Japan Diaries 4: Intro

Intro

Finally! After almost a year of waiting, I am once again heading to Japan. Not as a tourist but as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) under the JET Programme. You can read more about it in my article Road to JET 2021: Timeline


Since this series is not purely about travel and on most days I'm working, I won't be posting a per day article like in the past series but a week and weekend compilation instead. In case there would be holiday trips or cultural events, I would write a special article about it and briefly mention it in the week/weekend article.

Aside from that, I would like to share that the setup of this trip is also unique compared to those experienced by ALTs before. Because of the pandemic and the health protocols implemented in Japan. Incoming people are required to undergo a very strict 14-day quarantine. Thankfully, everything is arranged and shouldered by Japan's Board of Education. Read on and find out more about what happened during Day 0 of my two-week quarantine.

Day 0 October 17, 2021

Flight to Japan

This is it! My scheduled flight to Japan. Prior to my flight, we were informed that the arrival date does not count as Day 1 of our 2-week quarantine. I also got the hotel accommodation information via email a few days before the flight. Speaking of hotel accommodation, the Filipino ALTs will all be housed in Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku City in Tokyo Prefecture. 

Saying goodbye was the hardest part of this trip. We did shed a lot of tears.

I'm now officially an OFW

Going back to my flight, my wife, dad and brother drove and accompanied me to Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. We arrived at the OFW Lane of the airport at around 5:30AM. Although I bid farewell to my family, they stayed in the parking area and waited for me to check in my baggage just in case I might encounter an issue. Thankfully, there were none.

Inside NAIA Terminal 3

Boarding time - ANA Flight NH 820 bound for Narita

After checking in my luggage and exchanging my peso for yen, I proceeded to the boarding area. For this flight, we were booked to All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight NH0820. I got seat 22A which, in my opinion, has a good view of NAIA Terminal 3 during take-off and Mt. Fuji on a clear day. Sadly, it was raining in the area when we arrived and Mt. Fuji was hiding behind the clouds. 

Flying over Japan

Check out my in-flight meal

Welcome to Japan

Our flight arrived at Narita International Airport at around 2:04PM. We were asked to stay on the plane for about 30 minutes as part of the health protocols implemented in the country. 

Waiting for the next step of the very strict entry procedures here in Narita Airport - Tokyo, Japan

After deplaning, we were ushered to the terminal to accomplish the strict entry procedures. They were as follows:
  1. Submission and checking of documents
  2. Saliva test
  3. Introduction and registration of the quarantine apps
  4. Interview about health and prior travels
  5. Release of saliva test results
  6. Immigration and release of residence card
  7. Luggage claim and customs check
Finally! After 3 hours... Time to go to our quarantine hotel.

Boarded the bus that will bring us to Keio Plaza Hotel

The whole process took more than three hours to accomplish. The JET participants were then welcomed by representatives who gave us our bus numbers and bag tags. I was part of the first batch who boarded the first bus to Keio Plaza Hotel.


When we arrived at the hotel, we were told to leave our bags in the lobby then we were handed JET Programme kits containing a rental phone, mini thermometer, COVID testing kits, and a lot of JET Programme reading materials. We were then ushered to the orientation room where we were briefed about the schedules and deadlines of some activities. 

JET Programme arrival orientation

My home for 2 weeks - Room 1350


Check out my room

My first meal here in Keio Plaza Hotel

That customary selfie while wearing the yukata

After the orientation, we were given our key cards and were asked to proceed to our rooms. I was assigned to room 1350. There was dinner prepared for me so my first agenda upon entering the room was to eat, then rest a bit before calling my family for our family huddle at 8:30PM.

Missing your hugs and kisses

Team Nicerio family huddle

Before calling it a day, I accomplished my requirements and then took a long dip in the hot tub. Tomorrow will be the start of Quarantine Week 1 of 2. 

 

Good night everyone!

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