Japan Trip – Part 1

It’s been quite a few days now, I’ve been wanting to write about my truly mind-blowing experiences in Japan. Its great that I’m finally getting down to write it . So much has happened that I’ll probably forget most of it if I don’t put it down in words while its still fresh in my memory.
For a few months in my second year, I had been mad about WoW – DotA (World of Warcraft – Defence of the Ancients). I’d happily spend most of my saturdays blissfully enjoying game after game. It was on one such evenings —–

“Sanjeev …, room 10. Ram Kumar .., room …, please come down”

“Who wants to see me on a saturday evening???”

I couldn’t recognize the voice. You can imagine my confused reaction when I realized that it was the Dean who wanted to see me.
A visit from the Dean is seldom good. Generally it is a very organized procedure. The watchman calls out on the mic that the Dean was coming, and everyone scrambles to switch off and hide his cell-phone. There was no warning this time. I was in my shorts and bare-chested. Quite an awkward situation. I got my shirt on, and went to call Ram. He wasn’t in his room.
“I didn’t get into any trouble did I? Why does the Dean want to talk to me? I sure could use some one by side to share whatever I was into. ” By the time I had finished thinking of all the possible things I had done that could have landed me in trouble, I was already standing in front of the Dean.
“You are Sanjeev???”
“Would you like to go to Japan?”

Err.,”, I thought. Either I’m dreaming or he’s crazy. I remember thinking, ‘You don’t jump in front of a black man in a buffet and ask him to hurry up.’ Chris Tucker in Rush Hour 2. No. It wouldn’t be apt to pull up that dialogue there. After a minute of stunned silence, I replied.., “Yes.., sure.” I would be contacted by a Professor from the Center for Crystal Growth. And Ram Kumar would accompany me on the trip. “Cool.”
And that is how it all began. Call me an antagonist, but I never thought that it would actually happen. I told Ram and we waited for a quite a few days until we got further information. I was once again playing DotA when the next visit came. This time it was not from the Dean. It was from a student of the professor, I had earlier been informed about. Ram was also available then. So we accompanied the dude back to the Professor’s room. Apparently he had spent some time in Japan, and was quite fluent in the tongue. God help us if we were ever to be tested for our knowledge of the language again. I had scored 75 on 450, and failed in the Level 4 exam. I suppose Ram had fared a little better. The professor wasn’t there when we got there. We waited in his room for awhile all the time dreading his arrival.
Many people entered and left the room. We just sat there not knowing who was who. The professor turned out to be a fairly built guy, with glasses and a moderately stately bearing. There wasn’t much talking. We just filled up a few forms. And then….,
“Nihingo wakarimaska??” Do you understand Japanese.
I didn’t know who it was directed at. “Hai, wakarimashita”, I replied. And I received a pat on the back for that. Wow!! Tests should be more like this. We were asked to submit the forms directly at the consulate in Teynampet, and they’d take care of all the VISA issues. Also, “ The last date for the submission of the applications is Feb 28. So you want to submit the applications as soon as possible. The consulate is closed for visitors after 5 O’ clock. ” It was 4 in the evening of the 28th of February.
Great news pro. Thanks for everything.
We did manage to get to the consulate on time. At 5. On the dot. Not without events though. We had stopped on the way to get my photo taken. The shop keeper went on a mad shouting spree when I opened the door to another room. Some guys were watching a cricket match inside. It couldn’t have been the black room. Frankly, I had other things on my mind then to even bother about his furious yapper.
Our contact at the consulate asked us to come back the next day. And he gave us new copies of the same form to be filled again. “You’re the boss man. Anything you say.” So the next morning, Viki and myself, went to submit the forms. Ram couldn’t make it. That ends the first episode. We did not receive any news whatsoever from anyone for about two months. My beliefs were getting stronger.
This is too good to believe. I mean come on we don’t even know how we were selected. Why are we going to Japan? Would there be anyone else with us? Ten days. Sponsored by the Japanese. Is it enough to know only this much??