I have been wanting to write this for a while. I have been reluctant because of the content, but I feel that there was enough time since I have since left the church that I can write this. If I offend you or make you upset, then you don't have to read this website anymore.
Ever since I was in Junior high school, I have always wanted to be a part of the worship team. I knew that I was able to perform at least the music part. I was playing piano everyday for my own pleasure. I was too nervous to ask to audition or join the JH worship team. I figured you had to be a grand master or have some educational background in music before anyone could play in the main service.
The more I saw people I knew play the piano during JH worship service, the more I wanted to be a part of it.
My mother always told me that I need to use my tallents for God's glory. Those words are what sparked the motivation to keep practicing piano so that I could one day join the worship team. It wasn't until I wrote and performed a song my junior year of high school, that people took notice of my talents.
I started getting asked to play piano for the JH worship service. I was super excited. Of course I accepted! I had waited a long time join the team. When I went home that day, I jumped up and down in my room. I even started dancing a little.
The first practice I arrived too early. At least 30 minutes early. I was afraid of arriving late and causing problems. Even though I lived 10 minutes away. Come to find out practice was very relaxed and easy. I played my best, could hear nothing over the noise, made several mistakes, and had a great time. It was nothing like I expected. I didn't care, my dreams were coming true.
I started to play for JH more regularly, and after the next Fine Arts, I started playing for the youth service. I still had not sung a solo song, but it didn't bother me. I was there to play the piano and engage the students in worship.
My ulitimate dream was to be a part of the main service worship team. But I never voiced that to anyone. I was just happy where I was. Besides, I did not think I was capable of matching their "expert" musicalness.
One weekend, we went on a trip to visit NAU. At the time I was concidering a music/piano degree, and NAU seemed like the perfect fit. We were taking the trip to see the school, and talk about the program. On the drive to Flagstaff, the worship pastor called me, and said they were in desparate need of a keyboard player and practice was in the next hour. I was thrilled! That feeling was extremely short lived as I would not be able to participate. I hung up the phone, then told my mom and friend what had just happened and cried. I confessed that I had always dreamed of being up on stage, playing worship music for everyone to hear, now I was unable to do that. I did not know when the next opportunity would be, if there would ever be one. The dissapointment lasted the entire trip. It was hard to concentrate on anything else.
We returned home that Saturday evening. I had cried some more in my room, but eventually told myself I was being ridiculous and just went to sleep. The next day, I went to the earliest service because I was not feeling well and wanted to return home. I get there and start walking towards my usual spot, when the pastor ran towards me and grabbed me. He pulls me backstage to the choir room and tells me to keep playing the keyboard until he says to stop. I tried to make myself presentable quickly, and got situated behind the keyboard and did the best I could. It all happened so fast that I did not have time to realize what was happening. The service went by so quickly, everyone on the team told me how happy their were that I was able to play and what a great job I did.
The next service following the early one had baptisms. So that meant I had to keep playing by myself during the baptisms. People were giving me thumbs up on stage for my performance. After the service was over I went home and then everything hit me of what just happened. My mom saw me on stage during the second service and told me how proud she was and also surprised. I told her the whole story of how I got up there. I was embarrassed, but happy all at once.
I didn't play for the main service until a couple years later. I continued to be a regular in JH and during the Youth. I had developed such a strong relationship with my "trusty band mates" that there were times we knew what each other wanted and what they were going to play, without having to talk about it.
It wasn't until after I had played for worship service during camp that I realized how much I loved playing on the worship team. I loved how the music made me feel, I would often dance while playing on stage. Some people thought it funny because I would be the only one bouncing around. During camp, my heart exploaded with joy for playing for the Lord. I never wanted it to stop. I loved playing with the band, and I loved how it didn't matter if we messed up or not, or didn't play the correct part. All the mattered was God, and glorifying him. I never wanted to stop playing music.
