Having fully mastered all aspects of Japanese culture, I've decided to move on to new environments where I can feel completely and totally out of place. So on Friday I will be leaving Japan and flying to Seoul, South Korea. This is just a stopping point on my way to Vladivostok to board a trans-siberian train to Moscow. From there things get fuzzier, but I'm hopeful to get to St. Petersburg and will eventually be stopping in Germany and Austria. The itinerary is largely dependent upon how much money and time all of this takes. I intend to be back in the states by the end of May.
My first stop takes me back to Fukuoka to catch a flight to Seoul. I could have flown out of Tokyo, but taking the train and flying from Fukuoka costs about the same and allows me to stop off in Osaka (to visit the Tai Sakuma memorial plaza) and see a bit more of Fukuoka.
I mailed the bulk of my possesions back to the US on Wednesday. Unfortunately, I overestimated the capacity of my backpack. (Note- this is a school-type backpack, not a hiking pack. And I have a laptop. B/c that's how I roll) I managed to cram my remaining crap into, but 5 minute of walking w/ it on is enough to start killing my neck. This might be okay if I can count on leaving my bag in a locker everywhere I go, but that doesn't seem like something I should count on.
Before boarding the Shinkansen, I decide I need to lose some of the bulk. I figure I can get by with 1 less change of clothes or so. I mean, really, 2 pairs of pants seems kind of excessive now that I think about it. I find a post office without too much trouble, but I decide I'd rather keep the cargo hiking pants that are in my pack and send off the jeans I'm wearing.
So I need to find somewhere to change. There's a subway station nearby. Subway stations have bathrooms. The bathroom is closed for cleaning. A dilemna: I am really tired and don't want to continue wandering around in search of a bathroom (I didn't sleep the night before as I cleaned and made last minute comments in my code for work). The solution: I decide I'll just change in the subway station. I mean, if homeless people can sleep in them, surely no one will blink at a gaijin changing clothes.
So I haven't even left Tokyo yet and I'm already stripping in public. This bodes well for my adventure.