First Post!

It has begun.

Actually, it really hasn't begun. This blog is my first blog, the main purpose of which is to document my exploits in Japan this summer. I am still mentally and physically preparing for the trip, which begins on May 31.

I will make a few scattered posts between now and then, partially to get used to blogging, and partially because getting ready is part of the experience. So, without further ado...

New Supplies

On Friday I received a few important things in the mail. The first was a package from Amazon containing a camera, a large memory card for said camera, and a money belt.
Very exciting.
For those of you who don't know, a money belt is like a fanny pack, only it goes under your clothes, because we just don't trust people anymore. I had never heard of such a thing before, but it sounds like an amazing idea. When I'm in Japan, I don't just want to go see a landmark, take some pictures, then go back to the dorm/hostel; I want to be able to do some exploring, and it would be a bad idea to just have everything in my back pocket. I tried it on, and it seemed pretty comfortable/breathable.

I have an older digital camera, and it's actually really nice, portable, and takes very clear pictures. The only problem is that I only have one battery for it, and it tends to run out of battery overnight without warning randomly. On top of that, the charger has to be jury rigged to hold in the battery properly. I didn't want to depend on that, so I decided that it was within my budget to get a new camera.

The camera I got is pretty nice. It's no DSLR, but I don't think I'd want to lug one of those around anyway. It is probably twice the size of my old Exilim, but it is plenty small to slide into my pocket, and considering I won't have my cell phone in Japan, I might just have a vacancy for it. It's pictures are just as clear as my older camera, and definitely have richer colors and contrast. It even has a 50x zoom. I bought a 32GB SD card, so I should have plenty of space.

Later that day, I got a larger, more lightweight package.
Green DCs, my default shoes.
This is , I think, the third pair of green shoes I have ordered from DC. I'm a little worried about the feel of them. The soles are great as always, but there's a significant lack of padding around the top of the shoes, compared to what I'm used to.
We've been places.
This is my older pair. They are on the verge of falling apart, but as you may or may not be able to tell, they have proven very durable, and there is more padding which makes them really comfortable as well. The new ones have kind of an old-fashioned/Converse thing going that I'm not so sure will be as comfortable for long periods of time. Oh well, I always have old faithful(s) as backup.

I've been carrying around my camera and wearing my new shoes everywhere, because I want those things to be extensions of myself by June. I don't want there to be any fumbling around, tripping, or sore hands and feet while I'm on my adventure.

Legal Document Fun

When I got home from my late night Friday class, I was handed a letter from the US Department of state. "Oh, goody," I thought, "An update on my passport!"
 Apparently they've upped the requirements for me. I've already been through the living hell of applying for a passport, but it seems that they decided that I haven't been tortured enough. A 23-year-old person is now being forced to search around her room and interrogate her parents to find an absurd amount of documents from before her senior year of high school that prove her identity.

I found about 5, but not all of them fully meet the requirements. Apparently you can have somebody accompany you to a passport center and sign an affidavit that says they have known you for more than 5 years, so I may have to call that into play as well. I can't risk denial of my passport application. It would put hundreds of already-paid dollars to waste and ruin my year. I'm going to call them today and figure out what I need to do.

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