After camp, I started becoming a regular on the main worship team. I consitantly played keyboard, organ, synth, and whatever else the pastor had for me to play for the service. Sometimes I would be playing 3 instruments at once. I got good at multitasking when it comes to music. I called my space, "the box." I sang sometimes, but it wasn't a big deal for me. I wanted to just play. I never wanted it to end. I wished I could play more often. I would "steal" music after services to play them at home. I loved playing worship songs and performing them. It was a dream come true for me.
But then they kicked me off of the Junior high team. I wouldn't have minded had they just told me they wanted others to have opportunites to play, but they were just rude to me about it. One person even said that I was not needed anymore and should just quit playing altogether. This hurt me deeply, but I worked passed it, and did my best to not let it bother me. Then they kicked me out of youth service. They didn't say any hurtful things to me anymore, they just stopped scheduling me in. I asked to come play at least once in a while, but I guess the pastor just did not care. He would frequently tell me how much he missed me too, and so did the students, but I was treated like I wasn't welcome to youth service anymore. The youth worship started to become all about show and nothing about worship. I stopped participating in youth events altogether. This bothered me for a long while. I even privately talked to the pastor about it, but he denied everything and never changed anything.
I was happy I still had the main service. I liked the main service. I enjoyed playing and it was all about worship, and not about performance. Some people would complain about not being able to sing things right, or hear certain people, or they heard certain people too much, or someone used their head phones, but the pastor was always able to talk to us and remind us that it's not about us, it's about God. We don't play for comfort, we play to glorify God.
The church started to grow, and they "upgraded" their facilities. Which is fine, there is nothing wrong with that, but the worship teams were affected in a negative way. Christmas eve and easter services started to become more about the show, and less about the message. The people started to care more about performances than letting the Holy Spirit guide the services. If you messed up one too many times, you were replaced by another more capable artist. People started complimenting the individual for their talents and abilities and said nothing about God being present. In fact, God was mentioned less and less. The only time God was acknowledged was during prayer or in the song. There were even times when I would cry during worship service because God was removed completely from the worship service, and everything I loved about playing for worship service was destroyed.
The church was moving in a backwards direction and nothing was about growing in the Lord anymore. It was about putting on a show to please the world. I mourned every weekend. I started to reduce the amount of times I went to that church altogether. It took me about 6 months to admit I wanted to leave and another 3 months to make it final. I have since stepped back from playing worship music so I could take the time to focus on God again.
A few months ago, I was asked to play for a worship service at a very small church. I agreed only because it was a small church and I knew the people who asked. It felt just like it did when I first joined worship band. I was moved by the genuine love for singing praises to God. Some of the people did not play well or sing particularly lovely, but God doesn't care. They were using their abilities to praise the Lord. I was questioning whether leaving the worship team was the right choice, and after playing for that church, I knew it was.
I still play and sing by myself, but no longer on a team. At this point, I might be leaving the country for good so joining a team would not be worth it.
Now you know why I left worship band, and half of why I left the church. If you are offended, I do appologize.
I received an email from my JET coordinator and she said that my interview will be at ASU in Tempe. Which explains what that weird astrisk was on the website next to Phoenix. The location was tentative. I am just glad I don't have to travel out of state for this interview. I would do it if I had to, but I would much rather not have to travel for an interview.
The interview will take place on January 31st. I do not know the time. People have to sign up on a first come first serve basis. It is based on who replies to the email when. The earliest time they will schedule an interview is 9am. And the latest is 5pm. I don't care about being the last time but not the first time. I want to be able to speak to people about their interivew. That is, if they will let me. Plus, I don't want to get up that early. I can't park on campus, so I would have to be taking the light rail, dressed in a suit. I don't think I want to do that. So, I have been waiting a few days before responding to the email because I want to have a good time for an interview. I have until the 22nd to respond, but I don't think I will wait that long. I don't want to stress myself out too much.
