Monday, October 24, 2011

Welcome! (ようこそ!)

Hello and welcome to my ramblings!

In this blog, I intend to record my efforts, from start to finish, to visit Japan. Right now, I am at the very beginning of my toils - the tasks ahead of me are to learn the Japanese language well enough to survive in Japan on my own, to plan every stop that I will take, and to put back the money to make this wish a reality.

The first task (learning Japanese), while monumental, is feasible. From studying Latin, I have learned just how different a language can be from English, and I have prepared my mind to learn foreign tongues.

My main tools for learning Japanese, at this point, are Tae Kim's Guide to learning Japanese, Lang-8 and Rikaichan. Other valuable tools that I use are the Learn Japanese Podcast, Anki, JWPce and Kotoba. Finally, I have learned not to underestimate the importance of pen and paper - the best way to memorize vocabulary is to write and vocalize each item as many times as is necessary to remember it.

The second task (planning the trip) will not be hastily completed. I have to admit that I know very little about Japan, and that I will have to spend a lot of time learning about what there is to do and see, and then trimming down the list to fit in my two-week schedule. If you have any recommendations, I would love to hear them!

The third task (saving up) shouldn't be much of an ordeal. I'm not exactly rolling in money, but I do have plenty of time to save up for this trip - I am planning to either go in April or November, which I am told are the best months to stay in Japan.

My goal is to put back enough money in a week to survive comfortably for a day. After fourteen weeks, I should be well-off for my trip's duration. For good measure, I will continue to put back money even after that time.

But, what about the flight fare? That's where this blog comes in. The Japan Tourism Agency is currently considering giving 10,000 free flight tickets to international travelers.* Although the funding has not yet been approved, it is possible that, this coming April, the Japanese government will take applications from what they call "influential blogger-types" in order to choose the recipients.

While I am hardly an "influential blogger-type", and while I am in fact jeopardizing my own chances by telling you readers about this great opportunity, this is a chance that I can't afford to miss.

golden ticket
So, to be clear, this blog will be run from this point onward with the ultimate hope of receiving a free flight ticket and taking the vacation that I have dreamed about for a very long time. I know that I may never see this "golden ticket", but hope will drive me forward.

So, until that moment of truth when Japan either approves my application, turns me down or even shoots down the whole program, I will keep track of all of my progress on all three tasks. I'll post grammar notes as I learn the language, cultural notes as I learn about the country itself, and personal notes as I simply live life. You can also expect the occasional off-topic article about games, movies, Latin, or whatever else I have a mind to write about.

Now that that's out of the way, it's time to get started. The train is rolling, let's go!

*Don't believe me? Here are all kinds of sources.

ABC News: 10,000 free round trip tickets to Japan
Fox News: Japan to give 10,000 tickets to international tourists
MSNBC: Japan may give away 10,000 flights
Yahoo News: Japan lures visitors with 10,000 free flights
The Guardian: Would you take a free flight to Japan?

... and countless more.


  1. Good luck in your endeavors! I've no doubt you'll get there ;)

  2. Thank you! I'm definitely hoping so!