Two days and counting down...

I was cleaning my room and packing this weekend, and I came upon a copy of Alex Garland's The Beach.

This section really intrigued me:

"Escape through travel works. Almost from the moment I boarded my flight, life in England became meaningless. Seat belt signs lit up, problems switched off. Broken armrests took precedence over broken hearts. By the time the plane was airborne I'd forgotten England even existed."

It really struck me; a week or two ago, I was torn between wanting to stay here in the US and wanting to leave for Japan, and each day would bring reasons for both. The reasons for leaving usually have to do with seeing people I never want to see again, I guess. They're not reading this blog, of course, but every time I catch a glimpse of them, I'm like, "Thank goodness I'm getting out of here. I can forget they existed."

That's not to say that I'm running away from them or anything. These people I've coexisted with for a year or two, three in one case.

Still, overall, one can say that going to Japan is something that's good anyway. Getting away from these people is just a side perk.

There are dear friends of mine that I didn't want to leave behind at all. You all know who you are. But I'm sure that they'll keep in touch, since some of them are reading this (or they better, since I'm holding up my bargain to put tons of pictures up on this site).

I leave Thursday. Mom was telling me, "don't even think about it before you go. Just do your stuff. Pack, get really busy. Otherwise you'll make yourself a nervous wreck." And she was right. Once preparations picked up I was so busy all I wanted to do was sleep after I got back home. I've been pumping myself up for the trip by talking to the fellow students also going there (Marianne, Marina, Lianting and Wiwie to name a few) and looking at Yushima Tenjin and Jishu Jinja, shrines I want to visit. Been cementing contacts with people like Ohara-sensei and Bob-san, so on and so forth.

By the time I get on the plane, I should be fully ready.


The Joys Of Getting A Visa

I applied for a visa to Japan on Wednesday. Had to send off my passport, my Certificate of Eligibility, my Certificate of Admissions, and Certificate of Scholarship from JASSO. The whole thing cost US $13.65 for one way, so I had to shell out twice that much. That stung.

First hurdle happened when I got a call from the Consulate General of Japan, saying that I hadn't filled everything out on the application. The good thing was Karl (the guy in charge of visas) he was still there, so he told me what he wanted in more detail (which the visa application doesn't do too well) . I looked stuff up on the Net, gave him addresses and such, and he said that I should expect it in the mail Tuesday.

Fast forward to Tuesday, today. I expect the package in the mail before noon, but 1) there's no sign of the mailman ever being here, since I had something to mail anyway, and 2) it's already one in the afternoon. I freaked out--made several calls to Karl in Detroit, made two calls to the post office here in Ann Arbor, made another call to the Office of International Programs, and spent the day doing laundry, drinking lots of water, and paced around frantically because that was my goddamned passport they were screwing with.

I couldn't do much, since the only advice I had was to wait, and also that if it didn't arrive by Thursday, to really start freaking out. Luckily, I have copies of every necessary document, including the passport, so if it came to that, there's still a month before I leave.

The regular mail came, and still no package.

Around 4:30-5:00, I get a call from the post office, saying that the carrier had been there at 11:55. Now, that was just BS--I had mail in there, and if he'd delivered the thing like he said, I wouldn't have had to call the post office twice. So he tells me to go check my mailbox, and it's there, and he says that I didn't look hard enough.

Dude, please. Even someone who wears glasses and has astigmatism in both eyes can tell if a package a foot long is in her mailbox, and it wasn't there until at least after 3:30.

Yeah, the USPS decided to cop out on this one. Kinda lame.

But at least I have my visa, and that just about leaves packing, saying goodbye to people, and monkeying around with my laptop Satsumaimo until I have to head to the airport.

One more month. I can't believe it.