Konnichi wa otokonosto (boys) and onnanosto (girls)! I miss you each already. VERY early on Sunday morning before the sun had even kissed the sky hello I left my home and began my journey. My flight from Newark to San Francisco took about 6 ½ hours. By the time I landed and claimed my luggage I already was having difficulty telling time (the time zone changed) and more importantly had begun to make new friends.
In a matter of only hours I met teachers from all across the United States of America. Before leaving Lincoln School so many of you had asked me if I was nervous or scared. The best way I could describe how I felt when I arrived in San Francisco yesterday and met the other JFMF Teacher participants would be to say that it reminded me of attending the first day of school in a brand new school. Everyone seemed to be so excited and at the same time nervous as well. As far as I know, no one had met before, except through the messages we sent each other online during the months before our trip. In total there are about 160 participants from across the U.S. We all look, act, and speak differently. However, there a few important things that we definitely have in common: we are passionate about teaching (and we miss our wonderful students/schools), we love learning, and we are so excited to learn about Japan.
While making 160 new teacher friends in one day is fantastic in itself, by far the most amazing part of the day for me was the reception hosted by Consul General Yasumasa Nagamine in his official residence. Located in the heart of San Francisco, this 100 year old home now is owned by the Japanese government. As my pictures will show, the home was absolutely beautiful. I was privileged to personally meet both the Consul and his wife. I had my picture taken with each and exchanged meishi (business cards) with them. This is an important custom in Japanese culture I will write more about in the future.
Sayonara! It is time fore me to pack my bags and head for Tokyo!