Travel plans

It hit me yesterday, and hit me quite hard, that I’ll be leaving Japan in just six months. I can’t believe I’ve already arrived at this, my three-fourth-of-the-way-through point. I really just cannot believe it. It’s the end of January? January, 2007? Are you kidding me? What the [edited since my relatives are reading] happened to 2006?

I spent a while yesterday seriously thinking about all the trips, major and minor, that I’d like to take before I leave, while I’m on this side of the world. February and March are both pretty much tied up by the musical, but I think almost all of my list is doable, if I double up and do a couple of long-weekend trips in a month. So far, give or take, it consists of:

  • Kyushu:
    • back to Aso and Unzen, spending the night at each place
    • Nagasaki
    • Beppu/Oita?
  • Koyasan
  • Okinawa
  • northern Honshu volcanoes*
  • Hokkaido: Sapporo, volcanoes*
  • Australia (Melbourne, to visit a longtime online friend…other than that, anything’s fine)
  • New Zealand (volcanoes, and just a cool place to be)
  • Korea (specifically, Seoul with Sara and Julie over spring break)?

*there are a ton of volcanoes…I’m just after some major contenders

And, far less likely, due to the dangers of wielding an American passport here…

  • Indonesia – volcanoes (Anak Krakatau, Bromo, Merapi…), Bali, Jakarta

There’s also the Wishful Thinking list…

  • China (wherever–that sounds so touristy to say, but I’d be happy seeing any number of things, and I am a tourist)
  • Hong Kong
  • Tibet
  • India again (if I do decide to come back for Awa Odori in mid-August upon the completion of my contract, I’m considering visiting relatives in India for those few weeks in between)

As of last night, I’m now definitely going to South Korea with Julie, Sara, and a friend of Sara’s for sure on their 5-day trip over spring break. We’ll be going to Seoul, and maybe out of the city as well…apparently vegetarian food’s a big part of the diet there, but I still should work on learning how to say some key dietary phrases in Korean. We’ll be leaving Japan via Fukuoka (possibly flying there and catching a ferry back), which is extremely convenient, because I was thinking of doing my Kyushu Volcano Tour Redo over spring break as well (and Julie may join me), so if I can ship my bag of Kyushu stuff to a hotel or someplace in Fukuoka to hang on for me, I can swap bags in Fukuoka and ship my bag of Korea stuff back to Ikeda upon our arrival.

On top of that, I’m seriously considering going to Okinawa for a few days before these two trips as well. We have two weeks off from school, though those are still technically workdays, but I’m going to ask for unpaid leave during that time, to save my vacation days for Australia (which I’d like to do over Golden Week–if not for Korea, I was seriously considering doing a week in AU and a week in New Zealand, if I could find travel buddies) and Honshu/Hokkaido.

That’s all that’s even remotely official at the moment. Those two weeks will be crazy, but so worth it.

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