We bought luggage at TJ Maxx this past weekend: two large 29″ Dockers suitcases for about $60 apiece. We’re still contemplating whether to purchase a new carry-on or two, or just use our backpacks and shoulder bags as carry-on.
Since I expedited my passport, it arrived a couple of weeks ago. Aaron’s still waiting for his to show up, even though he applied for his much sooner than I did mine. As soon as his passport arrives, we’ll reserve our Ghibli Museum vouchers, since we need passport info to get those.
Due to an incredible stroke of luck, we managed to book a room at the Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu during the Sanja Festival. The Shigetsu is practically across the street from the Sensoji Temple and Asakusa Shrine… well, OK, maybe a couple streets and a park away. At any rate, we’ll be in Asakusa, in the thick of things, during the Sanja Matsuri. Could be crazy. Will definitely be a new and fun experience.
I’ve completed the Pimsleur Japanese Short Course, all eight lessons, and am going to continue with Japanese I tomorrow. (From what I understand, the Short Course is basically the first eight lessons of Japanese I, so I’m starting with Lesson 8 tomorrow.) Vocab from JPod101 is starting to dovetail with Pimsleur, which tends to make my Pimsleur lessons feel less difficult… or less meaningful. When I already know all the new vocab except the word “lunch,” I tend to feel a little jipped, I guess.
I have the feeling I’m still going to either have to consult Aaron’s phrasebook or look up some words online before our departure. After I’m done here, I may take a few minutes to look up “water,” “menu,” and other daily vocabulary I might need. Honestly, though, I’m fully expecting not to need my meager Japanese skillz in Tokyo. I expect that the person at the front desk of the Tokyo Prince Hotel is going to greet us in English, rather than saying, “Tokyo Purinsu Hoteru e youkoso irashaimase!” So, I’m probably not going to have to remember about nimei being the honorific term for “two people,” or roppaku being the word for “six nights.” It might be polite of me to give it a shot, though, and I’m still not convinced that we won’t need my fantastic *scoff-scoff* Japanese skillz somewhere along the line.
I’m afraid I might try to get too fancy if I try to speak too much Japanese, as I’m basically doing the language version of learning to play piano from that crazy infomercial guy. I don’t know all the underlying grammar and structure; I’m learning phrases on the fly and picking up some structure along the way. The particles are still eluding me a bit, and there are words with similar meanings that confuse me. I’m afraid that if I try to put together new sentences with words I know, I’m going to fuck the grammar all up and end up sounding like… well, like a foreigner, I suppose. Go figure.
[Hmm. I’m a big word nerd. I just cleared up some of my confusion by reading the Wikipedia article on Japanese particles that I just linked to. Just tell me that “o” indicates a direct object, and it clears things right up. Wikipedia makes everything clearer…]
OK, off of the Japanese language rant.
At any rate, things are starting to come together. We’ll start being a little more methodical about planning the things we definitely don’t want to miss, and listing things in the same vicinity that we could squeeze in around the biggies. Like, Nakano Broadway is a must. The Ghibli Museum is a must. The Ramen Museum… OK, that’s really high up on the list. The Parasitological Museum is a free oddity that would be fun to check out, but is not necessarily a must-do. 😉
What’s the Japanese word for OMGEXCITED!!!111 ?