Wednesday, April 11, 2007

9 Days Till Japan

bright lights, originally uploaded by thericerocket26.

"The journey from Kamakura to Kyoto takes twelve days. If you travel for eleven but stop with only one day remaining, how can you admire the moon over the capital? " - Nichiren Daishonin

The journey from Newark, NJ to Kyoto will take only about 18 hours so I guess I don't feel so bad...

Thinking about this upcoming trip oftentimes makes me feel like i'm about to travel to a new planet...discovering new people and things and languages. I know I will experience a bit of culture shock but probably not as much as my travel companions will.

My sister and cousin are coming with me, as is my friend Stefanie. Sister and cousin haven't met friend yet but I know they will love her. Four black women in their 30's galavanting around Kyoto and Nagoya...won't that be a sight! Between us, we've got two heads of dredlocks and 1 head of braids and some curly curls...i wonder who's hair will be touched first?

Backstory for the un-knowing: I enter sweepstakes as a hobby (
i've blogged about this before) and this is my latest win. A 4-night trip to Japan for 4 people. The sponsor of the sweeps is Hoyu USA, a company that makes hair products for women, especially hair dye. It was their 50th Anniversary Sweepstakes. Thousands entered, but only 1 could win. ME. wow.

I won in December of last year and the sponsors chose these dates (Apr 20-26th) for our travel. So basically i've been waiting almost 4 months for this. A nice lady named Yumi, from Hoyu USA, called me today to let me know that i will be receiving a package in the mail this evening detailing all our plans. We go on 2 guided tours (1 in Kyoto and 1 in Nagoya) and we also get a fabulous Geisha dinner. Flights, hotels and all ground transportation will be taken care of; meals are on us. No problem. How sublime and surreal it will be to eat sushi IN JAPAN. Never could i have dreamed only wish is that my best friend could be there to share it with me....maybe someday....

As for my own preparations, i have so much to do. I think i should get a gift for Yumi. Her and some other folks from Hoyu USA will be accompanying us on the trip..especially to give us a tour of the Hoyu headquarters in Nagoya. I've been reading alot about Japanese culture and they really like receiving little gifts from other countries. Specifically small things that cannot be found in Japan but can be eaten. Maybe some little cookies or chocolates or something. I have to go walk around this weekend and see what i can find.

And the language...i know a few phrases from my phrasebook, but since my school semester had started in January, i've barely picked up my phrase book. So this weekend, I'm going to spend some time brushing up. And on the plane too. I think it's shameful to go to another country as someone's guest and not be able to say at least a few things in their least to greet them and thank them. I've been encouraging my companions to do the same but they are not quite as enthusiastic as I am. So I guess i'll be doing all the talking. i dont' mind. i'll be smiling alot anyway.

speaking of smiling, i remember there was this one time I smiled so much, that my teeth dried out. seriously. it was a weird feeling. i don't know why i just typed that but imma leave it in :)

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Piscean Princess said...

I have a vague memory of dry teeth, also. Wierd...

I can't wait for you to get there and then get back so I can hear (read: read) all about it and see all the fabulous pictures.


Damali said...

i promise to do my best to take fabulous pictures. I'm notorious for forgetting to take photos when i'm on vacation. I'm often too busy talking, laughing and eating. But i know i will kick myself later if i don't properly document this trip.

Piscean Princess said...

my mom is the same way. and then, there's me...we went to Hawaii for a week last year and I used 8 rolls of film!

Damali said...

oooooh Hawaii!!! I've always wanted to go there ever since the Brady Bunch went there and had that whole Tiki mystery and Greg wiped out on his surfboard, etc. and funny enough, my oldest son claims that's where he wants to go too even though he's never seen one episode of the Brady Bunch. weird.