In what seems like just a handful of sleeps we’ll be heading off to Japan and hopefully by the time we leave, we’ll be totally prepared. We’ve made it a habit now on trips to make sure we all read about where we’re going ahead of time. Of course we get the basics like Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. I also made sure to save PDF’s of the JR Station maps on my phone because we’ll be taking a lot of trains. (We bought a pass through the Japan Travel Bureau in Seattle.) We hit up our local libraries and bought a bunch of books online. (I wish I could say bookstores, but a lot of my best shopping is done kid-free at night.) Books we’ve really appreciated are All About Japan and Tokyo Friends because they talk about things that are unique to Japanese culture and we get to see a little about Japanese daily life. It’s because of these books that we’ll probably be going to a Sumo Wrestling competition. One of the guys decided he wants to be a Sumo.
Last year we concentrated on Spanish so the guys have lost a lot of their Japanese (and me too!). Instead of osara they are saying plato for plate and they refuse to learn anything different. I’ve been cramming with this book and it’s been really helpful. (It’s also internet-linked, so if you need to hear the pronunciation of a word you can hear it!)
My pre-reading also wouldn’t be complete without help from the blogging world and I really like WalkingonTravels post on Kyoto. Keryn and her family stayed in an amazing Kyoto apartment that I totally want to stay at on our next trip. I also love La Jolla Mom‘s posts about Japan-and this restaurant that she posts about looks pretty amazing.
I am dying to go visit the Arishimaya monkeys after posts I read on Boing Boing and Chubby Hubby. I’m also curious if we should make the journey to the Ghibli museum too-I love this post on 3onthego about it.
In Tokyo, I’m looking forward to seeing this rooftop garden and hopefully this one too. I really like this list of kid-friendly restaurants-I wonder how many we’ll actually be able to check out but the one called Pierrette looks really neat to me. I’m also thankful for the post Mary from The World Is a Book has on the Imperial Palace in Tokyo The last time we went to Japan we found some rooftop playgrounds and I’m still hoping we can find some more. I’m excited to head to Kochi to see our relatives and Yokohama to visit the ship my mom came to Canada on. And though right now it seems like I’m up to my eyeballs in research, this trip will be over before we know it and I’ll definitely let you know how our journey turns out when we get back!