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E-mail to Anna
August 9 , 2002: Arriving in Naru

Well, I've finally arrived. I'm here on my little island, Naru, in the middle of the tropical Pacific Ocean. It's been a crazy week of traveling and orientations and I've just started settling into my very small apartment (complete with tatami mats and a futon).

As I write I am sitting in the teacher's room at my school. It's quiet, as it is both a Saturday and summer vacation, yet there are still teachers and students here.

Tokyo: Shinjuko Station area
One of the smaller villages on Naru.

I arrived in Naru yesterday evening via ferry and jetfoil. I had been in Nagasaki for 2 days after 3 days in Tokyo. Tokyo is wild and everything you would expect—so many people, neon lights, and electronics boutiques and karaoke places everywhere you look. You will be pleased to know that, yes, I did sing a bit of karaoke with other JETs from my prefecture. What a night that was.

Arriving in Nagasaki was a bit of a shock to the system. After being covered in the smog of Tokyo, I got off the plane in paradise. Huge, rolling, lush hills set against the aqua Pacific. Palm trees and fresh pineapple. Wonderful. Then, after spending two days in a hotel, I was ushered away via "fast boat" to Fukue island and then to Naru by one of the English teachers at the high school.

You should have seen the two of us—me with a huge bag of books and my purse, lugging a 45 pound pack and her wheeling my enormous 75 pound suitcase. I must have said 'Sumimasen, tottemo omoi desu ne!' (sorry it's so heavy!) a hundred times over the course of our voyage. When we arrived at the port—me, sweaty and tired—we were greeted by the principal, vice principal, and 6-8 teachers waiting expectantly on shore. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. As I walked the plank, they all applauded.

I was escorted to my new apartment where I showered, changed and went to my kocho-sensei (principle's) house for dinner. It was a wonderful and elaborate Japanese meal complete with Kirin and sake. He told me that he and his wife would be my Japanese Mama and Papa and that I had nothing to worry about. He also told me that I am the first female JET in Naru and that I should not go to eat alone right now because the fishermen are too eager to meet me. I'm not sure what I think of that.

Anyway... I was just escorted around to meet some of the students, who were very reluctant to talk with me. As soon as I left the room, though, the room erupted with nervous laughter and applause. This is going to take some getting used to.

It is a sunny and beautiful day here in this paradise. I hope to take a walk/bike ride to see more of the town today, schedule permitting.

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2002 North Country Public Radio, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York 13617-1475