Tokyo trip gushing

I’m pretty excited–this evening, I reserved a pair of tickets for a Japan-Gewandhaus Symphony Orchestra concert at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall for 2 weeks from today! (By the way, “Gewandhaus” is pronounced “Gevandhoss,” with a “guh” G and not a J-sounding G. Sorry about that, to any German speakers reading this. I really, really butchered that on the phone, and I kind of flustered the poor operator.) The conductor is David Howell, who I don’t think I’ve heard of (I haven’t even heard of this orchestra, to be honest), but they’re doing an awesome lineup…Borodin’s “In The Steppes of Central Asia,” Tchaikovsky’s 1st Piano Concerto, and Beethoven’s 7th symphony. We also got student tickets (shhh–we both still have our BuzzCards)! I have no idea where in the hall that’ll put us, but for ¥2000 for our first real classical performance in a really long time (almost a year for me…the last true concert was a brilliant Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert with guest conductor Charles Dutoit last March–by far the best conductor and classical performance that I’ve ever seen), I’m not complaining. The only “trouble” part was spelling my name for the reservation, but that was only a minor snag.

And speaking of the hall…holy crap, that’s incredible. It by far is the most beautiful hall I’ll have been in. It seems like it should have wonderful acoustics–my classical music fanatic side is really, really giddy right now!

We’re also hoping to go see some bunraku, Japanese puppetry (it turns out Louise’s family is really into puppetry, which I never knew), and maybe even visit the Studio Ghibli museum (I really, really need to watch Tonari No Totoro and maybe Laputa and Nausicaa before I go–I know, how can I call myself a Miyazaki/Ghibli fan and not have seen those? At least I’ve seen a lot of the others, though!). And, of course, foreign food, and a couple of indie/artsy coffeehouses. It’s going to be such an artsy weekend–I’m getting really excited about this trip! I finally got my nenkyuu approved by my Friday afternoon elementary school today, and my BOE was just waiting for the okay from them, so I’m all set to go–I have the express and superexpress/shinkansen tickets in hand (this route takes me past Fuji-san! SWEET! Volcano encounter #2.5!), we’ve made our hotel reservations…rock on.

I still have to decide whether or not I’m taking the GRE in 2 weeks, though. I finally started work on the programme/playbill design for our musical, and I’ve put at least 6 hours into it already and am still pretty far from being finished with it. (I’ll definitely be doing some illustrating–I got kind of into it and, during the 45 minutes where I was sitting at the kouminkan after my elementary school lesson, I started doing silly, unrelated sketches of a punk Tinkerbell, since Anya as Tinkerbell is awesome and anything but conventional, and the general concept has kind of inspired me. But anyway.) But yeah…this is going to take me the next week to finish, and that’ll give me all of a week to prep to take the GRE that weekend in Tokyo. I’m not concerned about the math section at all, and I’m not too terribly concerned about the essays, but I really need a lot more time than a week to cram myself on vocab and etymology. I’m not sure it’s worth dropping over $100 if I’m not sure I’m going to do my best. Plus, that week will also be busy with musical preparations–trying to track down costume stuff and props and whatnot.

Oh well…at least it’s a weekend away, in a new city. It hit me that I’ve done a decent job of traveling while I’ve been here–nowhere in August (due to having just arrived in Japan at the end of July), but Osaka in September, Fukushima in October, back to Osaka for a day in November (GRE #1), then India and Malaysia and Osaka and Kyoto in December and early January, and now Tokyo in a couple of weeks. I probably won’t go anywhere in March, due to three of my weekends being eaten up by the musical…but at the same time, we do have a break before the new school year starts in April…the problem is that I’m running low on my nenkyuu days, and am probably down to 6 1/2 days left for the year now. If I can make them last me until the summer, then I can take a few unpaid days or something, particularly if friends come or if I go home.

And that’s another thing…I’m still not completely sure whether or not I’m going. Tickets are expensive…but it’s a chance to buy clothing in my size (Japanese stores are good at making tall westerners feel overweight) and food…but if I go home during Christmas, a lot more of my friends will be there, even if it is almost a year away, but seeing them is one of my biggest motivating factors in going home. Another thing is that if Star Wars Celebration 4 happens in spring/summer 2007, I’m already planning on setting aside money and vacation time to fly back for it (I’ll deal with the jetlag after I get back, and I can plan lessons on the long plane rides!)–if not for JET, Celebration 3 would have hands-down been the high point of the year for me. I can’t go home all 3 times, though–that’s just too expensive, and too much time off.

Okay, this is getting long…I should go make dinner and clean my place up, since somebody is actually coming over to hang out (and watch Sailormoon, of all things!) tomorrow night. Later!

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