My very first day in Japan, ever.
Something I had quite literally dreamt about since I was just a wee little kid.
My heart soared high with anticipation and curiosity boarding the plane.
How would I adjust?
What would I come to love about the country?
What would drive me nuts?
All things to be discovered over the months and years to follow.
Upon arriving at Narita airport, my boss, Scott, picked me up from the airport.
I did not get the same courtesy for my departure, btw. ;)
Driving along foreign roads, seated in the passenger's seat (on the left) we discussed my upcoming career, potential culture shock, linguistic challenges, and Scott's proud stance as a Jewish American business man. Because, you know, nothing says "Welcome!" like discussing a traditionally verboten topic of conversation with someone you've only ever really Skyped with a handful of times. XD
Leaving for Japan was bittersweet. I had left the country twice before; visiting London in 2005 and spending a day or two in Tijuana sometime around 2009 or 2010, but both trips were brief. At the time, I had an unstable ex-boyfriend who had degenerated to stalking and threatening me, which helped motivate me in my decision to get out of dodge, but at the same time a tentative sort of thing had developed between me and a coworker, which was effectively neutered before it could begin by my leaving. While coworker and I remained friends and kept in touch up until my eventual return to the US, we had both changed and he was simply unable to cope with the reality of me in person anymore. At the time, I had no way of knowing what the outcome of it would be, and when I opened my e-mail for the first time in Japan to discover an enthusiastic and nervous letter from him I swooned in jubilant surprise.
The first day felt so strange: only the day before I had said farewell to my friends and loved ones, dropped off in my own vehicle by my dad and best friends at the familiarity of McCarran Airport. Suddenly I was here, in a country I had always hoped to visit, preparing to embark on a new leg of my career and new chapter of my life. A fresh start.
Driving through my new hometown, it was hard to believe this was real.
A familiar beacon of convenience.
A delicious cheesy shrimp and rice dish from 711. Things are already looking good!
FamilyMart, another convenience store, with a billiard's hall above.
This small structure was located along a walking path not far from my apartment. This path extended from my neighborhood to the other side of town, meaning I could easily follow the path to get to the library, City Hall, fresh market and more!
One of thousands of Vending machines populating Japan.
Suntory Boss is the boss of them all since 1992!
Let's get Crunky!
I was surprised by the popularity of croissants, too. This one was on sale at 711!
How about adding some creamy powder Creap to your day?
I found this shark that my friend Chewy and I had located on Google Maps only a couple days before when trying to find the apartment I'd be living in!
My first high-tech toilet ^^
Day one of many.
Trepidation and anticipation ran high.
I was taken to my apartment and allowed to settle in, trying to let the weight of the day really sink it through the haze of jet lag.