I emailed my instructor who wrote me a letter of recommendation and informed them of my interview. He then replied by saying that he used to conduct interviews for the JET and sent me a list of questions they pull from as well as first impression requirements to pass the interview. He also gave me advice saying that I need to come up with good questions. Apparently people asked if the program is 9 months long. If they really cared about the program that they spent 2 months applying for, then they should at least know the length of the program. I thought this was very helpful, as I usually stress myself out too much before hand.
I have just received an email from the US embassy of Japan. This email said that they have posted the results of the applications and they have listed the people who have passed the first stage of the program. They sent a list of hundreds of ID numbers and I am suppose to sift through them and find only mine? So I did CTL + F and typed in my number and there it appeared!
I should be more excited than I am, but quite honestly, I knew I was going to be granted an interview. It will be getting that email that says I have the job that will send me over the edge of excitement. I haven't screamed in happiness since my figure skating coach called me back to set up my first skating lesson in years. I can guarantee that I will be running around the house and the neighborhood screaming if they say I get the job. People are going to be so scared. Lol. I might go get my nails done or something.
Anyway, I wanted you all to be the first to know! They will be contacting me on Friday and letting me know where my interview will be held. Hopefully, they place me in Phoenix. It makes so sense that they would place me somewhere else, but we shall see.
So it kind of just hit me today that I will be potentionally moving to Japan. I don't know if my hormones are just being weird, but I have been pretty emotional today regarding this. Yesterday, I was thinking about how this month is the month that they will be announcing people who will receive interviews. (I am talking about JET btw). They sent us application ID numbers so that it will be easier to check the status of your application online and see if you have an interview. I find this a very effective method as thousands of people apply every year. Anyway, it occured to me that I haven't a clue what I actually did with the copy of my application, which includes the said ID number. There is close to 100 pages of this application that I bundled together. How exactly does one loose a huge stack of papers? I moved them because my birds wanted to make a snack out of it, but I could not remember where I put them when I moved them. Since I have been all emotional about moving to Japan and seeing how my dreams of finishing school are coming true, I figured I better search for that information.
After rummaging through my living room and kitchen, I found the papers laying on a table, plain as day in the AZ room. I don't know why I was thinking it would be in an inconspicuous place. It's not like I need to hide this info from anyone. If someone does steal it, who knows what they will do with it. They can't use it without stealing my identity. Which would be pretty stupid quite honestly. I have loan debt to my name. The most expensive thing I own is my car. And it does not look like it is worth much. I'm rambling.
I checked the dates online for when the interview in Phoenix will be, and it says January 31st. But there is an * next to the location and date. No other location has one. I can't find a reason why that is there. I assumed it meant tentative dates, but other locations said that the dates were tentative right next to the location. I don't know what that means. Hopefully nothing that means I have to travel.
I still won't know if I have an interview or not. That information has yet to be posted. I will let you know at some point if I do get chosen. There isn't a doubt in my mind whether or not I will get an interview. I know I will be interviewd. I am just not so sure that I will get hired. I don't have that much confidence in myself. We will see what happens though.
So it is now 2015 and that means everyone is making the new years resolution to loose weight. I don't know why people do that. If you didn't keep your resolutions last year, or if you frequently fail at keeping your own personal goals, then what makes you think, that just because it is the new year that some how all of your goals are suddenly going to happen? It really bothers me. I say, forget the resolutions and just go about your lives.
Anyhow, I have just seen one too many commercials about loosing weight for the new year.
I graduated college and it feels great to be done. I only just NOW feel like I have actually accopmlished something. Before it just felt like I was on a normal Christmas break. But now that I am hearing about how everyone is going back to classes, I kind of feel the grateness that is now before me. I can actually study Japanese the way that I want to. In school I mostly had to study old classical literature or vocabulary that I highly doubt I will use in the future. We had one lesson that lasted for 3 weeks in which we learned about cadiology in Japanese. We read excerpts from medical journals. Why? Why did I need to know that? I don't even know that in English!
Anyway, it's all over now, and I will most likely be bored a lot until I get a new job. Or a job at all. If you count the internship I had as a job.
Ok, that's all that is on my mind.
