Kenny and I have started getting ready to leave for Japan in multiple ways. I’ve been dreading all of them. I wish I could just wake up tomorrow morning speaking Japanese and living in Japan. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work like that. We actually have to do stuff.
Some of these preparations began a long time ago. For example over the past year we’ve needed multiple passport photos, which between the two of us has meant at least ten trips to Walgreens. I wouldn’t be surprised if something came up and we have to go one last time.
Others are more recent. If we’re friends on Facebook, you probably saw some of my many Facebook posts about me learning hiragana. If not, I learned hiragana, and I did so in about a week. I wrote each character approximately a hundred times, one right after another, and learned five a day, with the exception of the last two days in which I learned eight each. I’m still practicing so I don’t forget. For the most part, I used a chart I found from Dartmouth (see below), but occasionally referenced other sites.
I used to think hiragana was ridiculous because there were so many characters, but now that I know it, I like it a lot more than the alphabet. When you see the character for “ma”, for example, always reads as ma, whereas in English, each letter has multiple pronunciations and not every letter in every word is even pronounced. I know there are exceptions in hiragana, but from what I can surmise so far, there aren’t nearly as many and it’s not as complicated.
We’ve (mostly Kenny) started packing up the apartment. We no longer have some of our furniture, and after today, we’ll have very little of it left. On Friday we are taking our cat to his new home. My feelings about losing Muteki have been shifting back and forth from I love him and don’t want to leave him to this will make everything a lot easier and I know he’ll be happy. Besides, I left my first cat when I went to college; I can leave this one, too.
I keep thinking about when I’ll say goodbye to my parents at the airport and how sad I’ll feel. I already know I’ll be that person in line going through security crying embarrassingly loud while people stare at me wondering what the proper etiquette is or if they have to do anything. But, then I think about when I’ll actually get to Japan and see Kenny, and how when he met me in Narita two years ago he was smiling and eager to hug me. For those of you who don’t know, Kenny is leaving two weeks before me, and this will be the first time since we got married that we’ll be apart. A two-week period is totally manageable, but I imagine toward the end we’ll get pretty restless without the other one.
More on the preparations later (hopefully after they’re done but before I’m in Georgia). Oh, yeah. I’m going to Georgia for a week before I go to Japan. Turns out I haven’t been back there to see my family in six years (!!!). I hope this isn’t the last time I go down there.