We were lucky enough to get a really nice luggage set practically free, that happens to just fit the regulations for the Delta Airline, and today I was "practice" packing, keeping in mind that there are still a couple things I need to get, mostly clothes and gifts. Well, I think I'll be able to fit everything in my checked luggage (62 in. max, though mine may be a tiny bit smaller) and carry on bag. My extra item will be my purse; I really don't have much I intend to bring aside from the necessities: clothes, gifts, toiletries you need/want, at least one towel to start you off (more, lighter ones can be bought in Japan), slippers of sorts, coats, shoes, shampoo and deodorant (depending on your hair type, their shampoo may just make your hair greasy and gross, and their deodorant may not be as strong as you like), an Ethernet cord for internet in your apartment, three to two prong converter, rain gear (which can be bought cheaply on Japan), and possibly a few other little things I may have forgotten. Also, don't forget to make copies of your passport for just in case, and purchase about the equivalent of $300 in yen before you go, as well as keeping about $100 USD for at the airport before and after the trip. The easiest way to get money on Japan is ATM's, but make sure to make transactions in large amounts, but not more than you can reasonably use, all because it's a bit pricey to exchange money. I recommend using Skype for communication, especially since internet is available on campus. Prepaid phones are also a less expensive option and are good for emergencies anyway. These are all things on my list, and though there are a few things I left out, those are a bit more complicates. Besides, I don't need to rewrite the entire handbook for JCMU here...Speaking of the handbook, it gives some really good information on culture shock, and how to sell your experience to employers, and things like that.
It sounds like a lot, I know, and it kind of is, but if you can minimize and learn to live with a bit less than you're used to, then it shouldn't be a problem. OK, so I'm packing about 8 shirts or so, and maybe 4 or so pairs of jeans, a couple pairs of shorts (if I can ever manage to find appropriate ones that aren't either too short or too long and aren't torn or worn...), my winter coat and a nice coat and my swearshirt, about 5 pairs of shoes (no boots though, and note that aside from my tennis and maybe hiking boots, my shoes are flats and flipflops--small shoes), and...oh, gloves and a hat would probably be good. Also note that I'm putting a change or two of clothes in my carry on, so that will open up more space in my checked bag. The only things I'm bringing for entertainment on the flight are my phone, iPod, and Kindle. I guess I'll also have my laptop, since I intend to use my backpack as my carry on--two birds with one stone and all that. You know, since I'll need a backpack as well. I probably shouldn't bring my laptop, but it'll make life easier when I have to write all those papers. No, really--I was looking at old syllabi for the elective classes and it looks like there's a lot of writing involved. Not that I mind too terribly-- I was an English major for two years at Northern Michigan University before I came to MSU.
So in summary, I'll have my checked bag, my carry on, and my purse as the extra item. I'm about 99% sure I can for everything in those three things. I just hope my checked bag doesn't end up being over the max 50 pounds. This is all making me feel the need to explain how airports and stuff work, but I don't remember if I gave a summary or not yet. Well, and maybe I'll save that for a later post, say when I'm actually at the airport or on the plane (can we access the internet on the plane...? I'll find out in 48 days and post about it, anyway!
That's all that's left before the flight--48 days! I'll be flying out on September 1 at 3:45 and arriving in Japan the next day at 5:45 pm. I think I finally figured out this whole time difference thing, concerning the flight I mean. So I'll leave that Sunday at 3:45 pm and will arrive in Japan at 5:45 a.m. US time, or 5:45 p.m. Japan time. Don't quote me on that, though. I'm terrible at math (and pretty good at languages apparently, so here I am, avoiding math like the plague). Anyway, they're ahead of us by 13 hours during the summer and by 14 hours during winter--daylight saving messes it up, and I wanna say the US is the only one that still does the time change, or at least one of the few. Again, don't quote me on this, please; it's just a dusty memory that may or may not be true.
So, now that I'm thoroughly off topic, let me get back to the point and then call it a night. Pack as lightly as you can. Most likely, we're all college students here, right? I think most of us know how to minimize and live off of (and be happy with) very little, so it should be okay. ...Great, I forgot the other thing I was going to point out. Well, have all the important phone numbers with you at all times, bring a copy of the handbook with you, textbooks are mostly provided, and remember that you are representing your university and state, even your country, so dress conservatively and behave appropriately and all that usual stuff. Prepare to be excited and happy at first before experiencing culture shock. Just try to think of all the good things then and persevere and push through it, and then you'll start feeling at home. So...がんばって！And have fun with it. Just don't forget that you're there to learn and exchange cultures, especially since the program is so intensive. DO NOT miss any classes unless you're, say, dying. You'll miss out on a lot otherwise, and probably will be marked down or something. And do NOT be late.
Jeez, I said I wasn't going to rewrite the handbook, yet here I sit doing just that, and lecturing at that. I think it's just the last stuff I remember reading as I was going through the handbook for the millionth time today, checking and double checking that I have everything or at least know what I need. Well, in any case, I think that's about it. And it's getting late. I'll sign off here, then.