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October 8th 2008 Wednesday

Today I'm starting my journal about my upcoming trip to Japan. I've been planning to go for a quite bit of time now, and finally I'm going. If nothing catastrophic happens, my plane leaves in 2 weeks from now, on October 22nd. I'm taking the United from Seattle to Narita, the international airport of Tokyo. As many already know, I've studied some Japanese, so one exciting part of the trip is to try out my Japanese skills. A detailed plan for the trip is still to be made, but in addition to seeing normal tourist attractions, I also plan to reach some more remote areas, where I cannot go around using English. I already decided one remote village I'd like to visit, it's a place called Tadami (只見町). I selected it just by opening google maps, looking for the most distant area from any major city, and zoomed in until I found something small. And there was Tadami. I'm really curious to see what kind of town it is. Could be boring, maybe not.

As for planning for the trip, there's two fixed points so far. The plane arrives at Narita, and the plane leaves Narita. Anything between those two dates is still open. I've started to make a list of locations I might want to visit. The list is growing at ridiculous speed, and I'm sure I don't have time to visit all of those. But I want to take the trip as vacation, not as fast paced running from location to another. So, instead of writing minute-to-minute schedule for the whole trip, I just create major travel points, like Tokyo 7 days, Kyoto 4 days, and so forth. Then at each location, I can check from my list what places there are to see, and go to which ever I feel like to go at that moment. If I get bored at seeing temples after visting already 3 of them, then maybe I skip the fourth, fifth and sixth, and go somewhere else instead.

Just to list what I have currently laid out, here's the list: Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Tadami, Hakone, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Imperial Garden, Ueno, Asakusa, Akihabara, Mt. Fuji, Tokyo Tower, Ghibli Museum, Tsukiji, Landmark Tower, Maiko, Nijojo castle, Gion corner, Nikko, Kegon waterfall, Himeji castle, Akushi Kaikyo bridge, Kiyomizu temple, Red gate temple. I'm sure I'll add lot of stuff to the list, and I'm sure I don't visit every location on the list. I'm going for vacation, and being stress-free is good start, so instead of making a tight schedule, using a list sounds much better choice. Each day I can do whatever I feel like, or even stay at bed if I want. I already crossed out from the list Sapporo, as it takes too much time to get there and back, and I'm wondering also about Niigata and Nagoya, if I have time to visit or not.