I have been waiting for months, nay years, to go to Japan. Finally the day has come. Tomorrow I hop on a 13-hour direct flight from Metro Detroit to Tokyo. Thinking about what I’m going to do with myself for thirteen hours scares me, but I’ve been loading up on tunes and literature over the last couple of days. Hopefully, it will go by quickly. I think I could listen to this tune for the entire thirteen hours!
A lot has happened over the past two months since I last posted. I completed my academic career by completing both my undergraduate and master’s degree at Case Western Reserve University. The last few weeks before classes ended were some of the toughest I’ve had in my five year career, but everything was worth it when I walked across the stage and held my diploma.
After commencement and the university kicked us all out of housing, I came home for the grand sum of three days. These past three days have been pretty chaotic. I (along with my mom) have needed to gather the last few necessities before I head off to Japan. During my journey in Japan, I have several guides in the major cities. The concept of tipping in Japan is not understood, and can even be misconstrued as insulting. However, the Japanese thoroughly enjoy small trinkets that have some meaning behind them. The tour company suggested that I purchase small gifts from my hometown or home country that can be given to these guides. I spent two days buying gifts that I thought were nice and didn’t cost too much money. In addition, I will be staying with a host family for about four days in Kyoto, so I also needed to purchase a nicer gift for them. I found a really nice coffee table book filled with colorful pictures from around Michigan, including several from my hometown. I thought this would be a really great icebreaker for me as I get to know my host family.
The next challenge involved fitting everything I would need for my trip in a small suitcase and a backpack. I had my gifts, everyday clothes, hiking clothes for Mt. Fuji, some food, and toiletries all to cram. In the end everything turned out ok. I am now almost completely packed and ready to walk on to my plane tomorrow. I couldn’t be more excited. I will try to post everyday I am in Japan, however, I am unaware of which ryokans (Japanese style inns) will have internet/computers. Be sure to follow me over the next six weeks as I travel across the country of Japan, to seven major cities and over a dozen UNESCO World Heritage sites!