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September 2003 - I've Arrived in Tottori, Japan

After a very hectic week of training at the AEON West headquarters in Okayama, I arrived in Tottori, Japan.  Training week was crazy busy, but kinda funny.  Our dorm was like Gilligan's Island--no TV, Internet, or any connection to the outside world.  We were lucky to have running water in that place.  The 2 trainers were really friendly and supportive, so they turned the training into a beneficial learning experience.  I left Okayama feeling better prepared than I had expected to be.  We each taught 3 full-length classes to real Japanese students.  I have yet to use the monkey puppet I love so much because he's still in LA.  Plus, I'm not sure if I can work him in cuz I'm supposed to encourage the students to talk to each other (and not a freakin' monkey puppet).
Tottori is a quaint town with loads of charm.  I guess you could say it's kinda like a Japanese Santa Barbara with a touch of neon.  The people are very friendly, but they all speak waaaaaay too fast.  I don't know how they understand each other!
My coworkers are all incredibly friendly, but I just met them, so of course they're friendly.  Let's stay tuned on that one...
Jennifer (the woman I'm replacing) took me on a tour of Tottori today.  Everything is convenient, so I don't think the lack of a car will be an issue.  My apartment to be has a massive gym next to it as well as a small Shinto shrine (how's that for culture?).  The apartment itself is REALLY small (the kitchen is literally in the entrance hallway), but the building is relatively new and modern.  At least I have a balcony with a view of the river.  I move in on Thursday, and for now I'm staying at Super Hotel.  Nice place--their continental breakfast includes bread, sushi rolls, and miso soup.  Yeah, I'm definitely in Japan.
I start working on Wednesday (with Jennifer), then I'm on my own on Thursday.  Monday is my day off, and Tuesday is a national holiday (I have a Tues-Sat schedule).  The holiday is kinda bad cuz it's one less day I get to work with Jennifer on transitioning everything.  Oh well.  Tuesday night is my welcome party and Jennifer's farewell party.  I think we're going to a karaoke bar.  At least I am well-rehearsed from the LA farewell party with my coworkers!

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