My JET application has been officially received by the embassy of Japan in DC. I got confirmation this morning. Now I have to wait until January before I learn of the interview results. Interveiws will be held in February and then I will not know if I got the job or not until late March early April. It is quite a bit of a time span, but with thousands of Americans applying and even thousands more from around the globe, it seems pretty understandable that they would take a while. Only 20% of people who apply get selected. It is a highly competative program. I am applying for one more school in Japan, but I cannot apply until the spring. They don't have their new application online yet. I don't want to just limit myself to only one program. Thought I really hope I get this job. Not because I am an anime loving manga craving Japanese freak (which, I am not any of that) I really feel that God has placed these people on my heart. Whenever I think about possibly not going to Japan, I can feel my heart cry.
God's plan for my life is a little hard to understand at the moment. Sometimes I question whether I am making the right choice and am really listening to him and not just thinking that I am. I pray all the time for direction. I asked him several times a day if I am making the right choice by apply for this program. I don't want to be doing all this work on the application, septeple checking everything as an OCD person would, and it not amount to anything. My advisor has been most helpful, and she is not even my advisor of my Japanese major. She is my advisor over my certification for bilingual education. My actual advisor keeps forgetting that I exsist and acts like we just met every time I visit her office. (I have seen her 12 times, in case you were wondering).
I try to remember to pray every night with JD before we go to bed, but there are days when we forget. We forget quite often, actually. I always feel guilty for it; and wonder if I truely am listening to God at all.
When I was in high school, I knew, 1000000% knew what God had planned for me and went for it. Many people told me not to, and kept asking if I was making the right choice, but I ignored them and did what I knew God was calling me to do. Then I graduated high school, graduated college, and began working at the best job I had ever had. I was making equivalent to $0.25 an hour and working almost 20 hour days 7 days a week, but I loved it. It did not bother me. I worked in that field for nearly 6 years. Now I feel like there is a need for a change. I feel like God is redirecting my life and has been molding me into the person he needs me to be for the Japanese people I will encounter. Half the time, thinking about ministering to the people in Japan is not right for me. I went to school to become an English teacher, not a missionary. I know how to teach foreign languages not how to teach theology. Yet, when I think those thoughts, I keep hearing a song my mom sang to me when I was very young. It pops in my head everytime I encounter new people, and often times when I feel like punching people that make me angry. "They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love. They will know we are Christians by our love."
Perhaps, I am not meant to teach about the Bible. Maybe I was placed on this Earth to show people God's love through my actions and my words. God is love. The more love I show, the more people will be willing to talk to me. That will be how I can reach the lost souls in Japan. My heart aches for them. I want everyone I meet to be loved and love God in return. I want them to spend eternity with Jesus. If I never go, if I never find those lost people, they may never get that chance to learn to love God. I might be their only encounter.
This is how I know, God placed Japan upon my heart.
If you have been wondering where I have been for the past month, I have been mostly behind a pile of paper and errands as I am applying to the JET Program. There is a lot involved into this application and thus far I have collected over 100 pages to send them as part of my application. I am nearly complete in the process at this point. All that is left is to have my statement of purpose essay completed. The deadline that my application has to be in the hands of the administrator is November 14th, 5:00pmEST. This is NOT a post mark date, they litterally need to have it in their office by that date or before. I have submitted my online portion of the application already, which creates a profile of me that they can just check off that they have received everything. Then they will send me confirmation once all the documents have been received. I hope that I can get my essay finished this week. I want to send everything no later than Monday as the following day is veteren's day.
Anyhow, I have been working for AECP, doing homework, teaching, and observing instructors. Today I actually have a test that I have no idea how to study for. We are taking a test on a classic Japanese book by Natsume Souseki called Kokoro. Kokoro means heart or feeling in Japanese. And not the physical heart. That is shinzou, but the shape and metaphorical heart. If you have not read that book I highly recommend it. It is one of the most iconic Japanese novels in the world. And English translation will not be hard to come by.
