February 18, 2009: “Day #1: Northwest Air Journey to Narita”

Cover of "Memoirs of a Geisha (Widescreen...

Cover via Amazon

Konnichiwa!

3:00 PST: The journey on the claustrophobic plane always seems endless. Fortunately, once again the person next to me did not show (maybe this is a trend!). My hubby and I are able to have a little extra elbow room which is proving to be quite pleasant. The added privacy for my journal/memoir writing has allowed my creative writing juices to flow. I seem nearly obsessed with rummaging through my bag to find a notebook. I just feel this compelling need to write. Perhaps my excitement is consuming me. My main relaxation technique is to write. There is something so incredibly therapeutic about putting my thoughts down on paper. Whenever I see something beautiful or memorable I mentally transcribe my thoughts, feelings, and emotions and then I lock them away in a “mental vault” full of “writings” that I never share with anyone. It’s my own little secret, private book of unwritten chapters and memories in my life.

I am most excited about seeing my hubby’s reaction to Japan and their unique culture. More than any potentially perfect picture of an ancient temple or photograph that is able to capture all the beauty of the Japanese culture, my most favorite memorable moment will be seeing my hubby’s face when we arrive in Japan. Japan holds one of the most special places in my heart and to be able to share something so dear and precious to me with the love of my life is so beautiful. I can only hope that he falls in love with Japan as much as I have.

The plane trip has been more pleasant so far than my previous trip to Japan last October (other than a couple disgruntled stewardesses). I was excited to be able to choose my own movie selection. For some reason I was drawn to the Disney selection of movies. I selected “Peter Pan” … perhaps it’s because it reminds me of my granddad, who I dearly miss. Maybe it is because it makes me feel as though a small part of my granddad is here with me on this trip. I know if he were still alive he would be so excited to hear and read about my travels.

Lisa is the most amazing tour guide and planner. She and her husband, Bill, are renowned world travelers and I love hearing about their foreign, exotic adventures. I find their travels to be so moving and inspiring.

As some of you may already know, our ski trip to Nagano this Friday through Sunday was canceled due to inclement weather. Instead we are considering staying Saturday night in Hakone – a mountain town renowned for the beautiful views of snow-capped Mt. Fuji and their ofuros. An ofuro is a Japanese bath house. These plans are still tentative but we will shortly confirm everything with Lisa’s travel agent.

On Monday, my hubby and I are making the trek on the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto. Kyoto is Lisa’s favorite place in Japan and it is where “Memoirs of a Geisha” takes place. Imagine a town with more than 1,100 historic temples. I have a lengthy list of prospective temples and gardens to view. The prospect of my hubby and me bonding in a foreign country while being surrounded by a foreign language is so incredibly exciting! My hubby and I will be venturing around Kyoto through Thursday morning when we board the bullet train back to Tokyo. Lisa and Bill are meeting us in Tokyo where we will stay Thursday and Friday nights. We still have some days where our activities are yet to be determined but spontaneity is half the fun of a vacation! On Sunday, March 1, Lisa has arranged for us to meet up with her friend in Kamakura. They are very excited to see me and to finally meet my curly-haired, blue-eyed, adorable Dutch hubby. I am certain they will be fascinated with his ringlets as much as they are in awe of my blond hair and fair skin.

I am still practicing my Japanese -albeit my vocabulary is limited to approximately three dozen words. Thank goodness for free Japanese podcasts on iTunes!

Lisa has some excellent ideas for food when we arrive. For several weeks I have been craving two Japanese specialties – their amazing, delicious pastries which are so incredible they leave me speechless and in absolute awe of their perfection – and o-toro, tuna belly. The o-toro is heavenly and has the flavor of a rich European churned butter that lingers so delicately against your tongue.

I may have to forewarn you that during this trip my intention is to document our travels throughout the day, which is precisely why I have written a portion of this on the plane and after our arrival in Japan. I hope you find my adventures interesting and inspiring.

Along my journey I intend on sharing more interesting facts about Japan, their culture, and also writing about the beauty of this great land and their historic sites. So, I implore you to join me on this great adventure – even if it is only through my writings and photographs.

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