[The American Years]

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Finally, a plan.

It's open week at ballet school, when they allow parents and cameras in the room. So we have pictures of ballet. We do other things besides ballet. Sorry we post so many photo from it. And here's one of Jessie in the snow just for fun. I'm not sure if she's training for search and rescue of teddy bears, or if she's taking it out to bury it. Either way it's pretty cute.

Sorry there have been no posts for a long time, but really that's better. The plan has changed more times than I can remember. The last update showed that some people wanted me there for March 1st, and some others wanted me there April 1st. And the winner is... everyone but me.

The plan is in place, the airline reservations are made, the wheels are in motion. Finally.

It goes like this:

Feb 26: I fly to Japan to start my assignment officially.
March 5(yes, one week later): I leave Japan for a 'business trip' back to KY to support projects here.
March 30: I return to Japan to start working on that project again
April 30: I leave Japan to join the family to get them ready to go
May 18: We all fly to Japan together.

The benefits are... unclear, other than tons of frequent flier miles for me. The schedule was designed around the philosophy of making the most Japanese upper management types happy. Which is not a bad philosophy to adopt. It's what's gotten me this far in the company.

And by the way, if the plan doesn't change again, I'll be truly amazed. The open item is still whether we come home at Feb/end/07 or Mar/end/07. I will surely know around Feb/21/07.

I also have an address over there already (to be sent out via email). In order to get into a housing location that seemed perfect, I signed up sight-unseen. But a colleague of mine going over at the same time who has a wife and young daughter will be living in the same complex, and he actually got a chance to look at the place and many others. And since he picked this one, I think it's reliable. It is 1600 square feet, and designed for the western expatriot. It has things like central air (a deal-breaker for Kathleen), an oven, a dishwasher, and two parking spaces, all of which are nearly unheard of in Japanese homes. No shower. Bathtub only. So not totally western, but probably OK.

The same colleague advised me to go nuts buying bulk things to ship over. (We get to ship a sea container which will take 6-8 weeks to get there.) I was thinking that furniture and bikes would go in the ocean shipment. But my friend said to get anything that's non-perishable and expensive or unavailable in Japan. Like TP, vitamins, laundry detergent, wine, coffee, etc, etc. We have a list as long as your arm of things to buy in bulk and ship over. So now we have an excuse to overspend our limits at the Sam's Club. We typically overspend anyway, but it's nice to have the excuse now.

Clothing is the other interesting thing. I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone that I don't buy much in the way of clothes for myself, but the thought that I'll be unable to buy anything to fit me over there has me thinking I need to stock up. I think the only clothing items which might fit me from a Japanese clothier would be hats, and maybe Sumo wrestler underpants.

What about kitchen things? What if we run out of cumin?! We better buy and ship a case of it, because I'm sure they don't have it over there. And cream of tartar! I'm sure they don't have that either. Get the gallon bottle.

I feel a little guilty about shipping that level of American creature comforts over there. I feel like maybe we should just immerse ourselves in the surroundings, living like the locals, instead of shipping over all the comforts of home. Just a little guilty.... Ok, there, it's gone now. Yep, I want the cumin.

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