I checked my watch. Still seven minutes before the hour. What was the problem?
She showed me to a seat at the back of the room. The meeting that was scheduled before the introduction of the foreigners (the exchange students and me) was still in progress. At about five past, the organizer came in with the three exchange students. She said she had waited for me by the front entrance, but I had arrived too early and she missed me. I hadn't realized being too early was a problem in punctual Japan.
As soon as the meeting ended, they introduced the four of us and had us each give speeches. I had been told in advance that I was supposed to give a speech, but I didn't want to bother making one up in advance because then I'd have to go and memorize it, and I'd probably get mixed up partway through anyway. So I just made something up on the spot. I can't vouch for the quality of my Japanese, but I think I did all right.
Afterward we sat around and had snacks for a while. When it was over, they rewarded each of us with a small basket of cookies and a potted flower. (My poor flower got a bit roughed up on the bicycle ride back. I swear, for a country where so many people ride bikes, they haven't grasped the concept of smoothly ramped curbs. It's rare that I can ever make it back from the grocery store without at least one cracked egg.)