Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hitting the Ground Running

I get to start out this blog with the small adventure of getting here. Japan is always an adventure...
Flying out from San Diego I was supposed to backtrack and fly to Dallas for a connector flight. Well, we were about to take off from the runway in San Diego when the flight attendants noticed a lavatory was leaking. We went back to the gate, where they discovered no one had pumped out that lavatory (which is standard procedure). 45 minutes later we finally take off. I get to Dallas, race to my gate, only to miss my plane to Japan by a mere few minutes. There was no holding of the flight. I ended up staying in Dallas for the night. I contacted my company, informing them I'd be a day late but heard nothing about getting there with their help.
I had quite the time traveling with 2 suitcases and a carry-on bag... and people wondered why I traveled so light! I arrived in Narita (Tokyo) then took the connector to Kansai (Osaka). From there I took the bullet train down to Hiroshima. When I got there, I halfway expected someone from the company to be there to escort me to the hotel... Nope. Luckily I had written down the address. An expensive 1200 yen taxi ride later I was at my hotel! I was pretty proud of myself and my somewhat rusty Japanese skills.
My hotel is a Comfort Inn in the heart of Hiroshima. It's a small room, but it has free internet, a/c, and a bed so I'm set. It's really hot and humid here. Many people carry around hankerchiefs to wipe their faces, and I broke down and bought one today at the 100 yen store (yes Japan has their own version of the dollar store).
Today was a pretty good day. We are training and there's about 30 of us. There's a big imbalance of the sexes: there's 6 of us girls to 24 guys, and all the trainers/leaders are male. They are all pretty cool and down to earth, though. All are very friendly and fun to joke around with.
After training I wanted to pass out, but I went to Peace Memorial Park instead. This is where the A-bomb dropped, and there's a ton of memorials in a lovely park along the river, along with the A-bomb dome, which is a building that has been preserved the way it was damaged after the tragedy. I took some lovely pictures but you'll have to wait for them!
I was also bad and ate McDonald's today, since I have no way to make food. I had a spicy chicken sandwich and it was delicious. Also ate a bento box full of various stuff that I tried and really liked. As long as it isn't raw, I think I'll like it.

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