finnair’s account was credited as soon as we settled the main details: there’s three of us, we’ll be there for give or take 3 weeks and it’s going to be awesome! two weeks around the country with the japan rail pass and the rest of the period in tokyo.

i’m very excited and i’m struggling to get work done as my mind is secondarily racing and there’s a piece of paper on my desk where i write down any new idea that comes to my mind. for instance, ways of making my luggage as light as possible but without missing any of the essentials. i’m kinda good at packing light (all travelers are) but i’m still trying to see what can be left behind. i’ll use an improved version of my main trick last year: throw out all the underwear, socks, tees, flip flops, towels, etc as you go. it works like a charm and, as you approach the end of the trip, your luggage gets lighter not heavier. it does get heavier with all the leaflets i gather in order to make a new mood board: for instance, a piece of glossy cardboard saying hairy crab is in season! come to our restaurant! with a great big red crab on it. i gotta have it!

anyhow, last year, sapporo was the first city i went to. my host was a great kiwi surfer/snowboarder i kept in touch with. since, blair moved back to new zealand. presently, he’s in chile, for surfing, but that didn’t stop him from very kindly offering me his place in sapporo to stay while we’re there. unfortunately, i won’t see him this time. he’ll only be back in japan in may or june. in march, when i’ll be in his place and the boys very possibly on the nearby ski slopes, he’ll be in brazil.

also, asuka, my nagasaki host, a japanese girl with a penchant for dinosaurs, is in amsterdam now and she’s then off to south africa. she travels so much she actually made it on my couch in bucharest and met the boys so we’re going to try a reunion in her home town.

in kobe, i’ll hopefully be reunited with michael, a very nice and interesting american i barely talked to due to conflicting schedules.

also, akira and his nice girlfriend hitomi in osaka (they have a really cute band together. they gave me a cd with two of their songs but cannot find any link to their stuff…).

and, in tokyo, liviu (romanian friend, guide extraordinaire) and shunsuke (my gentleman host)!

i can’t wait to see everybody again and also meet new people! i love couch surfing! 🙂

i’ll be keeping you posted with the new developments as, right now, i need to work and the only other thing in my mind is japan!