So, I'm in Japan right now. I stayed up all night packing, laundering, and cleaning the kitchen so that it would be pleasant when I got back. Jonah and Evan hung out with me to keep me awake. The best part was that I miscalculated the time and had to race to the bus station at top speed on my electric skateboard with my suitcase on my back. Luckily it's the best suitcase ever, so that was doable.
Todd and I made no plans prior to our day of departure. No hotel. No tours. Nothing. We didn't really even read about Japan. Early that morning, though, I scrambled and wrote some posts to craigslist looking for a place to stay. One guy responded, offering a very cheap room with bunk beds near Tokyo. With no better alternatives, we agreed.
Our flight went without incident. I spent it learning Mega Memory, watching Survivor Season 3, and sleeping just enough to get adjusted to Japanese time. Todd took a video of me sleeping, snoring, and tossing my head left and right as I tried to stay situated on the tiny little headrest.
As soon we landed in Japan we walked towards customs talking about our positions on losing our passports. I was open to the possibility of losing mine and getting diplomatically trapped in Japan. Todd wasn't so keen on the idea. When he took a detour to the bathroom I realized that my wish had been granted. My passport was gone.
I searched my pockets and my bag over and over again but couldn't find it. In broken English an airline attendant offered to help. She dispatched someone to my seat and he looked - no luck. As a last resort I boarded the plane again and found it. It was under a blanket in the overhead bin.
The subway system here is very logical, well layed out, and easy to understand if you know Japanese. My Japanes vocabulary is on the housepet level, though, so we had a few blunders. Nothing serious, though. Finally we got to Asakusa, where we were to meet our host.
We meandered through the concrete brick paved streets which were flanked by shops that looked like they were out of a Kung Fu movie. Finally we caught a glimpse of our meeting point, Sensoji Temple, which is absolutely amazing.
My healthy eating had to be paused, or at least cut back for the trip. We could hardly order at our first meal, let alone understand what ingredients were in it.
Hopefully my stories will be a little more interesting next time. I'll have pictures, too.
Youkoso! Japan is awesome. I'm on my last of three years here. I haven't gotten around to learning Japanese yet (yours is housepet level? Mine is houseplant level, on a good day). Nevertheless, it's an adventure! ^_^
I wish I had spent more time in Tokyo. I'm stuck in the baka inaka.
I heard Hiroshima you can still smell the ashes there under all the new housing. Tokyo seems really cool, and being Asian myself, I really gotta appeciate the technological superadvanced Asian cities ever more.
I've always hated anime. I never really gave it much of a chance as it combined two things that I didn't care for: cartoons and words I couldn't understand.
One night I was at my friend Charlie's house, hanging out in the living room. Someone in his family put on Hayao Miyazaki's anime mastepiece, "Spirited Away".
At first I ignored the movie, giving it just a small fraction of my attention. By the time it was over I was totally enthralled. The story was fantastic, the characters were great, but most of all the movie was beautifully drawn.
Happy new year!
I am hoping you would share your resources for your reading on Japanese history. Book titles and/or urls would be very helpful.
I got that a week ago, and I kind of sat there staring at the email. Japanese history is some of the most confusing to start to learn, because different elements of Japanese history and culture all play on and influence each other. I could run you through the military history of Japan from The Battle of Okehazama to Sekigahara to the Boshin War, from there into Dai Nippon Tekoku Era, from there into defeat and the Occupation under McArthur, and then we could do a little post-war history.