Friday, October 15, 2010

My Last Night in Tabata

Since tonight is my last night in Sakura House Tabata, and one of my last nights in Japan for the foreseeable future, I thought that I should write. . . something. Even though Sumidagawa Youth Hostel does have wireless internet and I could, conceivably, write my "last night in Japan" post there tomorrow night, it just wouldn't be the same. So I sit here on the bed upon which I will sleep for one last time, writing what will almost certainly be my last blog post from my first trip to Japan.

In case that last sentence has you worried, let me just say that the sadness I intermittently felt throughout the past month over leaving Japan has past. I had a great, productive day today. Most of my things are packed, my room is vacuumed, the AC filters cleaned, and hell, I even washed the floors. I thought it would be an all day job, but I managed to finish by early afternoon, so I spent the rest of the day walking; through Tabata-shinmachi, then Nishi-Nippori, then Nippori, then all the way to Ueno park, and then back again. At Nippori I ate a beef rice-bowl (one of my staple foods here in Japan, along with ramen, conbini sushi and the absolutely delicious katsu-don) and was complemented for my chopstick skills-- though the flip side of that is I didn't understand she was complimenting me until she had said it for the third or fourth time. Figures, I spend three months in Japan and the skill I most successfully develop involves food, not language.

Tomorrow I stay at the same youth hostel I did when I arrived. I'll likely spend the day in nearby Akihabara, visiting the Tokyo Anime Center (free!) and seeing if I can buy a watch with my 1000 yen AKKY coupon. Then, the next morning-- as early as possible in order to beat the crowds-- I head to Narita airport. Once there, I plan on checking in my luggage, and then visiting nearby Narita-san shrine. My flight doesn't leave until nearly 6 pm, so I should be okay for time. Then its a couple of hours of waiting to board, and then nine hours of likely very little sleep as I fly to back to Canada.

After that. . .

Well, immediately afterward, I'm heading to Victoria to see my sister's new band Pocketknife perform live. Then I'll spend the next week or so getting set up in Victoria, then going back up to PG to see family and friends, pack up more of my stuff, and move it back down. Oh, and somewhere in there I will find time to grab a fucking huge Taco Time Super Beef Burrito meal. And a steak with garlic butter penne. And Daddio's pizza. Seriously, there is so much pizza and pasta in Japan and none of it is done right!

But after that. . . ?

Well. . . school, and. . . work, and. . . tutoring, and. . . well. . . there is one thing I'm gonna try and do once I get back to Canada, something that could set me on the right path in life, or at the very least, be quite an experience. I'll let you know once I get back.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Really Hope I'm Not Catching A Cold. . .

Well, it's just eight more days until I return to Canada! I closed my bank account with Shinsei almost a month exactly after I opened it (something I'm really glad to have gotten out of the way, seeing as how I felt awkward about having opened an account without ever using it), and I've gotten most of my final month "wish list" out of the way:

Yokohama & Yokosuka -- Check!

Kawagoe -- Check!

One Last Sailor Moon Location -- Check. . . but it kinda sucked. I may still do another, depending on whatnot.

Kamakura -- Check! Although there was so much to explore there that I couldn't really cover it in the half-day I was there.

Hakone, Mt. Fuji, & Tokyo Disney -- Decided not to go for budget reasons! (that technically counts as getting it "out of the way")

That leaves only one major item remaining on my wish list: Nikko*. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's considered by the Japanese to be pretty much the most beautiful place on Earth (more or less), so obviously I must see it. I plan to go on Monday-- the morning trains will be busy as all fuck, but I'm counting on Nikko itself to be less crowded, as it's a weekday and all. Expect pictures-- after I get back. Currently I have a pretty huge backlog of pictures that I have yet to upload to Facebook, and I've decided not to bother with it until I get back. It's not like I won't be back in Canada for months and need to update people on my travels.

Aside from the big things, I'm also visiting various gardens, munching on rice bowls & ramen (the cheap fast food of Japan) as well as the exotic burgers of McDonald's Japan ("Salt & Lemon" Chicken Burgers, "Tamago Burgers" aka "Quarter Pounder with EGG!", and most recently the "Fondue Chicken Burger"), walking for absurd distances (yesterday I walked from my house in Tabata-shinmachi all the way to Tokyo Sky Tree, probably over ten kilometers round trip), and sitting at parks, writing bits of Sailor Moon The Movie in my notebook. And in the comfort of home (at least it will be until next Saturday :( ) I've been enjoying the benefits of the internet in unexpected ways:

Starting about a month ago, I started re-watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It really was a good show, though strangely enough, now that I'm watching it, I'm really eager to watch Babylon 5 (during it's run, I dismissed B5 as a low budget Star Trek knockoff, but now I'm willing to another try).

Speaking of SF, I've been reading some of the short stories of Robert J. Sawyer, posted online on his website. Sawyer was introduced to me by my thesis advisor, Dr. Mark Shegelski, who has written his own anthology of cool science fiction stories, Remembering the Future, which is now available on Kindle for $4.99. You can also find his blog here.

I've also been reading Sherlock Holmes stories on the project Gutenberg website. Did you know Holmes was a coke-head? Surprising, no?

On a final note. . . as much as I wanted to have the next piece of the Sailor Moon script up before I left for Canada, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. But for the one or two people still following the script, rest assured that big things are coming. Just you wait!

*There's also a minor item: Narita-san, a large Buddhist shrine just a couple of stops away from the airport. If I'm in good enough shape to haul my luggage there-- or if, more preferably, I can check my heavier bags at the airport and still travel there without any trouble-- I'd like to visit it. It'll be my one last hurrah, and I should have plenty of time since my plane doesn't leave until nearly six in the evening.
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