Catching up part 2
Forgive the disjointed or haphazard writing style. I’m doing this mostly stream of consciousness style. Just trying to catch up and get back up to speed. I may leave out a lot, and if so I’ll just have to have a flash back post or something.
On the following Thursday I left for Kato with Tom, another ALT from training who is also teaching there. The next set of days were a cacophony of things going wrong. As I exited the hotel, the wheel on my smaller bag broke. I eventually tethered it to my larger bag so it was no longer even touching the ground. Another smaller bag ripped, so I had it shipped to my apartment. From Osaka Tom and I traveled to Kakogawa by our lonesome, where we retrieved the keys and contracts for our apartments. We then headed off to Kato, arriving in the late afternoon. Given the great distance from the train station to my apartment, I was required to call Interac to call a cab for me. While nothing was within walking distance, most things are easily bike-able. After unpacking, I made the long trip to the 7-11 the taxi had passed to purchase an umbrella and buy dinner. This took about an hour and a half, but I did pass by a grocery store in the mean time, and gathered a better understanding of my area.
The next day (Friday the 2nd of April I do believe) I had planned to do much exploration, but most of my plans were a bust. I spent the morning at city hall registering for my alien registration card. There I ran into Tom, who (while I doubt he would admit it) had trouble orienting himself and finding his way, and was helped by a kindly English speaking older woman named Kambei-san. She and the officials at city hall were a bit upset at our being sent off to fend for ourselves with little acclimation or assistance from our company. So much so that one of them called and gave them an earful. Afterward I simply waited for my bicycle and teaching materials to arrive, which came at 5pm, instead of 1pm as I was told. While waiting the NHK man came to collect the television utility fee, and told me there was another ALT living in my same building, and what room number. I wish my company had informed me of this.
I went down to meet him, Chris, and he welcomed me in and offered me a beer. We talked a bit and he told me more about the area. He mentioned that there was a prominent group of English speakers, and some others scattered about. Aside from Yoko- who works at city hall- and Kambei-san- Tom’s neighbor- there is Daiki- a friend of Chris’ who I met while looking for the highway bus stop, and after asking where it was in Japanese he replied in English “If it helps I speak English,”- and the owners of the independent convenience store across from the high school. When I started classes I later met Shiota-sensei, a very intelligent (he has a Ph. D.) and capable teacher with able English. The following week Chris would take Tom and I with the other ALT prior residing ALT, Tenesha, to B. Polpo (a local bar) to meet the owner and some local interested in English. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Saturday April 3rd I was invited to a Hanami (cherry blossom viewing party) in Himeji by the local JET chapter. Post was in Japan with his friends, and we planned to meet up there during the day. My friend Shogo also came to visit from Akashi. The plan was he would help me with some minor things, primarily getting a cellphone, and then head off to Himeji, arriving around two o’clock. Due to a number of complications, primarily the Softbank people taking FOREVER to work out my contract and traffic, we arrived closer to five . At least I had a phone to call and apologize for the massive error. Though I still think a number of people (Post, the ALTs Tara and Natalie from Kasai, and possibly Shogo) were upset at all the things that went wrong. I can’t blame them and I am fully responsible for it, but I think most was forgiven and forgotten once we all got together and had some drinks.
My greatest lament was that I did not get to see Post and his friends more while they were here, but so is the way of life sometimes. I am thankful to both Post for the gifts he brought and the hospitality Shogo, whom without which I would never acquired a phone.
I’m going to cut off this post and start another, for more digestible reading.