Tokyo Orientation Day 1 is just about complete. One more event, the Welcome Reception, and I’ll feel like I’ve officially survived my first day in Japan. Granted, being around nearly 1,000 other expats who are native English speakers is not exactly “surviving in Japan”, but it’s something!
Today started with a provided breakfast, which was to my delight a much better one than the “Continental Breakfast” of hotels back home. There I met a bunch of JETs from Canada who I was able to spend most of the morning with.
That’s when the excitement really started to set in for me. Most of my preparation for leaving made me feel sad and anxious. I had moments of excitement but I wasn’t feeling it as much as I hoped, or even as much as other people were for me. Although I knew I was making the right choice, it was hard to see that amongst so many goodbyes and the rose-colored glass view of what I was leaving behind. But sitting in that room, realizing that I am in Japan and will be living here, learning the language, developing relationships with people here and from other parts of the world, I couldn’t help but smile. I’m in Japan!!! A dream I’ve always had but never took much time to actualize because of this career goal or that has finally come true. Sitting in a room with so many other people and realizing this journey I’m about to embark on is beginning filled me with butterflies. And what a great program to be apart of- JET celebrates 30 years next year and has had over 60,000 participants. 6,800 people applied for JET this year and I am one of 2,000 people across 20+ countries selected. I get to accomplish 3 major life goals through this opportunity: Learn Japanese, go to Japan and live in another country for a year. Even better, I get to connect with my Japanese heritage and deepen my connection to it and to my grandparents who I miss dearly. How fortunate I am.
This morning I believed I was in pretty good shape- I felt awake and alert and in denial about the reality of jet lag. I slept a solid amount- about 7 hours- last night, although I did wake up around 4am and struggled to get back to sleep (fortunately that’s a great time to text people at home!) This morning’s presentations excited me enough to keep the jet lag at bay too. But once lunch hit and the hours at home came closer and closer to my former bedtime, I realized that I, unfortunately, am not immune to jet lag. I guess I’m glad they have so many things scheduled to help keep me awake and fighting through the exhaustion… (blogging in the meantime is helpful too!)