I have debated whether or not to allow this blog to also include more about personal life and thoughts, or if I should just keep it strictly related to Japanese culture and my experiences related directly to my work as an ALT. This is probably due to the fact that this is not my first time living in Japan, but I find myself less shocked about my surroundings and experiences and therefore have become less inclined to talk strictly about “culture shock” and matters related to it. Therefore, this blog is probably going to jump around from more formal entries about Japan (mostly what has appeared in this blog until now), to more “diary” (and I use the term kind of loosely) like entries where I just talk about what has been going on or whatever it is I feel like talking about (although, I suppose that the proper word would be “write” and “writing”).
Anyway, I think I would like to start today off with a statement: I am way too tired for my own good.
Seriously, I woke up this morning almost 20 minutes later than usual and it took me twice as long to get ready. Hardly ate any breakfast because my stomach was still asleep and I think I have had 4 or 5 cups of coffee and it is only noon (when I wrote that sentence).
What brought on all this sudden tiredness? Well, I can hardly call it a “bad tired” but it is more along the lines of a “good tired.” Still, however you put it, I am tired. You know it is bad when you show up for work and all your co-workers ask you if you are feeling ok because you have the appearance of a walking zombie. Ok, so none of my teachers called me a zombie, but that is how I felt the entire time I was at work. The English teachers were kind and just gave me desk work instead of insisting that I go to class and deal with overly energetic junior high school students.
Anyway, about this “good tired.” So, I mentioned this a few posts back (and time wise a few weeks back), but my mom had come to Japan to visit. I say “had” because as of yesterday at 4:30 pm (originally scheduled for 4:00 pm) she was on an airplane to take her back to the States after a two week visit.
My previous post I mentioned that I hardly got any sleep because I was out partying with my junior high school teachers. Well, the next day it was off to Narita and the airport to pick up my mom. Jun’s family was kind enough to drive the two of us there and even brought a wheel chair for my mom – her legs and knees have not been doing so well recently. We arrived about an half hour before her flight was supposed to land, so Jun and I did a quick shopping trip to buy my mom some of the snacks she had really liked when she visited Japan before.
Soon, her plane had landed – or at least we thought it had. Jun and I returned to the arrival area to see that my mom’s plane was “arriving” and it continued to be “arriving” for another two hours. I became concerned because I did not know if arriving meant she was on the ground or still in the air, and many of the other flights from America had already come and gone. With swine flu causing all sorts of chaos and the Japanese Health Department freaking out, I was not even sure if her flight had been allowed to land or if anyone was allowed to leave the plane because some poor soul on her plane had a fever. If even one person on any airplane showed any signs of the flu, no one was allowed to enter the country. Jun went and asked information about the flight, to which they responded “international flights may take up to one hour before the passengers are allowed to exit the aircraft.” Too bad it had already been close to two hours at this point… So, here I am wondering what is going on, Jun is trying to get information out of the staff who seem to know just about as much as we did, and Jun’s sister continues to ask me with a two minute frequency if my mom is coming or not.
Finally, despite the plane’s status still being listed as “arriving,” my mom appeared. I was a little sad because I had not been expecting her to come waddling out of the gate until her plane’s status changed to “Customs” or to something that made more sense than “arriving.” What had taken so long was that the Japanese Health Department had to physically scan every individual on every single plane to check and see whether or not passengers were potential carriers of the swine flu. Apparently the health crews were equipped with gas masks – sounds like something from Resident Evil if you ask me. There were only two crews available for all international flights…way to go guys.
More to come later…but right now I just want to curl up and go to sleep…