I (Kelly) had the opportunity to help new JET ALT's arrive in Tokyo last week. My position was Tokyo Orientation Assistant (TOA) and I learned recently, that about 1000 JETs apply every year and only 125 or so, get the job! That was good for the self-esteem. But, being here with a family, automatically puts me in a "specialized demographic", so they practically jumped at my application for helping out with the Family JETs workshop in Tokyo.
I arrived on Saturday, and the TOA's all stuffed packages for the conference and went on to stay at Narita (Tokyo Airport) Hospitality Inn for one night. Sunday was spent receiving new JETs off planes and leading them through customs and several check points to waiting buses. 1000 new JETs arrived that day! From there we all went to the Keio Plaza Hotel (5 star) for the rest of the time. It is in Shinjuku, Tokyo and right next to the hotel that "Lost in Translation" was shot at. The conference was Monday and Tuesday - full of workshops and ceremonies and exhibitions etc. Wednesday we took the newbies home that were going to our own prefecture. Being from Gifu, we took the bullet train (Shinkansen).
Tuesday evening was Embassy Night. Most countries invited the new JETs to a reception held at their own countries embassy (Except for the Americans...there's too many of them!). Last year I didn't get to go because of a typhoon. All embassy nights were cancelled. So, this year I got to go!

Me, the Canadian Flag and the Tokyo Skyline

Canadian Flag with Tokyo Tower in the background. (Same colours :-) )

The "JET Box". JETs can order this for 2 weeks from the Embassy to teach their classes about Canada.

Etienne, the 2nd Secretary to the Consul-General (or something close to that), at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, welcoming us to Japan.
(later, another official got up to the podium and basically told us that their job was to help us if we got sent to prison here...so be carefull when smoking marijuana! Not even a "don't do drugs". I couldn't believe it!)

"The Wave"
A beautiful sculpture at the embassy.

Another Canadian Flag moment with a wider angle of the Tokyo skyline.

An inukshuk at the Canadian Embassy. (maybe pointing the way to Canada?). The trees behind belong to the grounds of the Imperial Palace where the Emporer lives. Location, location, location! I learned last week that Canada once had an opportunity to sell this building and pay off the national debt 10 times over! Of course, it wouldn't do to slight the Emperor of Japan like that. ;-) Apparently, New Zealand has a good location as well. They sold their tennis court and paid off their national debt!

Tokyo Metropolitin Government Building

These 2 pictures are the top and bottom of the same building. This was the view outside my hotel window at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

After the Embassy Night, some fellow TOA's and I found a little Irish Pub in Shinjuku called "The Dubliners". What a hoot. I listened to a Brit and a Scot hurl insults at one another (good-naturedly, of course) till the wee hours of the morning.
The girl on the left was in the Royal Navy and drove a frigate before coming to Japan.
Laura, salutes to you for cleavin' a yacht in two! Unbelievable! :-)


Your Mom said...

Great pics Kelly. Good to see your smilin face!!
Do you keep in touch with all the newbies in Gifu? If they have questions etc., are you the one who is available to them? Does that involve travel around Gifu?
(Just some questions that came to mind)

Vertigo said...

Yep, I am keeping in touch with the new girls from my region. But out of all the 60 some new ALT's in Gifu that only amounts to about 5 people. There are several girls in my region who are 2nd and 3rd years and I am available to them too. I have a partner in crime for the male variety of ALTs. His name is Josh and he's from Austin, Texas. Great guy!
We are their first line of defense for questions and problems. Mostly we just point them in the right direction..we are a resource.
We are regionally based so, no there is no travel involved except for our prefectural (provincial) orientation next week. It is an overnighter but only a 10 minute train ride from here...so that doesn't really count ;-).