Wednesday, August 23, 2006


The airport was easy because signs are in English and Japanese, and there are old-skool JETs at every hallway with signs and smiles. I was tired and my blood felt as if it had turned into cold menudo in my veins. Ewww....i got a mental image of bleeding cold menudo out of a wound and it made me throw up a little in my mouth. Man, i'm disgusting.
Anyway...ya, so i just wasnt feeling all that pleasant after a 12 hour flight. So to see these people so enthusiastic and peppy gave me an uncomfortable chill and I began to wonder where the hell I was. Everyone walked in a crooked line dragging their carry-on luggage toward customs, and I was behind a Japanese fellow who spoke excellent English who just so happened to my seat mate during the flight. There was a class of Japanese students aboard our flight so I assumed that he was one of their chaperones. We kept to ourselves, but he was very polite as to let me have the armrest for the entire flight. Anyway, he was ahead of me throughout the maze out of the airport. I began to wonder why he wasn't with his students. "What kinda teacher is this?" I began to wonder. Seems like something I would do, I joked to myself.

Since he was ahead of me in the line where they inspect our visas and passports, I heard him converse in, what seemed to me to be, perfect Japanese. I will admit that I felt cheated that I was not placed beside another JET like all the others were. I will also admit that I was jealous of the small talk that seem to be going on all over the plane except for my corner behind the wing. "It's cuz I'm not white", I whispered to myself and smiled at my own inside joke to myself. So by the time I passed through the doors that dropped us out into the wet, warm air of Tokyo, I was beat. Awake for over 24 hours, thirsty, angry at myself for making my carry-on so damn heavy, and burning with envy at how everyone else was in little groups of 2 and 3, watching each other's stuff as they scurried to the vending machines, bathrooms. I wanted cold green tea, I wanted to try the fancy bodet toilets, I wanted someone to watch out for my stuff.

This is when I decided to reach out to the strange, happy, welcoming Old SkooL JETs who just kept appearing 50 ft. after 50 ft. after 50 ft. I asked this girl with a British accent if she minded watching over my things while I quickly went to the bathroom. She smiled and said "of course, darling" the way that only a Brit can. I used the restroom, bought a tea and a mizu (water) and didn't know what to do first, congratulate myself for the wonderful insight of remembering to bring yen with me from America, or congratulate the Japanese for their superior tasting green tea. It was a toss up, but I chose myself because I am numero uno here, and I will continue to be.

Eventually, it was my turn to board the air-conditioned bus heading to Shinjuku, Tokyo, destination-Keio hotel. And who did I see sitting 3 seats behind me? Seat #47A--my courteous arm-rest buddy. He was a JET, and I think I might have learned a lesson, though I still can't really place what it is exactly. I'll keep you posted.

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