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Going to Itsukushima

Another beautiful morning. It should be about 72 today (42 if I'm ever going to get the hang of Celsius) and we're getting ready to make the journey to Itskushima Island to see the Miyajima Shrine.

Yesterday we had a pretty quiet day. We spent a lot of time biking around in the sunshine (I love Hiroshima's "peacecles" bike share), and I worked through several details that need buttoning up if we're going to stay another month.

I tested my computer's remote connection to my work system--I can get to most of my files, it seems, and connect to email and Skype, so that is all good. I located both the US Embassy and Japanese Immigration offices in Osaka, in case we have to visit one or both. I searched for English-speaking doctors, as both Nora and I have non-critical prescriptions that we will run out of while we're here; hers can possibly be sent from overseas, mine can't.

And I withdrew cash. Since changing our plans, I've been withdrawing the max allowable every day and setting it aside. I doubt very much that the entire global banking system is going to collapse, but I don't want to be here a whole month (or, in the worst case, longer) without ready access to funds.

I'm trying to be prepared, but not panicked. I am, however, very aware of the tradeoffs in opting to ride this out in a foreign country. Japan is exceedingly friendly and I have no doubt that we'll be fine, but there are edge-case scenarios to consider. If the situation becomes considerably worse here (just as it might in the US) and, for some reason, we have to stay longer than the 90 days allowed on our tourist visas, then we become refugees. Privileged refugees, sure ... refugees with a way better safety net than most. But our rights in a country not our own are very much at the grace and favor of our host nation. And during these times of great uncertainty, that's a bit scary. But hey. We're all scared.

For the time being, I'm just making sure I'm informed and prepared for anything. I'm scanning the horizon for the bridges we may have to cross when we come to them, and making sure I have a reasonably good map.

In other news, I'm definitely going to have to adopt a more Japan-friendly look come April. My Portland urban-assault hipster goth vibe is passable for vacay, but just barely. I've already unwittingly terrified several small children. If I want to project a dependable, reliable, mature professional image here in Japan, I'm gonna have to switch it up. I've already started wearing less black; I may have to investigate floral prints and flats.

That's all my real-life musings for now. Going back to tourist mode. I'll have some glorious photos of Miyajima to share later!

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