Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Trek From Hell

Moments after leaving the Narita airport to begin our trek to our works office to get directions to the training site, it dawned on both of us that someone (me) had packed way too much and that this was going to be a very tiresome journey. Thankfully though, the start of our trip was a 90min bus ride to Omiya, followed by some very nice HS students helping us find the correct route to Borderlink, while giggling every time I told Debu to shut up about how I packed to much, so that was not too horrible. On top of that, Debu, being the amazing boyfriend that he is, carried my biggest bag for me.
Anyways, after a grueling trek to the office, we came to discover that that grid of Omiya was in the middle of a black out,* so I got to watch the luggage downstairs while Debu trekked up the pitch black stairwell in search of directions... it wasn't so bad waiting though, because during that time I got to see a bunch of Japanese office workers making ghost sounds and waving their flashlights around, which was quite adorable. Also during my time as luggage watcher, another man with a giant backpack came up and asked if I was there for Boderlink, and it turned out this random man was a fellow ALT who had actually been here when the quake happened and had decided to stay to continue his contract as a teacher, which I highly commend him for, since so many fled. He told me about how it was one of the scariest moments in his life, and how even though he was far away in Tokyo, it was still strong enough to give him horrible motion sickness, but the worst he said was the constant aftershocks that occurred.... the ground seemed to never stop shaking. Since he was also heading to the training facility, the three of us decided to travel together, and thank God for that too, because he helped carry my immense amount of luggage, and I am pretty sure that if it had just been the two of us, we would have never made it.

And so the trek from Hell truly began... for starters, we found out that to get to the training facility, we would have to travel back to the station that we had originally arrived at (oh joy), and then make two separate train transfers. This journey was made into an even larger issue due to the power conservations, which meant all elevators and escalators were turned off, and Japanese train stations have many, many, stairs in them, oh and by the way, two of our suitcases weighed about 70lbs each. Yea, this was going to be good. Thankfully, there were quite a few people who went far out of their way to help us get to our destination, including an engineer who was learning English to go to Europe and get women, and a 60yr old man who randomly grabbed my 70lb suitcase and just lugged it up a flight of stairs for me, but even with these advantages, it was still incredibly tough going, and it took multiple hours to make our way from Omiya to Kazo for training. By the time the three of reached our end destination, we were exhausted, sweaty and about ready to collapse. Needless to say, I bought the guys dinner as a thank you, and we celebrated the end of our long day at a local Okonomiyaki** place and a few cold beers.

*A lot of areas in Japan have been doing scheduled rolling black outs to try and conserve as much energy as possible after the disasters so that it can instead go to more necessary things then elevators and flashy billboards

**an Okonomiyaki is basically a Japanese pancake with anything you want mixed into it, for more info:


  1. I heart okonomiyaki.
    Related, I have a recipe for chijimi that is sort of a simpler version of okonomiyaki that you make at home, if you'd like it.

  2. I'm kinda jealous of this okonomiyaki thing. Please make them for all your friends when you return. kthx.

    <3- Kriston

  3. Kim: I would love that, thank you!

    Kriston: if I master the recipe from Kim, then sure