I got a big piece of really relieving news just a couple of days ago from Lindsay–well, two fold. Firstly (well, sucky for her), the Peace Corps isn’t placing her in the program she’d applied for (edit–they didn’t reject her; sorry, Lindsay!), so she’s staying in Ikeda, where she already has a job for the foreseeable future, so she’ll be around to help and to hang out with. Secondly, there’s going to be a 3rd ALT in Ikeda. Her name’s Hannah, she’s 21 and from the Pacific Northwest, and she’s even living in the same building as we are. She’d registered at Sudachi, so I sent her a private message and we’re now e-mailing back and forth. She’s just as relieved as I am that there’s another new person, and within such a close proximity. It’ll be great to have someone–or another person, rather–to make a fool out of myself with!

But as a result of Lindsay sticking around, it turns out she’s no longer my (or anyone’s) predecessor, and I’m not going to be at Ikeda Chuugakkou anymore–instead, I’m succeeding someone else, a guy named Dave who Lindsay’s mentioned a few times. He and his wife are moving to another area, or something like that, so I’ll be taking over his ALT position at Ikeda Daiichi Chuugakkou (Ikeda’s #1 Middle School–“daiichi” meaning “greatest,” or literally “big one,” and “chuugakkou” meaning “junior high school”–“chuu” is middle and “gakkou” is school). According to the maps Lindsay sent me, that one’s probably not within walking distance, so I may have to take the bus there daily. I was looking forward to being able to walk a lot…maybe I still can, if I give myself lots of time to get there. We’ll see.

Hmm…I’m totally putting off doing my telework, so I may as well write some more. The JETAASE held a JET orientation at the Atlanta Consulate General this past Saturday, so I went with my dad. It turns out that I know someone who’s going–Alexa, who didn’t actually go to my high school, but her dad was an administrator and would be a chaperone on our orchestra trips quite often, so since she played violin at her own school, she’d come along and we were all friends. She’s going to be in Niigata, I believe, so nowhere near me. I almost wish I could switch places because I love snow…but from what I’ve heard, Tokushima sounds like it’s going to be amazing. I also ran into 4 people from the Genki dinner, as well as Trevin, a guy who’d just finished 3 years on JET and enrolled as a grad student at Tech, so we had 1 or 2 Japanese classes together.

The way the thing was set up, we had an intro session (with a speaker of Japanese origin, an older man who gave us a talk on the differences between Japanese and American culture), then we split up for 4 “breakout sessions.” I went to ones focusing on teaching in junior high schools, minorities in Japan, budget, and women in Japan. Honestly, the only one that really helped me was the JHS one–I could have skipped the budget one (since they e-mailed all the Atlanta JETs the documentation that was given to us at the session anyway), or even the minority and women ones, because I already was familiar with pretty much everything they discussed (in theory–it’s going to be quite different when I get there, I’m sure)…but I wish I’d gone to one on traveling, because I don’t know anything about that–like, how booking reservations and whatnot might be different in eastern Asia than it is here, plus just getting around airports and using transportation systems in other countries (Japan included). I’m planning that trip to India in December (tickets are EXPENSIVE, though–around $2000 one-way! There are no direct flights from Tokushima or Osaka to Hyderabad; I have to connect in Singapore (I LOVE Changi Airport!) or Malaysia or Korea, and probably again in India, either in Delhi or Mumbai. I’m looking at either flying out of Tokushima’s airport, which would make me connect through Nagoya or something, or just taking buses/trains up to Osaka-ish and leaving from New Kansai International Airport (Shin Kansai Kokusai Kuukou–that’s fun to say)) and that would have come in handy. I’ll just have to wing it when I get there, I guess.

Oh, and the travel agent–JTB is the agency that’s booking our flights to Japan and our accommodations in Tokyo. We got an e-mail from them with a form we had to e-mail back–it’s the first time I’ve used my JET number (you’re assigned a number you use for all official JET purposes; it came in the 1st e-mail I received after hearing that I was accepted, and it took me a minute to remember that I actually had one). In it, though, we were able to specify our smoking preferences for the hotel and our food preferences for the plane–Muslim/Hindu/Vegetarian/Vegan/whatever. (I requested Hindu–while airline Indian food has nothing on the real thing, I’ll take what I can get.) I also ended up calling the agency and requesting an aisle seat (long legs + 12-hour flight = Not Good), and despite not being able to pronounce my name at all, the guy was quite friendly and said he’d do what he could. If worst comes to worst, I could beg someone to switch seats with me, maybe.

I’m putting off teleworking…my last day of work’s tomorrow, after which I’ll have 3 weeks to do all my packing and shopping. (There’s a Star Wars symphony in Cincinnati, which is just straight up I-75 from here…my friend Emily’s going, and I’m SO TEMPTED to go join her. I just don’t know if I’ll be able to, though, especially since my other grandmother’s flying in this week and I’ll want to spend a lot of time with her.) I grabbed dinner with my friend Hamza yesterday, and he reminded me about the humidity there and how I need to be careful that my violin doesn’t warp, which also reminded me that I need to get spare strings and other maintenance supplies. And sheet music. And other non-music-related stuff, too, but I’m totally forgetting…I’ll remember eventually, I hope.

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