The List

Things I intend/want to do (Gad zooks, I wish I could apparate!)

This is mostly meant as a reference tool for me, but I would love to hear from you if you think I’ve missed anything, or if you have any suggestions!  I know I probably won’t accomplish everything, but at least now (after nearly three hours of flipping through a Japan guidebook), I have an idea of what I can do in Japan.

On Iki Island

  1. Eat locally grown Kobe beef
  2. Visit the monkey shrine at all hours of the day for varying degrees of atmosphere
  3. See some dolphins, and possibly swim with them (but hopefully NOT see them killing dolphins, as many fishermen did in the 70s, when they were considered pests)
  4. Find every Shinto shrine
  5. Take pictures on the beach(es) (preferably without ruining my camera), and at midnight on the beach
  6. See the Yokabura
  7. Frolic through some fields
  8. Practice Zen meditation
  9. Enjoy the onsen (hot springs)… naked (hey!  That’s the way you do it.)
  10. Go to every beach
  11. Drink the local shochu
  12. Eat sea urchin (a delicacy… but apparently not very good at first taste.  According to wikipedia, the only edible part of sea urchin is the “gonads.”  SWEET.  Talk about rocky mountain oysters…)
  13. Discover something not found in the travel brochure but amazing nonetheless
  14. Make friends with the locals (which will necessitate me going to local bars, ah, the sacrifices I must perform…)
  15. Replace the apparently frightening wallpaper for the good of all future ALTs
  16. (related to #14) Find a Japanese Language partner and be conscientious about meeting with them
  17. Scuba dive
  18. Learn ikebana (flower arranging)

Work related

  1. Teach at least one class the “Fifty, Nifty United States” song… or try.  This will probably be my sannensei (Third Years) in Junior High School, the equivalent of Ninth-graders.  (Come on, what Japanese person wouldn’t want to know all fifty states… in alphabetical order?!)
  2. See my students’ faces when I give a Halloween prize of a scorpion lollypop (with a real, if dead, scorpion inside)
  3. Be genki (trns: really super peppy, even though “genki” just means “healthy.”  …)
  4. Get involved with some sort of extracurricular activity
  5. Have students respond to simple questions (outside of class) with more than an embarrassed “Eee?  Wakaranai yo…” (Eee?  I don’t understand!)

In Kyushu

  1. Find a hookah bar in Fukuoka-there must be at least one!
  2. Visit the food stalls along the bank of the Nakusu-gawa (Fukuoka)
  3. SEE THE SIXTH HARRY POTTER MOVIE! (I don’t know what movie theaters are like in Iki)
  4. Experience the Zen garden in Komyo-zenji (Dazaifu)
  5. Relax in the Unzen onsen, which was recommended over the Beppu onsen, but I might just go to both.  I have this feeling I’m going to love onsen.
  6. Walk through Kumamoto-jo, and if I’m lucky, find a way to see it from above
  7. Go to the Soseki museum!!! (Kumamoto)
  8. Hike through Aso-san (Kumamoto)
  9. See the Samurai homes at Teppo-cho (Nagasaki)
  10. Nagasaki-shi in general
  11. Buy pottery at the Arita pottery festival

Japan in General

  1. Visit with Tomo-chan more than when I first arrive in Tokyo
  2. See the National Museum of Modern Art
  3. Check what all the hubbub is about at the Yasukuni Shrine
  4. Watch (and hopefully understand) a real Kabuki production
  5. Go to the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market in the early morning hours (discreet glimpse!  I swear!)
  6. Play at the National Children’s Castle (Shibuya)
  7. Hanami-suru (view cherry blossoms)
  8. Take pictures at the Naked Man Festival (/race)
  9. Hike Nikko and (lake) Chuzenji-ko
  10. Board the cable car to (lake) Ashino-ko and see/climb a bit of Fuji-san
  11. Drink at the Sapporo Beer Garden
  12. Compare Ramen Yakocho to Fukuoka’s  (Sapporo)
  13. Hike some of Shikotsu-Toya National Park (near Sapporo)
  14. Check out the active volcano up Me-akan-dake (Eastern Hokkaido)
  15. Wonder at the beauty of cranes in the bird sanctuary in Kushiro Marsh (E Hokkaido)
  16. Touch the Key of Paradise (Nagano-ken)
  17. Hop between Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe (well… not literally)
  18. Cleanse myself at the Otowa Waterfall (E Kyoto)
  19. Walk Higashiyama (Kyoto)
  20. Spy on movie-makers at Toei Uzumasa Movie Land (Kyoto)
  21. Feed deer in Nara
  22. See the Bronze Buddha at Todai-ji (NW Nara koen)
  23. Travel through red at the Taikodani Inari-jinja (Tsuwano, Chugoku)
  24. Ward off evil spirits at Izumo Taisha (Chugoku)
  25. Make and fly paper cranes in Hiroshima
  26. NOT get caught in the Naruto whirlpools (Tokushima-ken)
  27. Buy handmade candles at Omori Rosoku (Uchiko, near Matsuyama)
  28. Visit the sex museum in Uwajima (Shikoku)

And Other

  1. Take a ferry to South Korea and go to the demilitarized zone for what will probably be (unless I do get into the Foreign Service!) my only glimpse at North Korea.
  2. See Beijing again and eat over-priced jiaozi (everything will be overpriced after the Olympics)
  3. Practice my Cantonese in Hong Kong (hah, Cantonese…)