I'm starting to feel like this trip is actually going to happen now. If Brian and I were able to dig our way out from the blizzard, I am confident that the snow clearing mechanisms at JFK International Airport can do the damn same.
I am not getting uptight about the fact that we are not sitting next to each other on the ride there and trying not to think about the fact that because we had to change the reservation at the hotel that our room upgrade was lost. Instead, I am thinking about how amazing a time this trip is going to be and what we are going to be able to get out of our adventure.
More to come! Ganbatte!
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On hold with American Airlines to attempt to reschedule our now cancelled flight from tomorrow morning to whenever the next flight is.

Not upset. Just drinking vodka.
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Despite Brian's constant taunting, I think I am handling this quite well.

- I have not, for example, been calling American Airlines hourly to verify the on-time status of our flight.
- I am waiting to call the hotel & Expedia services regarding changing around the arrival & departure dates.
- I did not force Brian to accompany me on a needless shoveling expedition.
- I have resisted calling every taxi company in the area to arrange for transport to the airport tomorrow.
- I haven't cried.
- I've kept a constant vigil on weather.com and have determined that the snow will stop by 4am, we will be dug out by 5am. We will have showered and gotten ready to leave the house by 6:30am to be at the in-laws' by 7am to be at the airport by 8am. I'm not anticipating a cancellation and am willing to accept a delay in our departure.
- I am doing breathing exercises, trying to relax and chanting over and over to myself that I can not control the elements.

Argh.
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Hey, so this fun. I'm not stressing about the fact that there is a blizzard scheduled for the night before my departure date. Brian is being all sensible and shit but really, I am not impressed.

Merry xmas.
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The bills are paid.
Mail has been put on hold.
The suitcases are upstairs.
The dry cleaning is out.
There are multiple small loads of laundry being done (& drying clothing hanging all over the house)
I've downloaded 6 new books to the iPad.
The neck pillows are out.
The toiletries & cosmetics have taken over a full corner of the dining room table.
I picked up a bevy of pharmaceuticals yesterday.
I have pill boxes neatly stacked in the kitchen.
My guide books are tabbed, highlighted and sitting next to the couch.
Test pack #1 occurs tomorrow afternoon.

I am stressed, anxious & am certain I am forgetting something. The bags under my eyes are purple & grey and have bags of their own. I am seriously contemplating using Preparation-H cream to diminish their appearance. Brian's got deadlines on top of deadlines, work on top of work and falls down exhausted and still reeling from his day just in time to wake up for another each morning. Today, he'll be traipsing through Manhattan. And I was smart enough to wash both his heavy winter coat and warmest hat this morning. They are now hanging from the coat rack drying, too soaked to wear today. Good job, Jess! And for my next trick, I hide all of his pants & shoes...

I've got to leave for work.
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My plans for the next eight days are set. They are slightly complicated by the fact that Xmas is this coming Saturday - but I am planning ahead so I'm anticipating little trouble from our Lord & Savior's birthday.

- I am to buy no more perishable food items and work diligently to consume the ones that are in the fridge presently.
- I have one last load of dry cleaning going out tomorrow that I will be picking up by Wednesday.
- The suitcases come up from the basement today to air out and I do the first test pack to see if my lists need any adding to them.
- I've an 8am doctor's appointment tomorrow where I will get a physical (Brian had his a couple months back) and procure the ever-important prescriptions for our Flying Pharmaceuticals (that would be an rx for Ambien CR, 1 for Xanax, a Z-pack and anything else my beloved family physician and I can conjure. Added to this when I drop off the prescriptions at the local CVS will be a potent decongestant, some basic allergy meds and some stomach remedies). Now, I'm fully aware that our destination is a fully functioning member of modern society w/excellent healthcare standards and chemist shops on every corner. I am simply more comfortable w/traveling with our own pharmacy in a bag. And I have funny visions of asking for one thing and ending up w/something else entirely, ya know?
- By Wednesday I will double check our stock of toiletries & cosmetics to make sure we're noy going to run out of toothpaste or butt wipes.
- Thursday I start the actual packing so that laundry can be done, last minute items packed, etc. and we can weigh our suitcases so as to avoid unnecessary luggage fees.
- Friday I call to double check our upgrades are still available (fingers crossed for our Biz class seats, people - this is a fucking brutal flight) & confirm our reservations.
- We go & enjoy a marathon of family eating competitions, say hi to santa & be merry.
- Saturday & Sunday we enjoy some chill out & work out time (Brian will, of course, still have work to do)
- Monday we leave the house at 7am to go to Momma & Poppa Ferrara's house for our ride to the airport by 7:30am & we're off!

