Things to Know: Packing (part one)Tokyo, Spring 2012

If there is one thing you should know about me it is that I am always over-prepared. This habit developed during my horse-back riding years. Many people might not know this, but horse shows are crazy and everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. In order to make the show go as smoothly as possible, I began to pack two of everything (two saddles, two blankets, two bridles, etc). Eventually I became the ‘go-to’ girl for all the people who had forgotten items or whose items had been lost/broken. This scenario repeated itself during my first semester in Japan. Number of Suitcases & Info on Shoes Before going abroad I was constantly told to “pack light” so that once I arrived in Japan I would be able to purchase local clothing in an effort to fit in. Luckily, I chose not to follow this advice. In the end, I arrived in Japan with two large suitcases (approximately 50lbs and 35lbs respectively), a laptop/electronics bag, and a small bag packed for IES orientation. People called me an over-packer and “over-prepared.” Those same people ended up coming to me to borrow certain items over the course of the semester. In terms of clothing – the majority of my two large suitcases consisted of shoes and clothes. I took around seven or eight pairs of shoes with me (two sets of heels, two pairs of boots, two pairs of flats (or was it one?), one pair of sneakers, and maybe some flip flops). In hindsight, I only used one set of heels since they were all open-toed and it got quite cold. This time around I will probably ditch the boots and go for more flats. One thing I did not take with me (that I should have) was a pair of new jogging shoes for the Meikai Gym. The gym requires clean shoes (never worn outside), so I had to go purchase a pair before hitting the gym. This was unfortunate for two reasons: 1. I wear a size 7 ½ to 8 in America. Japanese feet are tiny. Ultimately, the place I went to buy shoes at only had two pairs in my size and it took me forever to find them. 2. I was poor. Even in a place much like Walmart, a pair of basic sneakers cost me almost 50 dollars. So, if you intend to use the gym, I highly suggest you bring a pair of shoes from home. It might save you money (depending on your tastes), and it will definitely save you headaches if you’re a girl with larger feet or a guy. If you want ideas on what to pack in terms of shoes, try to find a few magazines on the internet. Heels, flats, and boots are always in, no matter the time of year. For guys, sneakers/tennis shoes/dress shoes will be fine. In all honesty, you can get away with any sort of shoe.
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