It's been approximately a month since the first earthquakes hit, so I figure it's time for an update.

After I posted that last entry, I spent most of my time with some other ALTs and stayed the night at another's apartment because the building next to mine had some structural damage that forced the residents to move out and made me nervous. Things with the plant were still looking really bad, so five of us decided to make the trek to Tokyo.

Because the trains and buses were down, this was much more difficult that usual. A normal trip cost about $25 and took about 2.5 hours. This trip took much long and was much more expensive. The five of us split two taxis to Mito, which is normally a 30 minute train ride for 470 yen ($5), and was instead 10,000 yen ($100) and an hour ride. From Mito, we took a bus to Tsukuba (another 2 hours or so and 1,000 yen ($10)), then the train from Tsukuba to Tokyo (I think 1160 yen ($12)). However, the trains are only running at half capacity, so we had to wait 3 hours for them to start running. But eventually we made it into Asakusa, where we got a hostel and enjoyed running water for the first time in several days.

Wednesday we spent around Tokyo, mostly in Shibuya and Roppongi and met up with everyone else who fled Ibaraki. Thursday we tried going to the American Embassy, but that ended up being kind of pointless because we didn't really have a reason to go. Friday I spent on my own because I needed a quiet day, so I visited a couple different gardens and watched a street performer in Ueno park. Saturday I met back up with a few people still left in Tokyo, but we ended up going our separate ways and I spent the rest of day in Harajuku and the Meiji Shrine.

By Sunday, the buses were mostly up and running, so I could take a highway bus directly from Tokyo Station to Hitachi for about $25, so I decided to head back to my apartment and start packing up because I had a week before I was leaving the country.

That week was spent packing or throwing away everything I own, closing my postal account, making final payments, sending stuff back to the US, and various other errands completely on my own. I was only able to go to my school for a short time to pack up my things and say a brief goodbye to my teachers. I didn't get to say goodbye to any students, which I'm still very sad about.

But somehow I made it to the airport with my bags (which was a whole other adventure in and of itself), and after a short side-trip to Chicago, arrived back in Kansas City.

I've been back a few weeks now, trying to get over jet lag and some culture shock, and in about a week and a half I'm moving again to Utah to try to find a job there. Meanwhile, I'm still tying up loose ends from Japan (I have yet to receive two of my paychecks). And of course, just keep up with what's going on in Japan and with the people I know who are still there.

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