August 22nd and 23rd was Nara Orientation in Nara City. Being a new prefectural ALT, I had to arrive the earliest for contract signing at the Pref. Office (kencho). All of us sat down in the Pref. Head of Education's office and began the "ceremony." Ceremonies are BIG here. There is a ritual and ceremony to everything, no matter how small. H-Sensei even declared herself the master of ceremonies for the "event." The event being 8 ALT's sitting around a large table with the Nara Supervisor of Education. We had to do typical self-introductions in Japanese (of which I've done MANY), then we signed the terms and conditions of our contract.
A couple hours later, we began ACTUAL orientation. Current JETs each prepared a small lecture for everyone else. I forgot to mention that EVERY Nara JET was in attendance at Nara Orientation. We had seminars about safety (the MUKADE! YUK!), where to travel around Nara, and even a nice lecture about linguistics.
One of the highlights of the orientation was T's (a Canadian CIR) presentation. He obviously procrastinated and couldn't come up with anything "real" for his presentation. Instead, he took a treasured childhood show of his called "The Littlest Hobo" and edited the material to include text commentary. We watch a children's show "through the lens of the JET program." T's commentary was hysterical. By the way, "The Littlest Hobo" is about a German Shepherd that goes around towns solving crimes, all without talking. The best part? It is not a cartoon.
The night of the first day of orientation, Nara JETs enjoyed a Beer Garden on the roof of a nearby hotel. All-you-can-eat and drink, for a low, flat rate. Unfortunately, I was really sick that night so I ended up leaving early to get some rest. God bless dayquil/nyquil, but SHHHHHHH....they are illegal in this country.
As orientation came to an end, I made some connections for possible future hobbies including taiko drumming, the shamisen (love it!), and the Nara JET Touch Rugby team.