The past few days have been a whirlwind.
On Wednesday we stayed the night in Detroit and then boarded our plane for Tokyo on Thursday morning. The plane ride was a little over 13 hours, but the time passed by really quickly. Caleb and I each watched about four movies, and neither of us slept. (That’s a lie. I slept for about an hour.) The food wasn’t bad either, and we enjoyed a little bit of pork and rice for our final meal before entering Japan.
I just have to stop and say that once again, Jesus is blessing this trip/move a thousand times over.
We got off the plane and didn’t feel tired, made it through customs without any problems, and all of our luggage arrived safely without any rips or spills. Three Japanese teachers met us after we passed through security and got our official residency cards, and we piled all of our luggage into one van and hopped into a second van for a three hour drive to Tamura.
After about an hour and a half, we stopped at a truck stop for ramen. You choose what dish you want, and pay for it in a vending machine. Then, you get a ticket and bring it to the counter where they make your order. I got the udon noodles with tempura, and if a truck stop can make noodles that good, I can’t wait to go to an actual ramen restaurant. It was the perfect first meal to have in Japan – especially after eating three plane meals & because it ended up being a really cold night.
From the truck stop we drove another 20 minutes to our apartments. The other teachers live in an apartment block together, but Caleb and I live in the”Pure House” apartment block, which is thankfully only about a five minute walk from everyone else & from the school where I’ll be working.
When we walked in the door we were welcomed by beautiful flowers, bread, milk, orange juice, bananas, and strawberries, and found surprises in every nook and cranny. Things that we thought we would need to buy were already there waiting for us, and we were able to crash after our long journey.
Saturday morning (Friday night for all of you in America), we woke up early and started rearranging our apartment. Our apartment is so much bigger than we thought it was going to be! We have two bedrooms, a nice sized kitchen, and a bathroom with a washer and dryer unit. Our kitchen & bathroom sinks are bigger than the ones in Pennsylvania, and we no longer have to leave the house to do laundry. How awesome is that?
Once we finish decorating our space we’ll give everyone the grand tour. 🙂
After taking the morning to unpack and finally move in, we met the rest of the team for conveyor belt sushi. You’re able to take whatever plates of sushi you want off of the conveyor belt, but can also order from a menu which is on a screen next to each table. When you order from the menu, they send your order out on a mini sushi bullet train. Along with sushi there were juice boxes, fish nuggets with french fries, takoyaki, and bowls of wasabi packets that would pass by on the conveyor belt. We ate about 19 plates between the two of us, and even ordered a sweet custard that reminded us a lot of flan.
Last night we had dinner with the rest of the team at Adam & Celeste’s apartment. Adam and Celeste are the team leaders, and have been so helpful and hospitable towards us since we arrived. Everyone has made us feel so welcomed which has helped a lot when realizing that this is our new home for the next few years.
This morning we experienced our first church service at the Funehiki church. The church is currently in the planning stages of building actual building for their services, but for now they meet in one of the classrooms of the Wakakusa English school. It was overwhelming in the sense that everything was in Japanese, but a great motivator to learn Japanese as best we can. We were given copies of the hymns that they sang, and I hope to translate them so that I can sing along next Sunday. I wish that I could tell you what the sermon was about, or what was prayed over the small congregation, but I can’t. What I can tell you is that God can move anywhere, and that He is wherever His believers are. This morning as Encho Sensei prayed, I prayed along in my heart for our new home, and for the ability to make some sort of impact while we are here.
At the end of the service the team gave self introductions. We feel more confident each time we give our self introductions, and hope to start taking Japanese language classes very soon.
Tomorrow we have more orientation to go through, and we’ll have a better understanding of our class schedules as well as what night classes we’re expected to teach. This next week we’ll also be meeting with the Mayor and the Board of Education, and hope to make a great first impression.
Hopefully we’ll be able to do a little more exploring this week & will have time to post a few pictures of our apartment and the city itself.
- Pray that we continue to feel rested. We start our new jobs on Wednesday, and need to be as alert as possible.
- Pray for the church that they will be able to fulfill their dream of having an actual church building.
- Pray that we’ll be able to learn Japanese quickly – going to the grocery store is a bit more difficult now, and I really want to start cooking again! We found a few new Japanese recipes we want to try – hopefully we’ll be able to find everything we need.
- Pray that we’ll be able to find decorations for our apartment at a reasonable price – the first thing on our list of apartment furnishings is a new set of curtains. We also want to turn our second bedroom into an entertainment/living room area, so we are currently on the search for a couch. We also want to buy a couple of bikes so that we can get to work quickly & don’t die from rice overload.