Wednesday, July 30, 2008

At the Airport

I am pleasantly impressed that Toronto Pearson Airport has free wireless. What is the world coming to if we are going to let people use free wireless in Canada?
Seriously though, I am quite happy there's internet here, it means I can blog.

The morning at the airport started with an unpleasant surprise: Air Canada apparently checks the weight of the carry-on luggage. And here I was planning to smuggle extra kilograms on the plane and not to have to pay overweight charges. They made me re-pack and bring the luggage to the 5 kg limit, but being a good Russian that I am, and having it in my blood that rules are made to break them (as long as it's reasonable) I took all the extra stuff out, checked my luggage, and then went and put most of the stuff I took out back into my carry-on. Weight-wise I am not technically breaking any rules, because across my stuff I fit the limits, it's just not distributed evenly, so I am not posing any threats, so I don't feel bad about doing it. I guess it sort of makes sense that they weigh the stuff, but I just didn't expect them to, I suppose, so I was surprised and not too happy that I had to re-pack. Oh well, it's done, so unless I get stopped while boarding (I doubt they would), I should be ok.

The only thing I really didn't like was that I had to take out my platform sandals and wear them in place of slippers. I nearly fell down on the escalator because I started loosing balance. I wore flip-flops all summer, it's been a while since I wore shoes like that, so I am going to have to get flip-flops out of my luggage in Tokyo or I am screwed.

Oh, the pilots are boarding the plane now! It's actually past boarding time, but I guess it will take some time.

There are two really cool life-size sculptures of feline creatures, maybe pumas. The kids really love them! Here they are:

You can't really see too well, sorry for such poor quality, I was too lazy to get out my normal camera and used my laptop one instead.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008




I wish I counted how many times I re-packed my suitcases. I must have beaten some records, surely. It's amazing how much useful stuff one person can own, and how hard it is to leave all of it behind. Now I am leaving my precious kendo gi behind, and even the shinai bag that I made myself, because I have no more space and that's the kind of stuff I can buy in Japan (unlike dress clothes and shoes in my size).

Every time I re-pack I sit on top of my suitcases to help close them, otherwise it won't work.

Just packing itself really made me appreciate the Japanese phrase that I am told I'll be using a lot once I move, しかたない ("can't help it").

In any case, I hope today was the last time I re-pack, I really don't want to do this all over again in Narita airport.

By the way, Japan has really convenient luggage shipping services, it costs about $20-30 to ship a suitcase from Tokyo to Toyohashi (where I'll be staying). I'll be doing that, because I do not thing I want to lug around my stuff in the 33 degree heat in Tokyo, and especially not in the 36 degree heat in Osaka. Maybe Toyohashi is slightly cooler? Let's hope!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Um, Useful Websites for Travellers to Japan?

I came across this, and it really made me laugh. Useful to know? I love the name of the website too, "Tokyo Toilet Map". It actually does have an interactive map.

Narita Airport Website

I was just checking the airport map to make sure I know where the luggage shipping services were at Narita Airport, and ended up reading about the airport. It's pretty impressive, compared to the other airports I've seen. Of course, I can't say anything until I really get there, but let's hope the airport itself is just as good as the website says. Two facts about the airport that are my favourite: it has observation decks, and it also has showers. Transit passenger paradise, no? Well, I'll find out, I suppose.

As a side note, it's quite incredible how much trip planning you can do ahead of time to make life easier... I don't know what I'd do without internet, really.

........ 2 days left....... unbelievable...........

Friday, July 18, 2008

Blog Layout

Hmmmm, I updated the layout a few days ago, but it seems hard to read white text on black. Aaaa, but I like the picture though. I have to experiment a bit with colors to make it less painful on the eyes. Until I figure it out, my apologies.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Europe Trip 2008

I am cross-posting this from the hime blog. Here is a link to my Europe travel journal. It's a 10 MB PDF by the way.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Today is July 14th, and I have two weeks and a day left in Canada. Everything is packed, I am just waiting for my friends in Japan to let me know if they want me to get anything for them.

I am really excited, because not only do I get to spend a few days with Steph and Tatsushi, as well as another few days with Anton and Rie, I am also very excited to meet my boss and co-workers. My boss sounds like a really nice person and she helps me all the time when I have questions, so I can't wait. I am also very excited about the training week, I wonder what her curriculum is like. By the way, this is the school I will be working for.

I think that besides seeing my friends after a long time (and I can't wait to see Haruka too), the things I am looking forward to the most are my new apartment, the kids that I will be teaching, the surfing beach close to my house, and, well, living in Japan in general. Of course, I really can't wait to have korokke-pan and okonomiyaki too.

Now I just hope that my overweight suitcase is not too too overweight and that I only need to pay an extra $100 to Air Canada, not more.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Reviving This Blog

My brother's blog update reminded me that I've been meaning to do something to set up a public blog where I will publish my travel journals from Japan. I decided to keep this domain name because I like it, but I moved my old 雪の物語 blog elsewhere for now.

For those of you who have access to the hime blog, don't worry, I will still blog there, but it will still stay private. This one, on the other hand, will remain public. I will also be keeping my photo gallery public as well.

Speaking of public and private posts, I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that this blog is public and comments will be moderated by me, because anyone can see it, including my employer, my students, and their parents, if any of them decide to google me. So please keep that in mind when you are commenting, and remember there is always email and/or my private blog if you want to say something ;).