First of all, this is my first foray into the wonderful world of blogs, and so, while I promise to strive for entertainment value as well as honesty, I make no contractual agreements as to the quality of this blog.
I hope that this blog will be interesting and maybe even useful to other people teaching overseas, or even going to Japan with the JET Programme. I hope it's interesting to some other random people as well.
However, second on this list of caveats, but first and foremost in my mind (once I get all this introduction stuff out of the way) I need to write this blog for my own sake, and not only attempt to cater to an imagined audience.
Subsequent to that statement, and third on this list, I need to start trying to write with shorter, less awkward sentences.
And so... where do we stand thus far? I am not only excited for Japan but beginning to get nervous. I am not yet nervous about the whole 'stranger in a foreign land' thing. So far, I have only started worrying about money, and about possessions and packing. I will likely have less than the recommended $3000 when I set foot in the J-spot, and that's before I pay my first month's rent. And THEN I have to survive two to three weeks until my first paycheck!
Yet, before I can even really start worrying about that worry, I have to worry about buying all this stuff I need, including: a laptop, a Digital camera (SLR or compact, still can't decide!), tons of tooth paste and deodorant, plus, an entirely new wardrobe because all of my clothes are 5-year-old handmedowns and whoknowswhats from Nowhere Inc that I probably shouldn't even be wearing in public.
You see, since I'm trying to 'realise' my life and start growing up, I figure I should make this trip a starting point and get out of all these embarrasing clothes. You know, tailor the way you look on the outside to both represent and to shape the way you think and feel on the inside. My wise and well dressed brother taught me that, or something like that, and I also thank him for suggesting this whole blogging venture.
In terms of preparation for Japan, well, the more the better. To that end, I've done not very much whatsoever. I did, I suppose, take an anthropology of Japan course at university. I've read a total of 5 books about Japan, and some random chapters in other textbooks about Shintoism, and Buddhism. I've looked up random facts about Japan on the internet. I've tried quite unsucessfully to be disciplined in practicing the Japanese Language from a self-teaching book over the last couple months. All of this is to say that I know next to nothing about the J-spot and I am exceedingly ill-prepared for the journey.
What I do have [cue combatitive optimism]: fond memories from a brief highschool trip to Japan; a personality generally calm under stress; growing curiosity about the world; determination to have a challenging and enlightening experience; I'm tall. I know that last lacks a certain poetic nobility, but I've heard it has a big impact on the treatment travellers can expect.
I must also divulge another adventure that diverts my thoughts and doubles my worries: a four day hiking trip on the Juan de Fuca trail on Vancouver Island. I love the outdoors, but I've never done a multiday hike before. This, my first, is happening mid-July and so I am having to rush around preparing for that, while the expected stresses of planning for both trips compound and expand.
There, I've got all that off my chest, and now I need to go read some Herman Hesse, which boggles and calms in turns.