Orientation wrapped up yesterday. It was only 3 days, but so much happened, and with jet-lag still in effect, it seems like I've been here for a long while. It's been amazing! Made 10 great friends and explored Tokyo indepth! Quick run through:
The first night, there was a huge and lavish reception for the new Japan Fulbrighters at the American Ambassador's private residence. It was really swanky, with an open bar and some of the fanciest Japanese food I've had yet. It was a great time to meet people, a lot of expats and government people, and other supporters of the Fulbright program including a Japanese architect who wants me to visit him in a nearby city to eat at a Sicilian restaurant. How fun!
Security was tight, too.
Following the reception, we had a Fulbright Fellow karaoke session. Unlike the American interpretation, karaoke in Japan is done in private rented rooms, with flashing lights and pleather upholstered sofas.
There was a beautiful view from the building's stairway:
Another Fulbrighter and I went to the Tsukiji Fish Market the next morning. The best time to go is when it opens at 6am. We got up at 4:30 to make sure we got there in time. The equates to 3 hours of sleep the night before! Anyway, Tsukiji is the biggest Fish Market in the world. I can totally see why, we walked around the building for at least an hour, navigating through narrow corridors, hoping over puddles of salt water and fish parts. haha. Then we ate a bowl of Sashimi! The best I ever had, by far. (I don't know why, but photos were not allowed in the tiny restaurant) The restaurant was more like a tiny bar, right off to the side of the market.
That night, after lectures and discussion over the details of the grant, all of us took a subway to a distant part of Tokyo. We were invited to dinner at a pub called Popeye's, by the head of Fulbright Japan. A really cool guy. The reason he took us all to this place was because they have 72 beers on tap! A really great note to end the orientation on.