In said class, we have read the novel in its entirety in English, then read major portions of it in Japanese and translated it. Now we are having our first test of the semester in that class and the teacher informed us that there will only be 4 sentences that we have to translate into English. We translated hundreds of sentences and now he is telling us only to worry about 4 of them? How does one study for this test? We had no vocabulary assigned to study, most of the words we are assumed to know the meaning to, and we had no grammar lesson. If there were grammar points that came up where we did not understand anything, then he would tell us what it meant and move on. This only happned about 3 or 4 times throughout the semester. I am basically complaining, but seriously. The entire syllabus schedule said the class was going to focus on Kokoro and would take the entire semester to do so. Now we have finished with Kokoro and the instructor has no idea what he will do now. He has stated those words to us numerous times. After the test, he is going to have us watch a movie in class the next meeting time cuz he has no idea what to do. Granted, this is his first time teaching, but he should still have had a better sense of what to do rather than asking us what to do.
Anyway, that is all I wanted to say. Toodles!
So, the end of this week marks the end of the first half of the semester, and the second half will begin. Interestingly, I do not have any mid terms until the end of October. Go figure. Anyway, I can hardly believe that the end is actually coming. It doesn't seem real right now. I have been hunting for jobs in Japan, and have been preparing applications to a couple of different places, (each requiring their own essay BTW) and am now just waiting for all my importan documents to arrive in the mail. I still have to work on the essays, but since I will be riding a train for 6 hours on Friday to visit my new nephew and sister, I have planned to work on this essay then. I have a basic idea of what I want to say, I just have to organize all those thoughts into one glorious essay. It's really a big deal, and I am kind of freaking out about it.
I have a new job working for AECP (American English and Culture Program). I am a "Language facilitator." Which basically means that I teach conversational English as an extra curricular activity. They don't get graded or even have to show up. It's just only for those that want to learn conversation. So far, I have only had 4 students that have never shown up, which is a really good thing. Most people have only 4 students that DO show up. There are a total of 15 studetns I have been assigned to and this next session coming up after fall break, there will be more students added to my list, but there will also be those that are moving up and will not be able to take classes from me. I also assist in reading classes throughout the week. The assisting has given me a lot of insight into teaching English. I find that I quite enjoy my job and cannot wait to be doing this full time as my carreer.
Today was new student registration for AECP. Most of the students were from Kuwait and the rest were from other countries around the globe. There were about 500 students that signed up, maybe more. I was helping them pick electives and and choose classes based on their visa type. Apparently there are soooo many different types of student visas. I had no idea. It was funny to watch some of the ones who knew no English and were trying their best to understand me or trying to fill out their papers. There was a lot of dictionary use today. Most of the studetns that knew no English had a translator with them, but some did not.
When I first arrived this morning, the lady explaing to me what I will be doing kept emphasizing how difficult and confusing the job was. She was concerned that I would have no idea what I was doing and would do a terrible job. She was freaking out for no reason. She called in a special person just to help me, because she didn't believe I would be able to handl the job. I don't know why she said that. After working today, I have no idea what the big issue was. The job was so easy. The students had label stickers that stated what the visa type was, I had a list of the rules were for each type. All I had to do was put their stickers on my paper, choose the classes for the number of hours listed on their visa, then tell them when their placement test was. How was that going to be too difficult? I actaully felt rather insulted. I think she treated me this way because I was called a "student worker." Most people think I look 18 years old, so she must have been thinking that I was just a lazy teenager or something. Anyway, the job was really fun and the time went by so fast. I couldn't believe it.
If you guys are thinking about it this week at all, please be praying for us. We are planning on making a huge change in our lives by permanantly moving to Japan, and there are a lot of things we have to be talking about and figure out in the next few months. We really need guidance and we also need to be staying focused on God and hearing His voice. I really want to be in Japan, but I also don't want to missinterpret what God is really telling me to do. So just keep that in mind whenever you think of us this week.
