Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Hobbit's Tale. Joke. It's a Drake's tale. And this Drake is headed to Asia!

     So....this was one ridiculous(ly epic) trip to Japan. At least, that's what I tell myself to make all the traveling seem less....*insert slightly unsavory but not completely awful adjective.* To start off the trip, I woke up at 5 am and Sarah drove me to the Front Runner station so I could return to Provo. (I had to spend one last day with little Max before he gets any less little. And Sarah and Johnny, of course.)
 From 6-8 am I was on the train listening to this lady tell me all about her trip to Japan  while I tried to work (fail.) Then it was time for my fantastic road trip with Whitney Gould. Essentially we just sang for 12 hours straight  (except for those 20 minutes we stopped for lunch.) This was actually the first time (that I remember at least) driving through southern Utah, so here are the mandatory pictures of the red rocks.
 Wooo. So pretty...and all that jazz. But let's focus on what's really important-which is this picture Whitney took of me driving which somehow has a stamp with her face on it inside.  So great! Her photography skills never cease to amaze.
     So we finally made it to her house in Thousand Oaks (after successfully running into all the traffic-hooray) and we got Korean food one last time together (well, the last time for the next 3 months anyway.) That night we didn't really sleep because I was preparing to leave the country in the morning (no big deal.) I was up until about 12:30 am and I didn't want to sleep because we had to wake up at 3 am to leave for the airport, but I couldn't do it. Around 12:30 am I crashed but no worries. Anyone who knows me might, at this point, be worrying that I will sleep through my alarm. Because, let's be honest, that's what I do. I sleep (through alarms. Like for finals, for meetings, etc. It's a skill I've been working on for years now.) But NOTHING was keeping me from Japan. I totally woke up on my own (my own=with an alarm but without anyone having to call.)

The next day was just one really long day of travel. (If I thought Wednesday was long, I was wrong.) I got to the airport around 4:30 am, had my first flight at 6:30, a layover in Canada, my next flight to Tokyo, and then once I made it to Tokyo I had another flight to Sapporo. The lady next to me on our super long flight was very friendly and we became friends and once we got to the airport her mothering instincts took over and she totally took care of me.  She showed me where to change my money, where customs was, where to find my next train, essentially she was a miracle.
 And then, because one miracle apparently wasn't enough, I ran into Natasha at the airport. It was crazy-we were on different flights and different airlines and yet we saw each other.
 So, I woke up on Thursday morning at 3 am (after sleeping so well the past 2 nights) and didn't make it to my host family's house until about 9 pm Friday night. Sick, right? (And not that new, hip way of using sick where it has some positive connotation.)

But, regardless of how long it took me to get here. I'M HERE! I've been waiting for this all of my life! Okay, well at least a solid half of my life.  I'm in my dream country. Except in dreams you generally understand what people are saying.  Turns out, sadly, people do not walk around with subtitles in real life. But it's cool, my Japanese has already gotten better (I hope.) I'm going on two days now in Japan, so here's just a few pictures. I haven't done anything too wild. Here's one of me and my new sisters. In case you can't tell, I'm the one in white (I know it's hard to tell us apart. Oh and I'm also the white one.) That's Sakura (14), Lemon (10) and Akane (18).
   Even without leaving the house, every day is an adventure, (just trying to speak the language is an adventure) but so you can experience this with me here's some pictures of the bathroom.  Don't even ask me what all these buttons are for on the toilet (that box on the left)- I have no idea. I have one that I use. It works. I'm sticking with it. The shower...well. Not the most accurate name. You get in the bath, but you actually wash your body while sitting on those stools out of the water (the frog face is my preferred one) and then rinse off with the little shower head.  So...that's happened. Twice.

Finally, today was my first day at church in Japan.  I never really expected to find myself playing the piano in Relief Society in JAPAN.  Also we had some choir practice thing after church and after it ended this lady tried to recruit me to the choir but I'm pretty sure it's not because she heard me singing during practice. In fact, she must have not heard me, otherwise, that invitation would so not be a thing. Anyway, today was a strange mixture of going through an entire lesson/sacrament without really understanding a thing and then having one translator replace another as soon as the spot was vacated. I'm so popular in Japan. I should just always be here.   I'm just going to wrap up here because this is already pretty long. But tomorrow is my first day of teaching (don't worry, my lesson plan is definitely not a thing at the moment) so wish me luck! My teaching partner won't get in until tomorrow or Tuesday.

Also, now that I have a fancy, new smart phone I have instragram and snapchat (I'm so high-tech.) So if anyone wants extra pictures of Japan, just find me. Just look for Laura Drake and with snap chat I think it's drake-san.
And yes, this is everything I wanted and more. So great.   Bucket list here I come.