I will be training with this week in Hiroshima. They seem like a nice bunch though at the moment, I am well and truly outnumbered by the Americans. I am yearning for some dry British wit. Isn't it funny how when in very alien/overwhelming situations, we crave to be around those who we share common bonds with.
I feel such a curious mix of emotions at the moment. Today, I experienced relief at having finally made it here (and getting my beloved bag), terrible sadness at having to say goodbye to my family and an enormous sense of anticipation. At several points, I have thought to myself 'what the hell am I doing here?'. A lot of people who participate in these kind of schemes are really into Japan. I suppose because Japanese culture is so idiosyncratic, it attracts the obsessives. My reason for choosing Japan is simply that it's very far away from home, I wanted a challenge so enormously huge and I wanted to experience a culture and language that are starkly different from my own. Sometimes, I wonder if that is enough. Who knows...
Training begins tomorrow so I am going to get some shut eye.