Arriving at the dorms

So yesterday we made the throughly exhausting trip from Osaka to our school in Hirakata. In the last post I mentioned that we came here the day before this, but that was without our luggage and not during the hottest time of the day. We woke up that morning early as always. I was in kind of a rush since the showers were full and I had to wait for one. So after getting all my stuff packed up we had about an hour before we had to check out. Since the day before Mister Donut turned out to be quick and filling, we decided to go there again. The girl who was ringing me up spoke all keigo to me, but I could figured out what she asked me from understanding bits and pieces. She asked if I had a point card and gave me once when I said no and that I would like one. It’s super cute card that gives me points to trade in for little souvenirs. There is a Mister Donut at the Hirakata station, so I’ll have to get points while I’m here.

After barely getting our luggage down five flights of stairs with falling and breaking a limb, we checked out and headed to the Fukushima station around the corner. Here is where things got insanely hard. First we had to get our luggage through the super tiny gates. So we had to maneuver our way through that. Then came two long flights of stairs. I’ll say that without Peter being with me to move my luggage I may have passed out from heat stroke. He helped me take my heavier bag up the stairs while I traded for his much lighter carry on. He still had two big and heavy bags of his own to carry around too, so I’m glad he didn’t mind helping me out. Once on the train we cooled down for a few stops and switched over to the next and last train we needed to take. The machine gate ate my ticket so we flagged down a attendant and attempted to explain in our child-like Japanese what had happened. She knew what we wanted before we even asked though and took mention of all the luggage we had and told us about an elevator around the corner. Nothing could have sounded better at that moment. So we grabbed one of the quick trains to Hirakata and from there the hardest part was over. It may not sound all that bad, but carrying that luggage was not easy. Fifty pounds on each arm, ten/fifteen extra pounds on my back, trying not to run into anyone, and trying to run through the stations to get on the right trains. At least we don’t have to do it again until December, and by then it won’t be boiling lava hot outside.

Once we got off on our stop we had to find a taxi to take us to our dorms. All three of us are in different dorms and because we had so much luggage we had to take our own taxi. It cost around sixteen dollars, which is the most I’ve spent here so far. But it wouldn’t have been physically possible to walk the forty five to fifty minute distance on a near non-existant Japanese street with all of our luggage.

My dorm is seminar house 3 and it’s right next dorm to seminar house 2, which is where Jess is staying. Seminar house 1 is right behind us and seminar house 4 is across the park. When I got there the RA showed me and two other people around and explained rules and whatnot. My suite is on the first floor and is right next to the entrance. I also found out that I have a Japanese roommate! I requested one on my application and I’m happy it worked out. She won’t be here until mid-September though, since the Japanese semester starts later than ours does. So for now I have the room to myself. When I got here none of the six other girls had checked in yet. I started unpacking and couldn’t figure out how to get my computer on the internet. Once I was finished I figured I’d go find Jess and Peter, but Tim and Jess found me first. Unfortunately though they aren’t letting us visit other seminar houses until after orientation is over in a week. So we are kind of cut off from people we know unless we happen to be out walking around. Each house has a man and women that oversee the house; Known as okaasan and otousan. They are basically the wardens, which come to find out is pretty accurate in the case of my okaasan. I had heard she was strict before picking my dorm but I didn’t think too much of it. She was really reluctant to call my room when Tim and Jess came to find me. The other seminar houses have guests walking through them and nobody minds. I don’t really mind the okaasan being strict to a certain extent. I just wish it was okay for at least other international students to come find their friends in other dorms.

Anyway, the three of us headed over to Peter’s dorm across the park. We grabbed him and met some other people at his dorm. SH4 is the biggest and newest dorm so it already had a ton of people checked in there. We figured we would need food so we walked to the hundred yen store we visited yesterday. I bought enough food to tide me over for a few days plus some chopsticks. Until the end of orientation we can’t cook anything in our dorms. We each have a cabinet with utensil’s that we can access at that point. For now we can only boil water, use the microwave and put things in the fridge.

After coming back I set up my internet and got skype running. I talked to Alan and my mom which was really nice to finally do with a stable internet connection. Around 6:45 the sun was going down so I messaged Peter and him and I went walking around the park. We took pictures and chatted. We met a few other students walking around as well. For the most part it was nice to be outside when it wasn’t super hot out and we didn’t have to be anywhere. After being in the busy city of Osaka, the more laid back Hirakata is nice.

When I came back, three of my roommates had checked in so I chatted with them for a while. All of the girls in my suite are Americans except my roommate. The two girls I did get to talk to a bit more are from New York and North Carolina. Both seem nice.

After that I talked some more on skype and finally went to bed!

I know these last two entries have been pretty long. But like Peter mentioned to me, the blog should be a collection of the thoughts and series of events you want to remember. You put the details that you want to remember in it. Maybe some of my entries won’t be as long, maybe some will be just as long as this. Hopefully anyone reading this doesn’t mind the longer entries.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Denise
    Aug 29, 2010 @ 14:22:08

    Hi Dana –
    I love reading any of your blog…..long or short…spell checked or not! So glad you finally arrived at the dorm. Now things will hopefully become if not “normal” then pretty standard. Your Mom told me about the skyping…very cool! She loved it. Sounds like you are ready to settle in and get to work. Nice that you have your room alone for a bit so you can have a bit of privacy as you get settled. Glad you have a stict warden too! LOL
    So……the real adventure truly begins now. When do your classes start?
    Think about you often and know you are going to do awesome!
    xoxo Nise


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