The long flight was finally over. The other four students and me disembarked from the plane. From there we followed the path through our passport validation, picking up our suitcases, and going through customs. We all knew we were finally in Japan when there were announcements at the airport in Engrish. After getting through customs we were met by Waseda students from the international clubs Niji no Kai (Also known as the Rainbow Club) and WIC (Waseda International Club) and the resident director and program associate director of the CSU Japan program. Greedy and me introduced ourselves, and it was here Greedy found out the meaning of the term “Carnivorous Women”.
We still had other students to wait for on other flights, so I went about my business of getting my currency exchanged. I had to write down my name, where I was staying (A hotel at this point) and how much cash I was planning to exchange. Then using a magical formula, AKA the exchange rate plus a little extra for themselves, I received my first influx of Japanese funds, the Yen. The exchange rate was pretty crappy when I arrived, but what can you do in this current economic environment. With our main tasks at the moment complete, it was just a matter of waiting for whatever other CSU students to trickle here from other flights, Greedy and me kicked back for a bit and talked to the resident director for a while.
Finally, almost everyone had arrived that was going to arrive, and it was time to head to the hotel. We were going to be staying three days at a place called Hotel Sunroute Takadanobaba. To get there was about an hour bus trip into the heart of Tokyo! We got our luggage together and headed to the chartered bus. After some walking and talking, we loaded our stuff and hopped on the bus to our intended destination.
The CSU students were chatting with the Waseda students while being driven to the hotel. We were introducing ourselves and getting to know each other. Greedy and I decided to sit in the back of the bus and chat with some of the girls there. With the good conversation and the various sights out the window, time went by pretty quickly. It was on the bus that there was another indicator that I was finally in Japan. The bus was driving on the left side of the road rather than the right side like in the US. A small novelty to be sure, but nice none the less. Finally as we were nearing the hotel, our room arrangements were announced, so I had a temporary roommate for the next three days. With that we arrived, hauled our luggage inside, and checked into our rooms. We ate at Shakey’s Pizza in Japan to celebrate our arrival after we dropped off our bags at our hotel rooms. After we ate we went back to the hotel, for many that was the end of their day. But for me and some others, the night had just begun…