Friday, March 05, 2004

Break Time!
That's it! I'm done! I gave my students their midterm today, and now I have nothing to think about other than getting ready for tomorrow. Tomorrow, I leave for Japan!!! For the next week, I will be back in Sendai and Shiogama, this time as a tourist. I'm going to be staying with Richard on Sunday night, Sharon on Monday and Tuesday, and Danola for the rest of the week when she gets back from a conference in Tokyo. Sharon has all of Monday off, and half of Tuesday, and apparently she and Kristel have my itinerary all planned, with a tour of the temple district of Kita-Sendai, a new coffee place, and the shrine behind my old house. I don't know what Danola has planned for me. I also don't know yet if I'll get to see Kamiyama-sensei, but I hope so. On Friday, my friend Chris, who was the only other person in my Japanese self-study class at Grinnell, and who is now on the JET program in Tochigi, is taking his first ride on the shinkansen to come up and see me and whoever else I draft into helping show him around.

I'm very much looking forward to it, but I realized that it's also kind of disorienting. I'm going back as a tourist this time. It's the first time I've had to deal with organizing my travel around Japan from the US. I don't already have a shinkansen ticket ready to go to Sendai, I don't have a Japanese ATM card (although my US one should work), and I don't currently have any yen. I actually had to call my dad last night and ask him how they got money when they were visiting me. Hopefully, though, all of these things will be easily manageable, especially as I have a good idea of what I'm doing and can ask where things are, such as ATMs. But! If I couldn't ask for directions, I could always rent one of these personal translation robots. Well, not the robots, actually, just the PDAs, but look, they're right on the Narita website. I think the nearly 100% accuracy rate is rather impressive. I don't think I'll get one, though. I'll just have to make do with my own brain.

Anyway, I may or may not update this while I'm over there. I know I can get internet access at the AER building next to the station, I just don't know if I'll have time!

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