Blaine, outbound to Japan

After we get everything situated that's when it really hit me. I was going to be spending the next year in Japan… WHAT WAS I THINKING?

こんにちは。So my first days in Japan… what an experience. It all started when I got onto my first flight from Daytona Beach into Atlanta International Airport in Georgia. Saying goodbye to all my close friends and family was so hard. Even knowing going into this whole year that it would be hard, I was still surprised at how difficult that first flight was.But lets move on from the sad parts.

I arrived in Atlanta and asked a Delta flight crewmember where my next gate would be and she told me it was in the next terminal so I would have to take the underground train that connects them. As I was walking to the train I couldn't help but notice all the weird looks I was getting because of my blazer, which I already have a large amount of pins on. People seemed amazed  that I would walk through the airport in something like that. That blazer also gets very hot when running around an airport I quickly found out.

I made it onto the train and was only one stop away from the international terminal so that made it very easy. I got off the train and went up two different escalators to get to where the gates where. The terminal was so nice and clean, way different than the rest of the airport. When I arrived at my gate I still had about five hours until my flight was scheduled to depart. So naturally I gravitated to a seat with a plug near by and started watching some movies I got for this exact reason. I was also waiting for a fellow exchange student, Parker Hamilton, who was headed to Japan. We are both from the same district D6970, the best district I might add, and are being hosted in the same district in Japan D2770.

When he arrived we chatted about how we were both a little anxious about getting there and how it felt so weird that the day to leave was already upon us. We both laughed at the fact that when the Japanese translator would make announcements over that loud speakers we could only pick out a bout three words. Finally they tell us that its time to get in line to board the plane. I was starting to feel some nerves at this point. After we get everything situated on the plane and take our seats that's when it really hit me. I was going to be spending the next year in Japan… WHAT WAS I THINKING?

They pushed the plane back from the gate and we sat there for a little… then a little longer… and then a little longer. Finally the captain made an announcement that something was wrong when they were doing their pre-flight checks and that we had to go back to the gate. All I could think was I hope it was nothing too serious and that we would be on our way in no time. I fell asleep after sitting there for about another 30 minutes or so. After about another hour Parker shook me wake as the captain made another announcement. He said the flight had been cancelled for that day and that we could have to deplane. There was an audible moan from all the pas sengers as we all started to gather our things.

We found out that one of the engines on the plane was malfunctioning, so it was a good thing that the flight was cancelled. Luckily Delta provided us with a hotel for the night and put us on the next earliest flight, which was at 8:30 in the morning. That whole day pretty much consisted of just standing in lines. The next morning we got up at five and headed to the airport around six. When we walked down stairs we had just missed the shuttle. When the next one came it was already practically full and the driver said he could only take two or three people. Parker and I hurried to be those two people. When we finally got there we had a little trouble with our tickets but got it all sorted out. Security went by like a breeze, thanks to the fact that we didn't have to take anything out of our bags. We made it to our gate and when we finally made it on the plane they only thing I could think about was whether it would actually take off this time. Luckily there were no problems this time and Parker and I were now on our way!!!

The flight itself was not too bad, however there was one bit where the turbulence was kind of rough. The meals were all pretty good although Parker slept through the biggest one we had. When we got close we both took out our cameras and phones to take pictures. When we finally landed we collected our things and started to walk off the plane. We were in the very back of the plane so it took a few minutes to get off. We got off the plane and were instantly confused as to where to go. We got situated and started walking to customs. The first stop we made was a desk where we handed them some forms and they took our pictures for a card that we have to keep. Then we headed down to get our bags. Then we walked only fifty feet to another line where we handed another person a different piece of paper, which said where we were living.

Once we got through that we walked through the doo rs and saw our host families with signs that said “Welcome to Japan”. I walked up to my host family and shook all their hands. Then my host dad pushed me towards Parker because and English speaking news channel was there to interview us. I think we were both very caught off guard. We were both just smiling from ear to ear not really knowing what to say. They asked a lot about my blazer and what all the pins meant. They also asked what we planned to study when we got back. Both of us didn't really have an answer for that.

Then my family took me to eat at a restaurant at the airport and I talked with a Japanese girl who spoke perfect English, and did an exchange in Denmark. After that we headed out to their car and started to drive home. On the way back I saw where Tokyo Disney is and the Tokyo Sky Tree. My home is only about thirty 30 minutes from Tokyo Station, and is pretty big for a home in Japan.

Also, for anyone who doesn't know my first host dad is past Rotary International President Sakuji Tanaka. He is really nice and also pretty funny. I’m sure he thinks it's funny when I can't understand anyone because he will always chuckle a little. My host mom doesn't speak a word of English but I think that will be a benefit. I’ve already learned some new Japanese words from them, and I really hope that it will come quickly to me, but I know there will be a lot of studying for that.

My host dad heard that I played golf in high school and he also plays golf so today he took me to a driving range. It has been a little while since I last played but I didn't do terrible. When we got home lunch was there waiting. After lunch my host dad told me to take a shower because we had been in the heat for a couple of hours. I have only been here two days now and I already have so much to talk about! Because I wrote this one kind of early I will write another one soon.