Hello, everyone!

If you’re actually reading this, thank you kindly for your patronage and reader loyalty. It is greatly appreciated, much more so than I have let out. 🙂 And if you’re wondering where I’ve been, the answer is – right where I’ve always been, with the exception that I won’t be here for two weeks starting tomorrow.

It’s been a long wait with a lot of preparation and saving, but at last, I’ll be able to see the country I’ve most wanted to visit for – well, since forever! So now you know why I’ve had narry a blurb for the past 3 months. Nonetheless, I apologize for the lack of notification, let alone content.

Well, moving right along then.

I think I have everything ready. I went through my checklist, then wrote it all down again and added a few more items and checked those off as well. *deep breath* So, am I ready? Uh, NO! For starters, my Japanese is highly insufficient, and I can only recognize, hm… about 20 (on a good day) out of 5,000+ of the most common characters. Even nearly 4 months straight *cough* ON AND OFF *cough* (haha!) of Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone, various self-teaching books, and one very worn and tattered dictionary sum up to one hapless realization: I probably won’t get far without my Lonely Planet phrase book. (Thanks again, Joanne!)

Then again, I guess nothing can really prepare anyone for an excursion of this magnitude. I mean, for me, this is humongous! Japan! Language barriers aside, this will be my first major trip on my own (I know, isn’t that depressing? :P). Also, If I’m lucky enough to get a seat on the early morning bus next Monday, I’ll have time to make the full hike up Mount Fuji! All the way to the summit! Yyeeaahh!! That’s gonna be so freaking awesome!! ^o^ Otherwise, I may have to settle for starting from Station 5, which is already 2.5-3 hours up; but that means I’ll miss one of the oldest shrines at the foot of the mountain, located in a forest of HUGE trees that are thousands of years old. In either case, it’s gonna one gruelling and amazing day! 😀

I’ll be staying in Taito for 6 days, fanning out in different directions to various cities. Besides Tokyo itself and its various wards, there’s Kyoto and Nara, and if I have time (and money left over), Kamakura. I should be able to visit at least 4 hotspots (Akihabara, Harajuku, Shinjuku, and Asakusa) plus 2 other major cities Southwest and West of Tokyo. After 6 days in Tokyo, it’s off to Sendai for the Tanabata Festival (SWEET!), more shrines, one very old castle (not sure if that will be open, though, due to some restoration), a museum or two, one large natural preserve, and maybe even a visit to the aquarium.

Then, a brief stay at an onsen ryokan near Matsushima Bay (walking distance). This is one of the top three visits I’ve mapped out, including Mount Fuji and the Tanabata Matsuri. Some say the sunrise from Matsushima is one of the greatest sites in Japan. That should make for some very sweet eye candy. 😉

And that wraps up the trip. From the ryokan, it’s a bullet train back to Tokyo and then the flight back home.

Oh, man oh man oh man oh man! I’m excited and nervous!

I’ll most likely post photos on FaceBook while I’m there. My camera doesn’t compress video very well, and I’m not converting it on a netbook, so YouTube is out. However, if I have time, I’ll pick out some choice photos for small updates on this blog as well. 🙂

This is all for now. Take care everyone.

I’ll be back next month! ^_^/~