First day!

I’ve uploaded all the pictures I’ve taken so far to my mobileme gallery. Here is the link http://galllery.me.com/danamckee

We walked around Osaka today and went to the Umeda Sky Building. From the pictures, you can tell how high up we were. It’s an amazing view! I hope we can go back there at night sometime. Maybe if we get time before we head to Hirakata we’ll go back.

I feel like I’ve been buying nothing but drinks since I’ve been here. Since it’s so hot and we are walking everywhere it makes me so thirsty all the time. We did get to buy some cute souvenirs from the Umeda gift shop. We had amazing gyudon, fried beef with onions and rice, for lunch. It was super cheap too. We were the only non salarymen in there and the people working there weren’t sure if they could speak Japanese to us or not. So far my level of understanding Japanese has been better than my speaking. On our way back from the Umeda Building a Japanese guy around our age started to talk to us. He knew only a few words of english so I was really impressed that he talked to us in the first place. So far I’ve felt really intimidated to speak Japanese but it was nice to talk to the guy because he was our age and spoke pretty informally. Most places we’ve been to the people speak keigo to us, and Peter and I haven’t actually learned to speak that formally yet.

I keep trying to write about the plane ride and actually getting here but I was so tired after we got to hostel last night that I barely even remember getting off the plane and taking the train here. I’ve never been awake for that long and it definitely took its toll on me. The flights weren’t that bad though. I was pretty calm throughout all of them. Only during take off’s did I get nervous. The main flight to Tokyo was super relaxing. The plane itself was enormous! I’ve never been on a plane that big. The turbulence was really minimal too. Only during our first meal was there any bumpiness and it was only side to side turbulence. I really like flying JAL. The plane was nice, the food was actually good and the stewardess’ were incredibly nice. We each had our own T.V. with games and movies so it made things easier. It was really hard to sleep in the middle row since Peter and I didn’t really have anything to lean on. Jess was by the window behind us so she slept more than we did. I probably only slept three or four hours all together.

We had some confusion trying to get to our connections and we had to go through security at every airport we stop at. We also went through customs three times. Narita was by far the worst because the customs guy was really rude and got pissed that I couldn’t understand his slurred and dialectal Japanese. We had to wait for them to fill our some forms so we wouldn’t be stopped again at KIX. All in all the traveling is something that I’m happy to forgot. Leaving was also amazingly hard and emotional.

So far I’ve been pretty upset about leaving. When we got to the hostel last night it hit me. I was able to jump on the internet and skype Alan and that helped. Being out today and getting some sleep helped a lot as well. I’m sure it will go in cycles and culture shock will hit me soon too.

To sum everything up it’s been a lot to take in. Not necessarily in a good way or bad way because sometimes it goes back and forth. Either way I’m trying to stay optimistic and open to everything that is happening. Hopefully the next post won’t be so boring and bland either. Since as I’m writing this it’s about 4 in the afternoon here and that means it’s 3 in the morning back home. I’m starting to feel really tired. I haven’t read over this or spell checked it so I’m sorry if stuff doesn’t make sense!

Until next time~

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