Tag Archives: some cheese with that?

Reverse Culture Shock

Not a problem.

Though, ask me again when I realize that I really can’t go into any bookstore and pick up volume two of Library War. Also, unlike all of the other times I was in Japan, I’m not certain of when I’ll be back. I doubt it’ll be any time before I graduate from college.

I told my dad that the whole trip to Japan felt like another life, that it should have been August 29, the day after I left the US, rather than December 20. Since then, my brain has been slowly filling in the events that I missed while I was gone. Shops have closed due to the economy, or have changed their hours, leaving me to sit outside their closed doors wondering if I am insane. Gas prices have dropped so precipitously that this afternoon I paid for a whole tank of gas by myself, without worrying too much about the cost, for the first time since I got my license.

It has been crazy inconvenient in some cases – I haven’t received any construction notices in months and I spend frightening amounts of time finding detours around closed roads and merging out of lanes that are blocked. Driving to get anywhere is no picnic either. I spent a bit of time banging my head against the steering wheel a few days ago after a trip took 40 minutes to go to a place that was the equivalent of a shop just down the street from the dorm.

But otherwise, it’s a relief to be surrounded by people who look like me, or at least, don’t look at me so closely. I can read all of the English-language books I have been dreaming about for months, knit something that isn’t one of the four projects I brought to Japan, and eat honest-to-goodness sour cream and cheddar potato chips.

In other words, I’ll miss Japan later, right now I’m too busy playing with my cats.

This will be the last entry for this blog. Expect the first entry in the new blog, Call Me Mauri, to be up tomorrow (there’s nothing there right now).

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Catch Twenty-Shoe

Going on such a long trip, with almost as long a period in which to plan and prepare for it has led to my pondering some rather trivial-seeming issues.

For example, I doubt anyone who has not worked in the shoe industry has contemplated shoes as much as I have in the past twenty-four hours.

The main problem is the fact that I have larger feet than most women (and many men). So large, in fact, that going into a shoe store in Japan and asking for a pair in my size would produce some comical expressions. I wouldn’t even blame them, as a perfectly cute shoe displayed on a shelf in a size six can appear suddenly clownish in a size eleven. For now, we’ll leave aside the problem of ‘narrow.’

The situation that I face is that if I bring along shoes for every occasion, such as sandals, heels, sneakers, winter shoes, and plain old walking shoes, I’m probably going to have to pack two bags (see above mentioned large feet, therefore, large shoes), thus ruining my One Bag Out, Two Bags In* resolution. Also, the fates will intervene and I will have no need for four out of those five categories.

Leaving the shoes home also presents a problem, being that if I only pack two pairs of shoes and have a sudden, dire need for a third, I’m pretty much doomed. Japan is a land in which I am already the height of the average man and don’t need the added notice that searching for size 11 sandals would bring.

There is a third alternative, though unfortunately it depends on my being able to accurately predict the weather and my whereabouts for the next four months and pack accordingly. Not going to happen.

And now, hopefully, whining about shoes will kill the issue and I will be able to make my decision without remorse. With that off of my shoulders, I can move on to such important issues as, How Many Pairs of Jeans? and How Much Yarn is Too Much?

*The idea being that everything I bring goes into one check bag, along with an empty duffle. On the way back, both check bag and duffle are utilised.

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