I made sure that I had my vegetarian meal this time. I walked up to the counter and showed the lady my boarding pass and told her that it doesn't show a special meal as I had requested. So she called someone and they had it prepared for me which was wonderful. If this happens again I am going to quit flying Delta. I just signed up for the frequent flyer miles too. So I would loose my thousands of miles I have already logged. Anyway, that was taken care of. And us poor sicklings were finally boarded.
The flight attendant who gave me a hard time the flight there about not having my food was on this flight. She approached me and accusingly asked if I was on her flight before. I was afraid to answer yes because she sounded like she had unresolved issues on that previous flight. I was not sure what was going to happen to me. I said that I was then she became really friendly. I don't think she really wanted to be friendly tho. it was rather strange. We sat next to a college student (it appeared she was a college student) and us sicklings were coughing and sniffling the entire flight home. I am rather sure that the girl caugh our sickness as she was exposed to it for almost 12 hours but there was nothing we could really do about that.
I did get my vegetarian meal. Yay!! So there was no starvation this time. I also got wine right away to ease my nerves. Wine wasn't free the flight there but it was free the flight back. We also took the save type of jet. Go figure.
I watched 3 movies, some tv shows, listened to music and played bejeweled for a number of hours. I was really addicted to that game. i don't know why I was, but it was time consuming at least.
We land in California and had a couple hours to get through immagration and find our next flight. It would have gone quicker had the airport not been crowded with planes so they had to drive all the passengers to the immagration office. Although, I don't know why I had to specifically be that location they sent us. We were standing next to a different immagration office, with 6 people just sitting in their windows doing nothing for almost 45 minutes. Why couldn't we just go to those windows and make our way to baggage claim? It was very frustrating and I was angry and tired and sick, and I was mean and made sure to cough and sneeze and shake hands with the dumb people bussing us to another window, that was one minute away. Pointless, that ordeal was entirely pointless.
Most of immagration for this airport was with computers. I found that rather counterproductive as the same steps had to be repeated once we got to customs. We could have just skipped that entire step of frustrating (but hilarious) computers. California does not seem to understand what it takes to be efficient. They only know complicated. I wonder at how the poor foreigners faired. Americans are not at all sympathetic when it comes to people who don't know English. They either get angry that they didn't bother to learn English, or they think that talking loudly and slowly suddenly makes them understand the language. Seriously, there was a flight attendant who was asking a Korean person what he wanted to drink, he answer in Korean, and rather than ask a bilingual flight attendant, who was right behind her, what he had said, she just said loudly "Tea? Milk? Soda? Water?" He said that he didn't know English in Korean (of the very minute things I know of Korean "I don't know English/Korean" is def one of them). So she repeats herself still speaking loudly but slower "TEA?! WATER!? SODA?!" The guy finally just gave in and said yes to whatever she said. I laughed at the ridiculousness and felt bad not for the Korean guy, but for the lady. I felt what she did was very rude an inconciderate. The lady that spoke Korean was right behind her. And I mean their backs were almost touching. It would have saved her the energy to just turn around and ask her friend what he wanted. That would have been more polite.
Anyhow, rudenss aside. We continue to baggage claim and get our bags, we had to go to customs to make sure that we didn't take anything illegal into the states. And I somehow got randomly selected for interigation and when I said I came with my husband they spent the next 10 minutes trying to get him to the location where I was. And by the time they found him, he just let me go. It was weird and again pointless.
We check our bags in, I see a currancy exchange place, and exchage the Yen I had left into Dollars. I should have done that back in Japan. I ended up loosing $20 with all their fees. Ridiculousness I tell you!! The money I ended up with was basically nothing. Oh well. You live an learn I guess.
So then came the fun part. TSA. I get thru fine, no issues. My husband on the other hand, failed again to inform the agent of his knee braces and had to be taken somewhere in the distance for further investigation. Again, I did my best to contain my laughter. Needlesstosay he was not a happy camper when that ordeal was over. Lol Poor Joshy.
Then it was just a waiting game until we could board the flight home. It was not that long of a wait. The airport took out most of our time with their pointlessness. I wonder how many of those poor foreigners missed their flight?
