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.
"THINGS TO DO":
#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! :(
#4: Watch a baseball game
#5: Watch sumo wrestling?
#6: Go to a pachinko parlor
#10: See a movie in a movie theater?
THINGS TO DO/EAT (LOCALLY)":
#6: Dinner at Orange & then karaoke at SKY
#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?!?)
"PLACES TO GO":
#2: Watch "Ukai" or the very bizarre / beautiful (cruel?) traditional cormorant fishing
#5: Fushimi Inari in Kyoto- and actually spend some quality time there.
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.
"THINGS TO DEAL WITH":
#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!