Japan Part 1
I haven`t posted anything for awhile and that`s because we are in Japan! I`m standing here in out hotel lobby at 6am (local time) updating my blog.
Let`s start with the beginning. My dad kindly dropped my off at sky harbor early Saturday morning to fly to SFO. Eric and I met there and flew out at 2pm for Tokyo. Ten hours later we landed at the Narita airport. We got through customs, validated our Japan Rail passes, and sat for another 90 minutes waiting for our bus to the hotel. A two hour bus trip later we made it to the New Sanno located on the other side of Tokyo. It`s a military hotel and is wonderful! So, if you are military and ever want to see Tokyo you need to book in advance. When we showed up they didn`t have Eric`s reservation which pretty much scared us. It was 9pm there and we know they are always booked. God was on our side and they had an extra room. We crashed as soon as our heads hit the pillows.
We were able to sleep until 6am which is a huge treat. Most of the time we can`t sleep past 4am when coming to Japan. Shortly afterwards we took a subway then train ride for two hours to come to Shizuoka. We pretty much wondered around Shizuoka the first day and had an exquisite dinner of sushi. We were nervous seeing no prices and about gagged when we got the $112 bill. I had 8 pieces of sushi! Ok, Eric had 12 plus a hand roll. I have to admit it was the first time I actually liked sushi. However, we will not be having any more during this trip!
Yesterday we went to both universities in Shizuoka. The first was Shizuoka University which is a rather large school but so military looking. Eric says is looks communist, I think that`s a little strong of a word. They tried being helpful and it took a good hour of us sitting down and talking with student affairs to convey what Eric wants to do. It`s difficult because the school year stars in the Spring here rather than the Fall. So, he technically can`t start a masters program when we get here. He can take undergrad Japanese classes though. They also were saying he needs to take two different exams before being admitted but they have to be taken in Japan during the month of June. We don`t move here until August. Well, we got lots of information. They even led Eric to local relators hanging out by the bus stop. The new school year is about to start so they hangout waiting for all the students to come to them. Well, they had one house our size and price available for rent so they wanted to drive us by it. It`s a 5 bedroom Japanese style house (tatami mats, sliding paper doors, and so on), By Japanese standards it was huge and under our budget. We weren`t able to go in since people are still in it but they wanted to see what we can get for the money we`ll be getting each month for living. Now, when I say 5 bedrooms don`t think American sized. We saw the floor plan and the rooms a re pretty small but we can make do with 5 rooms. One would be a play room and another a guest room. Hint hint everyone! Hopefully something comparable will be available come August/September when we actually move here.
The realtor dropped us off at Shizuoka Kenritsu Daigaku (University of Shizuoka) and the curb appeal was a thousand times better. Of course it`s a newer and smaller school than Shizuoka University. Eric had made contact with several professors and was able to meet with them all plus the department chair for international relations. Everyone keeps asking him, `Why do you want to go here?`. It`s kind of funny. Besides the fact that all the other cool cities were taken when we were applying for Olmsted, the only reason we picked Shizuoka was by word of mouth plus the climate. Really it was just a random choice but everyone here thinks that international students should be in Tokyo where all the larger universities are. It looks like this school is pretty interested in having Eric attend and would be willing to help him get in. I really like the neighborhoods around the university too so hopefully we can find a house there. While find out in six months!
Today we are meeting with a realtor the Yokota housing office as set us up with. He`s not even located in Shizuoka! We have to take the train to another city to meet him. So strange. But, we`ll meet him and see what they have to say. I suppose he won`t be showing us any homes since we`ll be so far away. Other than that we hope to do a little sight seeing since it`s our last day in Shizuoka. We`ll be heading to Hiroshima tomorrow morning for the rest of our trip. We have to get some sightseeing in while we are kid free.
More on Japan (plus pictures) when we return to Phoenix/Monterey. Thanks for all the prayers or safe travel. All has gone smoothly so far.