So it was about 5 a.m. in Japan when I started writing this post, and as I wouldn’t normally wake up at that time so naturally, I’m clearly a bit jet-lagged. I’ve now survived the first day of orientation (it’s a suit-and-tie affair in this fancy Tokyo hotel), but first I wanted to post about my final few days in America. Here’s a brief summary of my time leading up to departure:
3 days of condensing my life into airport-approved suitcases and cleaning out my room at home;
9 days of living out of a duffel bag as I jumped around the northeast;
13+ hours of flying halfway around the world with 20 other incoming JETs;
Countless hugs and goodbyes from family and friends;
… and 10 amazing meals.
Before I left, it became an unconscious goal to eat ALL THE FOOD. Throughout my final week in the USA, I jumped from cuisine to cuisine with my loved ones, relishing good company as well as all the flavors that I might not be able to find for a while. With my best friend since 2nd grade, a Chinese buffet and chocolate-caramel apples. With an old friend from home, a wonderful Indian meal. With my aunts, a shepherd’s pie in a pub in Connecticut. With my grandma and cousins, good old-fashioned take-out pizza. With a big group of my friends, a goodbye dinner at Fire and Ice. With my college roommates, burritos at Chipotle and Italian in Boston’s North End. With my French adventurer Kat, Spanish tapas and many, many crêpes.
Last night–my first night in Tokyo–the food continued. A few of us wandered around Shinjuku until we settled on a little tonkatsu place: fried pork with rice and curry sauce. We actually used a little vending machine outside of the restaurant to buy a ticket for our food, so minimal Japanese speaking was required! After hours of travel (plus plane food, ugh) a hearty tonkatsu meal and a stroll around Tokyo was exactly what I needed before happily falling into bed.
Some call it being a “foodie,” others say “glutton” (and admittedly I ate a lot of rich foods in past few days) but I tend to like the French word, gastronome–a lover of food. Luckily, Japan seems to love food too. The beginning of a beautiful friendship, I am sure.