I didn’t sleep.
That’s really the best way I can describe the day of departure. Severely sleep deprived. Our flight from Anchorage to Seattle was at 5:45 am on Saturday, so we all had to be at the airport at 3:45 am for check in and such. So… I pulled an all-nighter; in fact, I believe most of us did, or at least tried. I ended up getting some coffee at Starbucks to attempt to stay awake during our first leg of the flight, but I sort of nodded off for a half hour or so.
We were warned that we might have to run to our Tokyo flight in Seattle, but by some awesome luck, our gate was only three gates down from the one we arrived in. The two hour layover went by pretty quickly; we all put our luggage in a corner and took turns watching it while we all went off and did our own things; one of the perks of traveling in a group!! I made my final phone calls to my friends and family and we boarded the plane!
The flight was surprisingly full. Five of us were in the same row while the other two in our group were in the second half of the economy cabin. I managed to FINALLY watch the last installment of the Hobbit trilogy and I must say… I’m really disappointed how short Smaug’s screen time was. Like seriously…wtf. I also watched the Imitation Game (SO GOOD) and made it halfway through Exodus Gods and Kings before passing out for about a half hour. We were serve two meals inflight as well as an ice cream snack! I brought goldfish to much on as a snack so I dug into those every now and again when the moment came about.
Before I knew it, we were landing! I was finally back in Japan! I was (and still am) so happy that I’m back. Immigration was slow, but that’s to be expected. We had to wear these stickers to indicate we were with the JET Program so we were easy to find and guide to the bus area. It makes you feel special, but then you get a small inkling that this is what it was like in elementary school with the “line leaders” who directed the class everywhere. But instead of a class, you have a bunch of tired yet excited men and women with trolley’s stuffed with luggage. I got separated from the rest of the group, but three of us ended up on one bus, another three on the bus before us and then the other on the bus before that. The longest part was moving through the JET line to the buses really. They took our luggage at the bus to be shipped to our CO or BoE and we boarded the bus with our carry on luggage. The bus ride took 2 hours, but the quiet drive and scenery relaxed me! It was still sinking in I was back!
Even after all the stuff at the airport, we had more to do at the Keio Plaza Hotel, the location of our Post Arrival Orientation. We grabbed our “JET Bags” which contained various papers and handouts on different topics for ALTs and CIRs, had a small briefing with a JET Rep, and picked up our name tags and our hotel room keys! By another lucky chance, I’m rooming with J, the Alaska JET who let me stay with her in Anchorage! We unpacked, kinda, and decided to head out to the nearby 7-11 for food.
I missed Japanese food so much. It took quite a bit of will power to refrain from buying all the food I missed. I finally had a Jumbo bar!
I originally wrote this the night we arrived, but I passed out before being able to post it. I will post Day 1 and 2 of the Tokyo Orientation tomorrow night while I still have internet connection!