I am so excited. Nervous too, but that might just be the coffee.
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We've hit the 2 week mark and I am out-of-my-mind excited. Brian's put Miyazaki's 'Spirited Away' on because our cable box needs to be replaced (guess what I'm doing tomorrow morning!) and we've been sitting talking about all of the street food we're going to eat this time. According to me, we will start at the vending machine place for udon, walk to the Sega arcade for fried squid balls (takoyaki) and then hit up the same izakaya we ate at the first time for something fried and gross on a stick.

And then we also got to talking about our favorite days in Tokyo. And it made us think about what we can accomplish this time. And holy crap. I think I'm going to start packing tomorrow.
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As in, there are 19 days until we leave for our return. I've been wanting to put up another post for weeks but kept finding other things to do. I sit here at 5:48 am after another internet-surfing bout of insomnia and realize this is the perfect opportunity.

I'm listening to some newly downloaded, thoughtful music that has me reflecting on life, love and the state of my little world. Is it ok to admit, out loud and to the internet that I am exceedingly proud of us and happy with my life? I feel like people want to ask and maybe even want to know but don't know how to react when the complaints don't come and the response is only positive. I'm happy. I'm excited for whatever it is that we're doing next and ready for some other, new & as-of-yet unknown that I believe to be just over the horizon. I know there's 'opportunity' and 'potential' and some remarkable achievements and events hovering over the space that we're going to occupy in the future. (I told you the music was thoughtful...)

Our May 2009 trip to Japan focused a small, but bright and dazzling light on what it could be for me to exist in a place of change and happiness and forward momentum. It was remarkable in that it happened for both Brian and I and was the realest, most excellent understanding of the amount of control I could exert over my reactions to the world. There is so much unpredictability and surprise and a clear lack of control over the course of most events - that hadn't changed, but my willingness to grow with or in spite of or because of these things was, aside from some amazing pictures, my favorite part of that trip.

So as I begin the prep work for our December 27th departure, I wonder what this one will reveal - if anything at all. I mean, it could just be a fabulous and fun trip to the other side of the planet to celebrate a new year and add some images to my photo gallery. But I feel like it could be something else. Something more - another milestone to mark the passing of time and the cool shit that continues to make up my day-to-day existence.

I'm eating a bowl of 6 am raisin bran & scribbling a To-do list of what we missed last time or what is possible only this time of year & of what we are going to enjoy again. I just can not wait.
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Yay! Brian came home with such delightful news this evening. It looks like the one, the only Mr. Jerry Ma is going to be in Tokyo at the same time as us. NYE w/Mr Jerry Ma in Tokyo. The Tokyo Din Tai Fun with Mr. Jerry Ma. Running amok through Shibuya (which he always yells at Brian for mispronouncing) & Shinjuku & Harajuku & Asakusa with Mr. Jerry Ma. Oh, joy.
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So i just love Brian. I started talking to him about how Groupon's latest deal was a 50% off registration at a foreign language school in the east 40's and he was all like, "well, you need to sign up for that! You love going to classes and you need to learn more Japanese." and that was it, I registered today and I start on september 27th @6pm. I dunno, I'm thrilled!

