What to Pack

May 14, 2009

Absolutely exhausted prepping for the moving company. Almost too tired to want to bother packing my suitcase!

We’re down to just needing to tackle the bathroom and wash the linens we aren’t keeping to sleep on, but it’s been a successful day. We’re limited by the amount of liquids we can take, for example I’ve had to toss nearly all my liquid cooking supplies, and will have to do the same with large toiletries, like the super-sized bottles of my favorite Bumble&Bumble shampoo. Because medicines are very expensive in Japan, we’re taking our entire medicine cabinet. Also, many varieties aren’t available overseas. I plan on taking cold, allergy, and cortisone medicines with me when I leave for the plane. It’s  a terrible experience getting sick and not having the medicines one normally takes to comfort the symptoms. I had a horrible sinus infection on my last trip to Tokyo I won’t soon forget, and was only saved by a random box of Claritin I’d throw in my toiletries bag.

Another thing is the dry foods I won’t likely find outside of a department store basement in Japan. Things like various instant oatmeal, microwave popcorn, herbal teas, mac and cheese, tortilla chips, etc. Apparently even pretzels are hard to find in Japan! However, I opted to only take what was already on hand in my cupboards. After all, I can’t say that it cracks me up to think I won’t be eating mac and cheese for the next three years. The majority of my dry food stores are actually items for Japanese cooking, which I haven’t had a chance to really use since I started work here in Hawaii. My hope is to dive right back into eating Japanese food, American comfort dishes be damned. I’m placing bets with myself right now on whether I come to regret this as intensely as I did on my first home stay in Japan, where I surreptitiously ate out of my host family’s experimentally purchased bottle of salsa, straight from the jar, just for a taste of home.

It is also very important to know what to not ship, such as vital records, official documents, and any high-quality jewelry one might own. I plan on taking my health records, passport information, social security cards, and marriage records with me on the plane. I also have packed up my good jewelry into my carry-on. None of these documents are replacable, and I reminded myself as my carry-on became heavier and heavier that even if no-one ill-minded came across them, accidents still like to strike at the worst times.

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