Hey ho! So I'm guessing that right about now, everyone's getting tired of the Jrock overload, so I'm going to break from that for a little bit and start back in on the travel stuff. So, my first bit of advice for you is about vaccinations. When you first start the entire study abroad experience, you of course have to have a physical exam. For my particular college, they wanted a hearing test and a chest Xray , as well as the regular height/weight stuff, so be sure to give yourself time for any specialist stuff you have to go do. As far as vaccines, Japan does not require any special shots, but you might want to get Hepatitis and the Meninjacocle (spelled wrong) shot just in case. Be warned though, as I'm finding out right now, the Meninjacocle vaccine will make your arm majorly sore and make you feel like you have the flu for a few days. Also, you might note that Vicks vapo-rub and other similar products are illegal in Japan because they can be used to make drugs, so don't bring that with you. Also, Japan, I'm told only has deoderant, not anti-perspirant, so if you're an American, you're used to having both in one stick and might want to pack an ample supply. I'm also told that the toothbrushes and toothpaste are different and so, you might want to keep that in mind when packing.
And we're moving on to the subject of packing. I tried it today, and let me tell you, it isn't easy to pack for a full year with only two suitcases. Bear in mind that I have all my toilettries (more than I need probably) in one bag, with my various shoes too. And that was the easy bag. The other bag does have all my clothes, many pairs of jeans, underwear and shirts. When all was said and done with bag number two, I still didn't have room for my PJs, my socks or my sweaters. You're wondering what I did manage to pack then, but believe me, a years worth of clothes is a lot. So, we're gonna upgrade that bag to a larger model. The bags I'm working with now are carry on size, so one step up shouldn't be a big deal. What makes me wary about it is that everyone I talk to says to pack way light and I know I'm overdoing it, but oh well. I should mention here that if your are flying into Japan from an international area, which you will be probably, then you'll be flying into Narita airport. Unfortunately, Narita is not actually in Tokyo, but is a 40 min. train ride outside from the heart of the Tokyo Metropolitan area, so you'll be lugging all your bags around on a train, and I'm arriving at rush hour, which makes it that much worse. Oh well...can't be helped.
Another piece of info that might be useful for anyone with plans to travel out to Machida (the suburb where my school is): the train fare from Shibuya to Machida is 290 yen, which is about $3 one way. So that means that I'll be spending $6 a day, 5 days a week to get to school. I know there was something else I wanted to post here that might be helpful, but I can't remember it right now, so I'll just post that later. Well everyone, enjoy the rest of your day!