Sunday, May 27, 2007

Countdown lists....

Crazy.... 2 months from this Friday, I'll be on a plane heading back to my family and friends laden with luggage, gifts, and memories!!!

I have started a list of lists (gosh, I love lists!!!).... "things to do", "things to eat", "places to go", and the more mundane "things to deal with" before I leave Japan.

Here goes:
#1: Eat "fugu", the poisonous pufferfish (well, eat the carefully prepared, NON-poisonous part, that is)
#2: Stay in a "capsule hotel"- unfortunately, not many of the places I go have offered these for women! :(
#3: Go to a "biking"... this is the Japanese word for a "buffet", not a bike ride. It is inspired by the word "Viking" which refers to the northern European pirates raiding and taking everything they possibly could get their hands on (you know, like you do at an all-you-can-eat-buffet). Since there is no "V" in Japanese, the word sounds like "biking" (YAY! Went to a "nomihodai" (all-you-can-eat/drink in Kyoto on June 8th!)
#4: Watch a baseball game
#5: Watch sumo wrestling?
#6: Go to a pachinko parlor
#7: Go to all the festivals in the next several months wearing my new yukata (lightweight summer cotton kimono) (7/28/07- in the process & loving it!!!)
#8: Watch a taiko performance (YES!!! The Yoshida's hooked me up with tickets to see the infamous KODO group!) Yay! Went on 6/22!!)
#9: Go to life-drawing class with Jason (sorry, I know I've been promising that for like 7 months!) Yay! Went on 6/30!!)
#10: See a movie in a movie theater?
#11: Try "natto" the supposedly delicious fermented soybean dish that most Japanese enjoy, and most gaijin abhore. Yay! Tried it on 7/1! Not so bad actually, but difficult texture.)


#1: Yakitori at Daikichi w/ Bryn & Jannie (yay! did that last Tuesday!)
#2: Kaiten (literally "revolving" or conveyor belt) Sushi (yay! did that last Tuesday- yes, we had 2 dinners.)
#3: Go to the Amanohashidate Beer Garden (7/28/07 YAY! Been there twice now...)
#4: Plant rice in a rice field (YES!!! Scored next weekend to do this with the Yoshidas!) (June 3)
#5: Go to Kotobikihama- the famous "squeaking sand" beach in Amino (Yay! went there this past weekend!)

#6: Dinner at Orange & then karaoke at SKY
#7: Go to Karachi, the Indian restaurant in Maizuru (June 10)
#8: Go to the "secret beach" and jazz club near Kunda
#9: Go hiking on Mt. Oe and the other mountain that Bryn & Jannie keep talking about.
#10: Go to the summer festival behind my house and watch the waterfall get set on fire (um, what?!?)

#1: See & drive over the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world! (to and from Awaji/Shikoku, June 9-10)
#2:  Watch "Ukai" or the very bizarre / beautiful (cruel?) traditional cormorant fishing
#3: The Uzushio whirlpools" (YAY! Went on June 10th- probably one of the highlights of my entire year in Japan!)
#4: Tottori sand dunes (YAY! Went on 6/23, on the way to Matsue!)
#5: Fushimi Inari in Kyoto- and actually spend some quality time there.
#6: Nara

Unfortunately, as much as I would love to go to Tokyo, especially to see the Ghibli Museum, it's just not going to happen. Since Tokyo is a big, modern city that I can easily visit in the future, I decided to conentrate on the smaller or remote areas.

#1: Throwing (or giving) away wornout clothing, shoes, etc. (There are also some that I am so sick of wearing I can't bear to look at them anymore...)
#2: Settling all my financial stuff- taxes, closing bank accounts, utilities, etc.
#3: Buying gifts/souvenirs for everyone back home
#4: Trying to get a job (or my former job back) in New York
#5: P a c k i n g . . .

I've been really lucky to have been able to do many things I never thought I would be able to, including traveling to the most extreme parts of Japan, being able to wear so many kimono to many events (and learning to put one on by myself!), eating many types of new foods, being invited to so many people's homes...

Feel free to offer anny suggestions, I'll be updating this list regularly!

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