(Note that this is the second post today, catching up from a few days of no internet access)
I woke up around 5:30 again this morning so I didn't have any problem picking up breakfast before 9:00. Breakfast consisted of four or five halves of sandwiches of different varieties, all without crust. These sandwiches are pretty common and cheap at convenience stores and weren't bad... but not exactly good either. Maybe I just have a hard time trusting prepackaged sandwiches with egg salad, potato salad, tuna, and some meat I can't identify. There were also these tubes of a mixture of cheese, egg, and fish which had the consistency of a raw hotdog and while they weren't vomit inducing, I didn't go back for a second bite and Nagashima-san (the resident director) informed us that he'd request that they give us something else tomorrow.
In the morning we had an orientation lecture which was informative and to the point, unlike other orientations I've had in America. Somehow I doubt that most Japanese meetings are as time efficient. Unfortunately, while the lecture was over in good time, the rest of the students stood around talking about nothing instead of going to lunch. But eventually we did go and then went to another orientation meeting. Before the meeting started, we all played shiritori, a Japanese game where you take turns saying words which start with the last syllable of the previous word without repeating any words and without saying a word that ends in "n". It was pretty fun and I realized that I couldn't think of many Japanese words that start with "ru" or "zu". The actual orientation was given by an American guy who has been living in Sapporo for 30 years and he talked about how to be polite and get along with our host families, a good thing considering I doubt that half of the group would have the common sense for the manners he talked about. And in one of our information packets there were things that host families and students said in the past and there were some pretty embarrassing things that happened. It made me a bit more nervous about being with my host family, but still I think I'll be alright.
Then we walked over to get prepaid phone cards which took forever and I didn't even get one because I left my phone in the dorm thinking I could just activate the card later. Overall, the city seems quite a lot less crowded than Tokyo, but I also haven't been downtown yet. In the evening we had a welcome party which lasted for several hours during which I talked in Japanese and English with a bunch of different people. I also talked to Iwao again and some other people about video games and anime. At one point, some people were playing this kid's game that had a plastic pirate figure in a big barrel and you took turns inserting swords into slots on the side of the barrel until someone got unlucky and "stabbed" the pirate, making him launch into the air and causing everyone to scream in surprise. They also played Uno and later, BS. I met a lot of people, but I still forget most of the Japanese students' names. At last I came up to my room to write this summary in the guise of studying for the placement test tomorrow.
I'm hoping that in the future I'll be able to write more random interesting things about Japan instead of simple summaries of my day. I think once classes start I'll be able to focus my posts on more interesting things.