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Qarantine and a new family

My last entry ended with my entry into the airport in Frankfurt am Main. It went for me for one and a half hours in the air to London Heathrow.

I was allowed to walk through a somewhat end time seeming, empty airport and had my first touches with English and Japanese at the ticketing for my flight to Tokyo.

It was 2 hours waiting and then purely on the plane to Tokyo.

Due to the Ukraine crisis, Japanese planes were prohibited from flying over Russia. So we took the northern route over the North Pole and Alaska. I had little hope of being able to look at the lights of the north. However, I had to determine that it was always day bright by the earth's rotation and our flight direction. So no north lights for Tanja. Maybe they are waiting for me in Hokkaido.

Landing in Tokyo after a 16-hour flight, the Corona test loop odyssey began.

Out of the plane, into the one-way system:

  1. Upload PCR registration, language school insurance letter, and consent form into an app and show the QR code repeatedly.

  2. Pick up documents with information.

  3. Provide signatures

  4. Collect even more documents and listen to teachings.

  5. Corona spit test

  6. Wait 30 min for the result

  7. Pick up a negative result

  8. Walking back and showing the pink slip again and again

  9. Arrive at the immigration office...

... a passport, show a PCR test result from Germany and get the Immigration Card.

But then, it should not be so simple.

(Up to here, 2 hours had passed, and I had been awake for over 24h).

The lovely gentleman behind the counter could not cope that I had my PCR test result from Germany as a PDF on my cell phone and not printed on paper. Furthermore, whether I wanted to have a work permit for my student visa arose.

I answered in the affirmative, and after some back and forth, I was picked up by a friendly lady who took me along with all the accumulated documents. I was allowed to mail my PCR test result to the airport for them to print out. Two more documents were filled out, and a stamp was received. I was allowed. After another 40 min waiting time, I was finally released from the confusion of the Japanese bureaucracy!

After getting my bags and finding my cab driver, I went to the quarantine hotel. I was allowed to spend eight nights in the center of Tokyo in a comfortable room. Food was organized with UberEats, and I had enough time to arrive.

During this one week, I continued to have regular classes; however, at humane times, from 9:10 am-12:40 pm. Furthermore, I was allowed to participate in an online German Salon in Gunma symposium and present my hometown in a 40-minute lecture. A very memorable experience and I made new valuable contacts.

During my quarantine period, I was also allowed to experience the first small friendly earthquake, which was a somewhat strange experience since I neither felt panic nor was frightened. I instead had the feeling that I missed something like that. Somehow it felt like home, even though that's a somewhat unusual description since you're not supposed to forget natural disasters, of which an earthquake is one.

Freedom at last!

After a week, the time has finally come! I am allowed to leave the hotel and move to my host family! My goodness, I'm so excited!

Except for the names and ages of the individual family members, I know nothing about the people I will live with for the next nine months.

I am picked up at the hotel by a friendly freelancer named Steffanie, who is supposed to accompany me to my host family. She helps me buy my commuter train ticket for my trips to the language school and back home g me and my suitcases to Funabashi. Once at the station, my host mom is waiting for me, and I say goodbye to Steffanie. From now on, any conversation takes place in Japanese!!!

She explains that Wakana, her six-year-old daughter, is still at swimming practice, and we will pick her up together. Masako (my host mom) was surprised that I already know Japanese so well, and we talk talked a bit about me, my background, and why I am in Japan. I tell her about my ryokan plans, and I can always read the surprise on her face.

After Wakana finishes swimming lessons, the first tentative meeting takes place. She is a bright and friendly girl who has little fear of contact. After a few minutes of sniffing around, I am accepted and embraced. When we arrived home, I moved into the room available to me. At dinner, I meet Tokiyoshi. He is 9nine years old and goes into the third grade. He is also open-minded, and after only a few minutes, he has overcome his initial shyness.

Around 20:00, I disappeared into my room and lay showered and clean in my new bed! What an incredibly great feeling! I am happy and try to soak up this feeling as much as possible.

Tomorrow it's off to school for the first time—one more class, but just my final test of the last trimester and picking up information.

But that should be it for today for now.

Until the next entry. :D

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