I am actually going to Japan.
Now that it's within a week until I jet off to Sapporo, it's actually starting to sink in that I will be spending 11 days in a country that one year ago I never would have dreamed of traveling to. There are lots of things I'm looking forward to, like:
- Yosakoi community. We're actually going to be interacting with hundreds of groups who do the same thing we do! Here in the U.S., the typical reaction when I say I dance Yosakoi is "You do what?" or at the very least, "Oh, you're in that Asian dance group." When we practice in the student union, we've been mistaken for the ballroom dance club (which meets next door) and a karate demonstration. It's going to be fun to hang out with people who know what yosakoi is.
- East meets West. It will be interesting to see the combination of Western technology and development with Eastern art and thought. Where else can you see Shinto shrines set up next to skyscrapers?
- The food. I don't claim to be an expert on Japanese cuisine, but eating food that is so different from what I'm used to should be a cool experience.
And then there are some things that should prove interesting, although a little uncomfortable. Among them:
- Community bathing. Enough said.
- Japanese style toilets. You have the choice between traditional Japanese style, and modernized Western style toilets, both of which are a bit intimidating. Luckily, the internet abounds with information on exactly what they are, and how to use them. Interesting articles here and here.
- The language barrier. Although we'll be with a lot of people who speak both Japanese and English, I'm sure I'll run into a situation where I won't have them as an interpreter. I guess that's why I'm practicing my Nihongo now. Too bad my Japanese I class doesn't start until next semester.
All in all, I'm looking forward to the trip. Now if I could just get all my packing figured out...