As soon as you load up the game, wait for the game to prepare and create extra data. If you're playing on an old-school 3DS (or 2DS), not the new Nintendo 3DS, expect a noticeable delay before the game boots. That's perfectly normal and a sign that these new set of games are pushing the original 3DS to its limits.
Once that's done, you'll be asked to select the in-game language. You won't be able to change the language after starting the game (you'll need to start a new game instead), so be careful what you choose. In case you didn't know, there are two new languages: Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese.
Immediately afterwards, you'll receive a video message from Professor Kukui, the Alola region's resident Pokemon Professor. You're moving to the Alola region and just to be sure, the Prof asks for your details. You can select one of eight possible faces (four for each gender) and a name for your characters.
Changing Your Appearance
Later on, you'll have the option of changing your character's hairstyle, hair colour, eye colour and clothes. However you won't be able to change your character's skin colour (or gender).
Once that's all sorted, a thrilling cutscene will play, so grab the popcorn and sit back. Hmm, how intriguing...