Aug 10 and 11
The next two days were spent at Gunma orientation in Maebashi; essentially my first business trip in Japan. This was the third orientation I had been to, and by this point I was honestly quite oriented out. It was much of the same stuff we had learned, with some things specific to life in Gunma, but one of the things I remember most vividly was the extreme stuffiness inside the orientation hall. There was very little ventilation and no A/C, which when combined with around 65 people in a medium sized room creates an environment not all too dissimilar from a sauna.
Some refreshment was absolutely necessary. Fitting name too..
There was some awesome stuff at the orientation though, such as cultural demonstrations of the Kato and Shimasen, as well as Shiatsu massage and Karate.
After the orientation was another welcoming ceremony. All the Gunma JETs met the important people from the International Affairs division of the local government who coordinate the placement of the JETs in Gunma. It was an open bar with lots of finger foods so I went around from table to table trying to hunt down the remaining pieces of good sushi.
While I was in the middle of searching for one final maguro sushi (tuna), my prefectural advisor beckoned me over to meet a couple very important people from the International Affairs division, as I had earlier expressed some interest in becoming the CIR (Coordinator for International Relations) for the Gunma JETs. The good gentleman and lady spoke virtually no english, but somehow I managed to carry on a short conversation with the both of them in Japanese.
Ah..a rare picture of myself on this blog. Originally I wasn`t sure if I was going to reveal my handsome visage, but since I linked the video of my apartment, I guess there`s no point in remaining coy about it huh?
At the end of the second day of orientation, I was picked up by my supervisor, and we went shopping for some stuff for my place. I picked up a bike, lamp, ricecooker, kotatsu, and some groceries and the BOE picked up the tab. I`d post pictures but they`re all shown in the video of my apartment several posts back anyways. I`m really grateful though. My workplace is exceedingly generous.
When I got home and finished building all the stuff and putting away the boxes, Ken dropped by and we went to an Izakaya (japanese bar) literally across the street. I tried Nato (which is a type of fermented bean dish) for the first (and last) time, upon the urging of the owner of the bar, who was rumoured to have had some high level connections to the Yakuza. Not wanting to be rude and in concern for my personal safety, I choked down the nato and washed it down with some very expensive sake, also courtesy of the boss.