KDFC World Tour 2008

Lately I have been listening to the local classical radio station, KDFC. This week seems to be the “World Tour 2008”, where they pay three pieces either from or about a certain country/landmark/area. The program has been fun to listen to, since they include sounds of landing at an airport or arriving by sea. It certainly does make me want to travel again….

Anyway, while they run this program during the day, there are three chances to call in and name three locations to win a dinner and enter to get a chance to win airfare to the destination of the winner’s choice–anywhere in the world. I had been trying to call in yesterday and today, but I kept getting the busy signal. I would love to win the airfare to travel wherever I want to go…I would really like to go to Brazil or Wales or Germany right now to meet some friends.

I guess there’s still a chance over the next couple of days to call in since this program lasts until Friday. How do I get through to become the twelfth caller though….

Heavily Jet-Lagged.

I had a very long April 23rd; left Japan in the evening, arrived back in San Francisco in the morning. Still April 23rd.

I was lacking a lot of sleep due to staying up all night on Tuesday/Wednesday and having little sleep on the plane. Yesterday, I made myself stay awake until sunset so I could somehow reset my internal clock. I went to bed around 9pm.

Today, I woke up at 5pm.

Granted, I did wake up a few times throughout the day; I went downstairs around 2pm to pick up my vacation mail. Still, I ended up staying in bed until 5pm.

I don’t think I have ever experienced such jet lag before. But, this is probably good, to sleep 20 hours in one night–I am forcing myself tonight to get to bed by 11pm so I can try waking up early tomorrow.

First step off the plane.

Arriving in Tokyo in the late afternoon/early afternoon, my sense of time has been altered a bit. Coming back to this city, this city that used to be my home for four months, feels so strange. A mild culture shock hits me as I try to re-grasp my knowledge of the Japanese language for the day.

It feels strange arriving alone, without someone to welcome me. This happened last time as well, but at least with last time, I was welcomed to Japan by a student helper from my exchange school. Perhaps that time was scarier because I knew little to no conversational Japanese; this time, at least I had more knowledge of Japanese and could somewhat get around.

Yet, it is all overwhelming to go back to a country and try to get used to the way of life, the language again.

(Note: for the remaining entries of my trip, I shall be posting pictures of my meals as a sort of photo documentary. Food is always an interesting thing to look at, right?)

Exchange Rate at the Airport.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the exchange rate for the dollar/yen at SFO being 88 yen to $1 USD. The night before, I checked and the rate was at 98 yen on two websites; I knew that the rate could not have dropped so drastically in less than twelve hours, so I called my sister and asked her to check the rates.

According to Yahoo! Financial and XE.com, the rates were still around 98-99 yen for a dollar. Sigh of relief; but this made me pretty much decide that I probably won’t ever trade my currency at an airport unless absolutely necessary–why is it that airports get horrible rates? It seems rather fishy to me, but then again, I don’t really know much about how the exchange rates are determined from location to location (at a bank, as opposed to at an airport, etc.).

If anybody knows the answer, please let me know.

Night before departure.

Sitting here, wondering about what is about to unfold for me over the next three weeks. It has been two years since I have traveled abroad; it has been two years, and a lot has happened since then.

When I booked this trip back in January, I had the intentions of only going back as a vacation. But, with my unemployment status looming large in my window, I became depressed, and soon changed the goals for this trip to become one for me to seek out work there.

Now, I don’t know what will happen. Things happen the way they do, and sometimes situations cannot be explained until much later. All I can do right now is hope that I leap forward and fall somewhere safely.