We were in business class because upgrading was only an extra $20. Who wouldn't upgrade? We had the best leg room anyone could ask for. We get on the plane, and there is a 10 year old in first class, and an 8 year old in busines class, and the parents were in coach. I would have said "When u make all the money, then you can sit in better seats than us, but until then, be happy u are even on a plane." These parents let their kids do anything they wanted. I felt sorry for the man stuck next to the girl in business class. The kid in first class didn't have issues, he only wanted cafinated soda but the flight attendant wouldn't give it to him. The girl had an iPhone. An iPhone!! What the heck is wrong with these parents? The kid is 8! What in the world could she be needing a cell phone for? And more importantly, who was she texting? She never put her phone on airplane mode, the attendant actually took it away at one point and she wined and winded about it until she got it back. She spilled all her drink all over herself, hopefully not on the guy next to her. And worst of all, she would not sit still!! It was driving me crazy!! I almost wanted to yell to her parents "Stop being lazy and DO SOMETHING!!!"
Aside from that, our flight was great. Up and down quickly. We were comfortable and got extra food and drink because they skipped us on accident lol.
We landed, got our bags, JD's dad picked us up and we were on our way home to sleep the sleep of angels. That's what my bed felt like to me. A cloud for angels.
What a sad sad day it was to return home. Boo! Oh well, I hope to be returning soon and this time staying much longer.
I should say that I forgot to mention one annoying fact in the last post. We came back to our hotel around 2pm to rest and wait for the sun to set so we could explore Osaka at night. Sounds harmless. However, house keepping was taking their sweet old time in cleaning the room. In the US, the cleaning ladies will just clean around you, in Japan, it is extremely rude to do so. As a result, we had to wait about an hour before we could enter the room. Us sicklies were not looking forward to sitting on the hotel hallway floor while we waited to go into our room. It was annoying. They weren't even at our room yet. That was what made the entire thing even more annoying! They had a sign that said cleaning in progress, when they were really in the hotel room 5 doors down from us. Why couldn't we go in and put the do not disturb sign on the door so they could skip us?
Anyway, I studied a map in order to save time, because I was not going to take the subway back to the station we needed to get to to ride the Shinkansen the next day. I found a train station on the map and tried and failed several times to get my GPS to locate exactly where the station was. It took almost the entire hour for me to figure it out, but it was worth spending that hour frustrated.
I had spent the previous night skillfully packing our belongings. Even though we did not purchase many items, the little things we did buy added much space. Especially since we had packed our bags pretty full before leaving for Japan. It took about an hour to get everything packed and ready to go. All we needed to do was pack the things we were using for the morning and be on our way.
That morning we were both sniffling and had head aches. We were full on sick at this point. If we were questioning whether we had a cold before, we knew that we had it then! We got food that resembled healthy and had plenty of ornage juice. We also purchased food for the shinkansen so as not to make the mistake of spending so much again.
We checked out of our hotel and headed out to the station. I wanted to leave about 30 minutes early so that it would give me extra time to figure out where in the heck I was going. We must have looked stupid wondering around with our bags on the street, stairing at a phone screen. The GPS led us to a wall, and judging by all the construction signs around the area, the GPS wasn't lying. The station was more than likely behind that wall, but we couldn't get in. I asked a police officer where the station entance was and he told me it was on the other side of the building. The building was huge. It took a long time to walk to the other side. But there was the entrance. This station had a parking garage and a bus transit station. I had never seen that in Japan before. I guess that station must have been a common commuting sight or something.
Anyway, Osaka is not as visitor friendly as Tokyo, and by that I mean there were hardly any signs in romaji. It was all kanji. Which I guess is ok, but it is much easier to skim a map when you don't have to pay attention to the 15 stroke characters. Rather than waste time, I just found the train I needed to ride and asked which lane went in the direction I needed to go. To my surprise, only the station hands knew where it was going. You would think that the people who road it would know where it was going, but I guess they only paid attention to their own stops.