More to come. I'll take pix and post links, but I am really quite excited.
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It is 4:29am. Brian is blissfully asleep in bed & I am on the couch, mind racing, wide awake, painfully aware of the gruelingly long day ahead of me. I have this fun, new thing that I do lately; I wake up, ready to go, at 2am. Regardless of when I go to sleep, what I've done during the day or how exhausted I am when I crawl into bed - unless I've taken my Ambien CR, I'm up at 2-frickin-am. I've beaten Plants vs. Zombies 5 times now, play solitaire w/a Rain Man like prowess and trawl the internet until about 6ish and pass out for an hour before waking again to my day. Ugh.

So far this morning, I've read no less than 4 different travel sites extolling the virtues of the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel. I'm obsessed. I do not know how I am going to stand the time between this moment, right now, and when we're boarding the plane on December 27th. I picked our seat assignments for both our departing and returning flights. I made sure my vacation time was logged for the week covering until January 7th. I've picked out clothing (in my mind) that I'll be packing, shoes I'll be wearing, medication I have to bring with us, toiletries I have to buy and which suitcases all of this will be fitting into. I know which pocketbooks I'm going to use, what jewelry I'll be wearing and when I'll need to have my hair done by. I've mapped out walks (love you, Google Earth) refreshed my memory on the subway map and have looked through all of my photos from last time. I drank a big glass of orange juice, took my allergy pill and was about to load the dishwasher until I remembered how noisy that can be. And since lucky boy Bri is all types of sleeping now, I am left to distract myself here.

Ugh.

I am promising myself to take the damn sleeping pill next time. I mean, as much fun as it is to plan and research and play make believe with this dream trip of mine, I'm thinking it would be better for all parties involved if I was actually dreaming. I'm going to go and print all of the reservation info and start a "Tokyo 2010" folder to keep me info in. And maybe I'll get some sleep too. I dunno.
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I've been talking a lot about a New Year's trip.

Like A LOT a lot. Our work schedules this past year have been INSANE. My company put the kabash on all vacation time after my drug was approved and Brian's been working more than I thought humanly possible. These are not complaints, mind you, as I love my job and love even more seeing how productive and happy hubby's been - but the fact remains that aside from a whirlwind weekend of comics, artists and mayhem, our last trip together was in May 2009 to our beloved Japan.

So, I've been talking a lot about a New Year's trip.

I first got it into my brain that we needed to do something different. We needed to experience more. I started researching a week-long New Year's adventure to Hong Kong. It was a longer flight than Tokyo, a more expensive trip and, to some degrees, a more foreign experience. That is, I know less about Chinese culture and language and customs than I do Japanese. It was interesting and seemingly beautiful and exciting. Then, I added a four day side trip to Beijing. It got even more expensive, more foreign and yes, an even further flight. But, Hong Kong on New Year's is warm, exciting, packed with pleasure seekers and they speak English there! And Beijing has The Great Wall and the Forbidden City and Crazy Chinese food! And shopping! And I got excited. So frickin excited!

And then I looked up New Year's events in Tokyo. And I started to cry. (I'm crazy. I know this.) Balloons, prayers and fireworks at Meiji Shrine; a throng of people ushering in the New Year with bells and gongs at Sensoji shrine (oh, how I LOVE Asakusa). Shogatsu in Tokyo. Soba noodles to welcome the New Year, Bonenkai and Shinnenkai and being able to see my breath as I walked through Shibuya crossing and actually making it to Fujisan and going back to Horizaru and strolling around Yoyogi Park and spending more than an evening in Shinjuku and more than an hour at Harujuku and getting back on the subway and I realized that I don't want to go to Hong Kong. I want to go back to Tokyo.

I'm not even wanting to look at other Japanese cities - I am really just craving Tokyo.

So I called the Cerulean Tower Hotel this morning. I even spoke to them in Japanese! I remembered enough Japanese to say good morning & do you speak English!!! (Ohayo gozaimasu. Eigo ga hanemasimas ka?) & I got put through to an English-speaking reservations person (Noguchi-san) and (GASP!) I made a reservation! They were able to look up what room we stayed in last time and quote me a price for this time and I did it. I frickin booked a Corner Queen on the City View floor with the bathtub view upgrade, mutha fuckas.

Now I'm just waiting for Brian to wake up so that I can tell him. :-)
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