the first week…

September 27, 2009

I can’t believe how quickly a week went by in Tokyo.  I’m sorry I haven’t updated any sooner, and now I must pay the consequences.  There is SOOOO much to say about EVERYTHING.  First, before I even arrived in Tokyo, the traveling there was quite an ordeal.  So here it goes…

Sept 20th. Trying to get to JFK airport at 3am is not fun at all.  First, for some reason the Holland tunnel was closed off.  Then there was crazy detours to get to the Lincoln tunnel.  I began to worry that I would not even be able to get into NY.  Then finally, we arrived in NY and thanks to my dad’s awesome navigation skills (without a GPS I might add), we were able to route ourselves to JFK, only to find that they wouldn’t start checking in until 4:30 and that we’ve arrived about 20 minutes early.  Huge sigh of relief.  My parents chilled w/ me, did our super long good byes, and then they left.  I was worried about my luggage, but one was exactly 50 lbs and the other was 49.5 lbs.  Another huge sigh of relief.  I get into the airplane and I’m not feeling too well.  45 minute flight to Washington DC (which I originally thought was Washington and I wondered why my flight was so short).  Then a 5 hour layover until my flight to Tokyo.  From DC to Tokyo I was coughing and blowing my nose like crazy.  Some around me even put on those crazy masks to shield themselves from my disease.  I didn’t know how to change the languages on movies and was stuck only being able to watch “Taken” again (awesome movie).  Arrive in Tokyo to have forgotten my address in Tokyo and the woman gave me a hard time about it.  Then I had no more space in my passport either, which she gave me even more hard time about.  She eventually put my visa onto the “amendment section”, not a real page in my visa portion of the passport.  Woops.  Hope that doesn’t get me in trouble in the future.  I met Jess Tekawa a girl who is joining Cru’s international staff and  took the bus together to Kichijoji to meet Cam, and the guys on my team (AJ, Ariel, and Evan).  Went to my apartment to meet the rest of my team in Japan (Lyndsey and Maria) who warmly welcomed me into my new humble abode for the year.  Yay.  Excited but very tired and just passed out in the living room.

Sept 21st.  My team brought me out to go exploring for my birthday!  And it was amazing to be able to explore Tokyo on my birthday.  We explored around Mitaka (the area where we live), Kichijoji, and Shinjuku.  I began learning about Japanese norms, especially NO jaywalking (and they really mean it).  Also, hardcore recycling.  I had to carry around my coffee cup for a couple hours because I couldn’t find any paper recycling, only aluminum and plastic.  They then treated me out to all you can eat Shabu Shabu (Japanese hot pot).  It was absolutely delicious.  Then went to the girl’s apartment in Iidabashi, where they surprised me with a cake.  Okay, there’s a story behind this.  After eating all you can eat shabu shabu, my stomach was not very happy.  I had to go to the bathroom big time, and once I arrived at the girls place I booked it into the bathroom.  I was sitting in their happily until Maria (our team leader) asked me how much longer I would be.  Awkward question.  Then I came out and saw the cake.  Apparently, before I came out, they lit the candles too early, and since they were trick candles, they weren’t able to blow them out either.  So they just kept burning and burning until it just burnt the cake.  By the time I was out, all the trick candles were burnt out (and the cake slightly burnt) and all that remained were normal candles.  Woops.  But HUGE thanks to my team!!! It made me feel so special =) I have the best team I could ask for.

Sept 22nd @ 23rd.  We had a slumber party at the Campus Crusade Student Center in Mitaka.  I was able to meet some students for the first time from Toyo University!!!  It was awesome being able to meet them and some of the staff.  I must say, the staff here are AWESOME.  They are super hilarious and I just can’t get enough of them.  We played a bunch of crazy japanese games (variations of the korean bunny bunny game).  They were absolutely hilarious.  Then Atsushi busted out the N64!!  I rocked everyone in Smash Brothers and then we played some Mario Kart 64.  Afterwards, Atsushi went even more old school and busted out the Famicom (Japanese Nintendo).  I watched him play some Megaman 4 and another game called “iiki” which was awesome.  I slept super early since I was still exhausted from the day before.  The following morning we played even more crazy japanese games, as well as “blockus” and rummikub.  Ate some awesome ramen that night.

Sept 24th.  I was able to meet the Tokyo West side staff as well as students (the side that I’ll be working on) at a fun little “kick off” meeting.  I was able to hear about some of the students summers and their ministry that they did.  However, the highlight was meeting Hyung-san.  He’s korean and only speaks korean and japanese, but was really excited to talk to me.  I didn’t understand a word he said except for one KEY part.  “Tokyo Game Show”.  I got SUPER pumped that I finally met a student who knew about it and would bring me along.  We exchanged contacts and just talked about how awesome it would be.  Oh, and I got my bicycle too.  Sweet.

Sept 25th.  Didn’t do much besides grocery shopping and being super super excited for the Tokyo Game Show.

Sept 26th.  TOKYO GAME SHOW!!!! AHHHHH!!!  Although the communication between Hyung-san and I were SEVERELY limited (my japanese is awful and he doesn’t even know any english), we were able to connect through our love for video games.  Evan, Ariel, and AJ tagged along as well.  I was expecting a lot of people to be cosplaying, so I wore my Waldo (or Wally in Japan) costume.  Didn’t see many people cosplaying while I was going there so I was getting a little bummed out, but once I was actually IN, there were a BUNCH.  And apparently there was a “cosplay” corner that everyone went to.  I went there and it was really crazy.  The creativity these Japanese people have are remarkable.  Saw a ton of Final Fantasy 7 and 8 characters.  Kingdom hearts and Metal gear solid characters were also big hits.  Took a bunch of pictures with them.  However, the real jewels was the event itself.  There was literally thousands of people at TGS.  The lines to try the games were almost all over 2 hours long.  I decided it wasn’t worth it and rather just explored around to all the booths trying to get all the free swag I could get.  The largest crowds were around Konami and Square Enix.  It was crazy trying to get passed them.  In a small corner was “behemoth” games (creators of Castle Crashers).  I got a poster of Castle Crashers signed by the artist of the game.  One of the guys from Mega64 was also there just chilling w/ them.  However, the BEST part was being able to see…HIDEO KOJIMA!!!  I can’t believe I saw him in person.  I didn’t understand a word he was saying, but it was awesome.  I got some REALLY sweet Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker posters.  I left TGS 09′ as a very happy person.

Sept 27th.  I went to New Hope church which was really cool.  I met Peter again, an australian guy who lived in the YWAM apartments with us last year when I was in Osaka.  Small world!!!  Then we had team meetings and such and got some great ice cream from Hiroshi.

I wish I could be much more detailed, but it’s getting really late and I’m getting tired.  As you can probably tell, my first week in Tokyo was absolutely nuts.  School hasn’t started in Japan yet so I’ve been having so much free time to explore, but once it starts on October 1st, things are going to get really busy.  I’ll hopefully post up my pictures soon before that happens.  I’ll probably upload them on facebook since it’s much easier that way.  In the mean time, please keep me up to date with everything back at home!!!

❤ mike

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