Ok, first train down. The transfer I thought would be easier, but nope. It was just as difficult. I asked about 3 people which lane went where and nobody knew. I finally just ran up to the conductor and asked him. He chuckled by the fact no one else knew anything and told me the train he was driving was going to where I needed to go.
Finally, we made it to Shin-Osaka, the station to ride the shinkansen. This part was going to be easy. I walked up to the ticket counter, asked for a ticket to Tokyo, she asked me to pick a time, then handed us our tickets. Finding the train is the same as finding your flight so that was easy. Then finally we could relax. He had about a 3 hour journey ahead of us to Tokyo, and still another hour on the NEX to the airport. However, I made sure to have packed some macha candy, and we still had our food for lunch. So the trip was not all that bad.
I barely remember the train ride back to Tokyo. We both kind of slept our way through it. JD had a cough at this point, and I was desparately trying to retain mine. I kept drinking lots of water to sooth my throat.
Once we arrived at Tokyo, we needed to navigate our way to the NEX stop. I knew we needed a ticket of some kind, but I had read that there were also non researved seats that people with the JR pass could ride for free so I was not concerned about looking for a ticket counter. We were surprising ahead of schedule. After being lost in Osaka for so long, I was sure we would be behind by at least 30 minutes, but nope. Some how we gained an hour. Don't know how that happened. After walking around for a long while, we located a sign for the NEX train. But the sign was not where you would expect a sign to be. It was on the floor. No wonder it took so long to find it. It was really helpful though. They should have made it more clear to look down instead of up at ALL the other signs. Not sure why they did that. It was really weird, but amusing at the same time.
We find the train we needed, and it arrives in about 15 minutes. We walked up and down the lane looking for a non researved seat car, but could find none. I then paid more careful attention to what the japanese was saying on the arrival sign/tv thing and discovered that a train with non-researved seating would be arriving in the next couple of hours. We didn't have a couple of hours. With a huff, (and yes I actually huffed) we walked back to the center of Tokyo station (which is huge by the way) to the ticket counter to ask where I could buy a Narita Express train ticket. The lady streams out a slew of phrases to which all I comprehended was: "~~~~Not here~~~~~NEX ticket~~~~other side~~~~Can buy." Oh, that wasn't so bad. No idea what all that other stuff was but who cares. I thanked her and on the other side was a large red sign that said in English NEX tickets here. (-_-) This day was so dumb. I get my ticket, the train arrives in 30 minutes so we had time to stand and wait for it. Yes, I said stand. It only took us 15 minutes to walk to the NEX stop lane (have I mentioned how huge Tokyo station is?). When the train finally arrived and we could take our seats, you can only immagine that for our poor aching, sick bodies that the seats felt like clouds from heaven.
This time, we reminiced on what our most memorable moments of the trip were and what we would have done differently and such. I messaged my mom pictures of our journey to the airport. The scenery was quickly breathtaking. I think I miss the green the most. I have not seen anything that even compares to the bright green of Japan in the US. Absolutely beautiful.
I had to repack the MiFi so that I could drop it off at the post office and ship it back to the company. I didn't feel like being charged extra fees for returning it late, but I did not want to stop talking to my mom. So, I just left it on inside the package. It worked too. I didn't read anywhere that the battery needed to be fully charged upon return, so I figured it was fine if the battery died inside that package. I found it humorous.
We get to the airport fine, check in our bags and recieved our boarding passes fine, and even went throught security fine. Let me rephrase that, I went through security fine. My husband, on the other hand, did not. Because of his knee braces and lack of Japanese, he needed to be patted down. I went over to try and help him with communication. JD was just making things worse by complaining the entire time so he needed to be frisked. I did my best to contain my laughter.
After that entire ordeal, we found our gate, got some last minute ice cream from a vending machine, then waited for our flight. Not before looking at all the tax duty shops we could find.
Unfortunately, I have class. So I will have to continue this story another time.
Thanks for reading!