5 Things In Anticipation of Japan

Sunrise at Kozu 国府津 by flickr user joka2000

Sunrise at Kozu 国府津. Image by flickr user joka2000

Reading Gretchin Rubin’s blog The Happiness Project has really given me a lot of insight into my own happiness and many great ideas for how to enjoy life even more. One that has really stuck with me is the four stages of happiness (anticipate, savour, express, reflect). So, here’s is a list of things I’m anticipating with pleasure about our upcoming trip to Japan. There’s 5 days until we leave and here’s a little list of 5 things I’m anticipating with pleasure, in no particular order. (This list could be much longer if I listed all the sights, attractions, etc. but I figured I’d keep it short and general and keep the specifics for when I’ve got pictures and stories to go with them.)

  • A really long plane ride. You may think I’m joking about this one, but I’m not. I have many fond memories of long car, or plane, or train rides from childhood. The vibrations of a moving vehicle seem to relax me. When I have a headache, going for a car ride actually makes me feel better! Weird, I know. So, the thought of a nice long (roughly 11 hours) plane ride filled with naps, podcasts, reading, writing, and an in-flight movie, is actually really appealing. Even waiting in the airport doesn’t really bother me! And, I’ve decided that even though my husband can get grumpy with waiting, I’m not going to let it bother me. In fact, I’m going to do my best to do nice things for him and help him have a good time too.
  • Warm weather. I’ve been checking temperatures in Japan and it’s about 8-10 degrees (Celsius) warmer than here. It will be really nice to not be too cold all the time (I’m wearing fleece pants, wool socks, and a sweater as I type, and it isn’t even that chilly inside).
  • Train rides. Similar to the plane ride, but it’ll be different from the trains I’ve been on in the past. I’m really looking forward to visiting places that have bustling train stations with more than 2 rail lines! It’ll be a challenge to navigate the different connections and train options, but I’m looking forward to it. Plus, I’ve heard it’s considered very bad etiquette to talk on a cell phone while on the train, so they should be much quieter than our local ones.
  • Pushing my limits. We’ve finished all 90 Japanese lessons and I feel fairly comfortable that we’ll be able to muddle our way through. But, both my husband and myself are a bit introverted. For this trip we’re keeping our itinerary very open so we’ll literally be forced to interact with a lot of people. We have one hotel booked and no pre-paid attractions arranged, so we’ll really have to get out there and talk to people.
  • Going with everything I need in one bag. I’m finding it a very freeing experience to have to put everything in one bag. We did a test run packing last night and both had room to spare. It’s going to be nice to not worry about losing or damaging much stuff. Plus, we won’t have to worry about carrying heavy suitcases. Our limited wardrobe means we might not get to eat at a fancy restaurant, but we won’t have to worry about the bill either. Plus, no fancy clothes means I don’t have to concern myself with a wide selection of cosmetics, jewellery, or what extra shoes to pack. If we find we really need something while we’re there, we’ll be able to buy it locally anyway.


  1. Alex said,

    April 30, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Hi there. I just stumbled onto your blog having searched for example sentences to use in class with my Japanese students who are studying English, and I felt compelled to leave a comment, either as confirmations or warnings about your upcoming trip.

    I can’t say that I’m with you on being able to enjoy a plane ride (I’m scared of flying!), but they show some pretty decent, recent movies on most flights, and they’ll often have a sort of “tour program” regarding Japan.

    I don’t know what area you intend to visit, but “warm weather” is almost an understatement! We’ve been heading out for the day in T-shirts recently. Careful of air conditioning in stores, though – You’ll walk out of the warm sun into blasts of chilly air which isn’t very kind to your body’s regulating systems.

    Train rides are fun when you get out of the city, not so romantic inside a metropolis, and downright disturbing during rush hour in the summer when you’re squished against everyone else. But I recommend taking the slow, local trains if you head out of the city into rural areas. Great photo opportunities!

    Don’t feel disappointed when people don’t understand you. Speak as flat as possible (pretend you’re a robot, almost) and you’ll be understood easier. I’ve been speaking Japanese for over 7 years now, and every once in a while people still can’t catch a word if I don’t elongate a vowel or something by accident.

    If you end up needed a suit to head out for dinner, you can find some pretty decent stuff for cheap at Mujirushi (shortened to Muji), and it’s fun to tell people back home that you, “bought it in Japan.”

    Anyways, good luck and have a safe trip over here!

  2. Carmen said,

    May 2, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    you added me in your twitter and decided to follow your link. I have been here in your journal for quite a while and am enjoying. Have a great trip to Japan. Trains are alot of fun! Great journal you got going here, friendly, mermaid me

  3. Jacklyn said,

    May 3, 2008 at 4:34 am

    I really admire you and your husband for getting out there. I wish I was brave enough to do that! Have a fantastic time!

    And what’s this about you using Twitter? I’m absolutely addicted to Twitter!

  4. Jennifer said,

    May 3, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    @ Alex – Thanks for the comments! I really am looking forward to the warmer weather. We’ve had mostly rain and even a bit of snow in the past month so I am primed for some sunshine. Even when we reach 20 degrees here (I live close to Vancouver in BC, Canada) I still feel too chilly and wear a sweater. The only downside is I’m pale as a ghost and you reminded me that I’ll definitely need to pick up sunscreen when we arrive!

    I’m hoping that since we don’t have a fixed itinerary, we’ll be able to avoid a lot of the rush hours. But, we’re both pretty seasoned transit-takers over here. Once we get back though, I’ll be able to let people know what a really crowded system actually looks and feels like. Maybe quiet down a few people who complain because all of 4 people have to stand up on a bus!

    Definitely won’t feel disappointed if people don’t understand me. Some people don’t understand me in English either. Plus, I used to be an ESL teacher here, so I know how difficult it can be to understand foreigners speaking your language.

    I clicked over to your blog too and it looks great. Can’t wait to explore a bit more when I return from Japan.

    @ Carmen – I’m following you now in twitter and checked out your blog too! I can’t wait to read more. I’ve found so many interesting, creative and talented people online lately, I feel so lucky!

    @ Jacklyn – I think everyone is brave in different ways. You probably feel just fine hitting the dance floor, while I always feel shy and self-conscious out there. Wouldn’t dream of dancing unless I had a friend/partner for moral support. I just discovered twitter: http://twitter.com/Jennerosity. I plan on tweeting updates and my husband totally surprised me and said he wants to fire up a travel blog so we can blog about our journey too. When that’s up and running I’ll definitely post the link.

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