JET: The Beginning– Tokyo Orientation
With Japanese conferences there is a very set order and methodology. You must first have someone introduce the speaker who will be introducing the speaker who will open the opening ceremony. Then the person who was just introduced will introduce the person opening the opening ceremony. The person opening the opening ceremony must then introduce the person who will actually be doing the opening ceremony. The opening ceremony is then opened. The opening ceremony speaker speaks about how he is opening the ceremony, then the first person comes back and reintroduces the person who will reintroduce the person who opened the opening ceremony. This person then introduces the closer of the opening ceremony, who then closes the opening ceremony.
Now that the ceremony has officially been opened they may commence opening the actual ceremony with the introduction of the opener of the ceremony, etc, etc, etc. The actual ceremony itself tended to be some important official quickly saying a few words before he rushed off to some other, more important, ceremony where he was required to have face time. This was also the first taste of the mindset in Japan in which it doesn’t really matter if you do anything or have a purpose in general, it only matters if you show up.
Once the actual ceremony is complete then they may commence the opening of the closing ceremony, etc. This whole system drags out things that should take a few minutes into an exponentially longer amount of time. Remember that this wasn’t just this ceremony, as practically all big official meetings go through with this system. It sucks. Now repeat that for three days, and you have Tokyo Orientation.
Well, I’ll backtrack. Tokyo Orientation isn’t all ceremonies and such, as officially you are also required to go to some workshops and such. I personally went to one workshop then said screw it and explored Tokyo. I think that’s the way to go.
For one of the days which I skipped on out workshops, I felt in the mood to go eat lunch at one of Akihabara’s fabled maid cafes. On the way out I came across another fellow who had a similar idea of heading out into the city to see what it was all about. As he was a musician, we first stopped by Ochanomizu to look at the plethora of music shops there.
Once we had completed browsing around innumerable music stores, we found our way back to the station and hopped on our train just as it was about to depart. At least we thought it was our train.
This was the first occurance of an error I’d make every once in awhile during my stay in Japan, and that would be to accidentally hop on the wrong train. We had the correct line, only in our haste to get on it before it pulled away we didn’t realize that it was going in the incorrect direction. Furthermore, instead of looking at what stop the train was actually at, I was merely counting the number of times the train stopped, as I knew we should have gotten off at the second stop.
We got off at the second stop, but it most certainly wasn’t Akihabara. Once we sufficiently realized we were in the wrong part of the city, we went about enjoying ourselves anyway by heading over to the Tokyo Dome area. After being awed at many of the arcade games there (something I’m used to now), we headed over to the giant roller coaster that goes through the city.
At this time my disposable friend-for-a-day had to head back to the hotel, so I bid him farewell, never to see him again. Now that I was on my own, I was free to spend the 800 yen (~$7.50) to say that I rode a roller coaster through the middle of Tokyo and through a building. I did, and it was fun.
By now I had still yet to eat lunch, so off it was back to the train station to actually go to Akihabara and find a place to eat. Once I got there I didn’t really have much time anymore to look around, so it was off to the familiar face of KFC to eat some chicken. As a sidenote, the last time I went to Akihabara I came across the KFC again. It now has a special place in my heart. Oh the memories of the KFC.
Outside of skipping out on more workshops to go swimming with some people at the pool on the roof, and the going out eating/drinking/karaokeing with the new Fukushima people, not too terribly much else happened.
After a few days it was time to leave, so everyone woke up early, gethered downstairs, and off we were on the bus to see our new homes!