So, what do I have to show for this? What will I do differently next time?
First of all, this blog. Next time I go to Japan, I am going to take less pictures. That's right, less.
Why? I know not many of you have actually been reading my blog, but for those of you that have, you probably had to wait a long time for the page to load. You probably saw my posts as little more than a slideshow with some captions, because that's basically what they were.
Next thing, is updates. It took me a year and a half to finish up a month and a half's worth of posts. I'm not going to promise I will update in real time, like I started to back in June of 2013. But I do want to have these posts out in a timely manner, and I'm actually going to spend some time working on them in Japan. I won't have to worry about school or social obligations, since I'm going 100% solo next time, so I'll bring some paper and jot down ideas on trains, and at night before I go to bed, I will pump out some solid material on the good ol' laptop.
In short, this blog will be funnier, more detailed, updated more frequently, and just better thought out, overall.
The Next Trip
Okay, so I'm not going to go into too much detail about what I'm doing specifically during my next trip to Japan because, well, I don't really know that myself yet. However, here are the fundamentals:
- I am going to Japan for 3 weeks in August.
- I will probably be leaving on or around my birthday, which is July 31st.
- I am going to Comiket.
That's about all I know for sure. I'm watching airline ticket prices right now, and once I get that figured out, the real planning will begin.
Next, I would like to summarize the things I did last time that I will most certainly NOT do this time, and vice versa.
I am going to streamline my packing. I have purchased a new carry-on bag, which is definitely a step up in quality from my old one. It's got lots of nifty features, and hopefully will be more convenient to pack than that cheap green thing I brought last time. I also now have a Timbuk2 Commute, which will serve as my "personal item" as well as my general use bag for walking around Japan. It has some nice design quirks that will make it easy to carry around and use in general.
|That panel on the left is black, but has reflective highlights.|
Part of the reason I went with the messenger instead of the backpack is just for looks. The messenger bag style is very popular in Japan, and backpacks are kind of clumsy and not ideal for navigating tiny corridors in crowded shops.
I'm not bringing any pants. I know what you're thinking. "Daniel, you have to wear pants in public!" This is true. I will be wearing shorts. Cotton shorts, or canvas shorts. The bulky denim is staying home.
I'm not taking anything "just in case." For instance, a swimsuit? Screw that. If I need one so badly, I'll just eat the cost of buying one there. I am following this rule for many things like that. No extra shoes, no soap or shampoo (hotels always have that), no extra shaving razors.
I will try to bring disposable stuff instead of meaningful stuff. One of my biggest problems I had, especially towards the end of the trip, was finding space in my luggage for the evidence of my rampant consumerism. If I have a bunch of cheap clothing items I'm willing to get rid of, it will really make things easier for me. I'm thinking cheap cotton socks, T-shirts I don't have much emotional attachment to, boxers approaching the end of their life, etc.
A lot of these tips will net me extra space, which I will use for packing materials. Haphazardly wrapping all of my precious souvenirs in clothes and hoping they don't get destroyed is an affair I'd like to avoid. I'm going to bring a poster tube, padding, and tape. Cardboard and bags also came in handy when packing stuff last time, but I'll just get those from a stores in Japan.
In addition to these packing ideas, I'm going to try and meet some goals. First and most importantly, I will keep every receipt, and write down everything I buy. This is almost entirely for customs. Instead of it being a nasty surprise at the end of my trip, it will just be a well-documented breeze. This will also help me get facts such as dates and prices straight when blogging (don't assume everything I write is 100% true), so it will help you guys, too.
My last goal is to be more social. I'm talking about going to restaurants, bars, arcades, and just talking to people more in general. I don't regret my meager food-spending habits, but I do regret my reluctance to actually visit a restaurant.
My next trip is going to be awesome. This blog is going to be awesome, too, and I hope you guys are looking forward to it like I am.