Sunday, April 11, 2010

Schools and Friendship Found!

It was a beautiful sunny day today in Toyota. The birds were singing, and outside it was a balmy 22 degrees Celcius. A more perfect day to try to find my schools I could not have chosen. So it was with a light heart that I stepped forth with my blue bag filled with snacks and water, ready for an exciting day of finding stuff. I had four schools on the docket for today, and finished one ahead with the help of my new friend Mie, who actually drove me to Higashiyama tonight after we had dinner. But I'll get to that later.

For now, we'll let the videos tell the story:

Ohata: Found this one in under a half an hour, only getting mildly confused once. In short, a win!
Ohata, Part 1

Ohata, Part 2
Nishi-Homi: This one was a bit of a challenge. Google Maps told me to make three lefts, and I thought I had done that, but I guess not, because I ended up going about a mile and a half down the wrong road before asking for directions, turning around and coming back. But eventually, Nishi-Homi was found!
Nishi-Homi Fail

Nishi-Homi Found
Ibo: The easiest of the lot. Less than five minutes from the Homi train station. I'd actually pretty much found this school before because I passed it on my way to my BOE meeting last week, but it was still good to find it so easily again.
Ibo Found!
Toyota Yogo: This is my special needs school. Having learned my lesson from Nishi-Homi, I asked the guy at the train station for directions before setting out. This was incredibly good because the directions Google gave me did not seem to match up with what I was told at the train station. I asked for directions one more time at a pharmacy, just to make sure I was on track, and I was, and soon after, Toyota Yogo was also found!
Toyota Yogo: Found!

This leads me to tonight and my dinner and hanging out with the very awesome Mie-Chan! I met Mie when I was lost trying to find a used bike store on Thursday. She happened to be parking as I was wandering around, looking for someone to ask for directions, and we had a wonderfully serindipitous conversation. What I didn't know at that time (but found out tonight at dinner) was that she had actually been driving along in the opposite direction when she saw me, saw that I looked lost and turned her car around and actually found me to help me out. I was totally blown away! And boy did we have an excellent time tonight. She's a super fun person, and I'm so glad to know her. Though Toyota City is dead at night, we managed to find stuff to do until midnight, including her driving me to Higashi Yama and pointing out the bus stops as we went. I couldn't ask for a better new friend!

Bonus: Higashi Yama – Found!

In addition, we did some Karaoke (including a duet of NagoriZake: there really was nothing else to do in Toyota after we were done eating), and had some wonderful conversations (shifting between English and Japanese). Got to try Umeboshi Onigiri (Pickled plum: not my favorite thing but it's a huge step up from Ikka). And Mie is a font of useful information about the area, like where to buy a printer close by, and what great cafes are in the area. Tonight was super relaxed and fun! Also, turns out we both have a common interest in clubbing, so next Saturday, we're going to Nagoya to check out a Regaeton festival (Raegaeton is like Latin Hip Hop) and hang out. I had such a good time with her, and I feel very excited to have a wonderful new friend. Mie's a great person (top notch) and I'm very happy to also get to know her better as we spend more time together here in Japan.

In short, another great day! It's funny, but this evening put the icing on the cake that lets me know I made the right decision to come here now instead of with the Jet Programme in August. The experiences I'm having now and the people I'm meeting here are really changing my life! And I'm having such good luck to be stumbling across so many wonderful people. This is the right place and time for me, and it's very exciting!

Bonus: Check my Facebook for Photos! Includes my new bike, pictures from the train as I was looking for my schools, banking angel Medina and new friend Mie-chan! (in process of being uploaded; I'll add link later...must sleep now...)