Packing might be the trickiest part of any trip, let alone packing for an exchange – which means fitting a year’s worth of clothes and items into a suitcase weighing no more than twenty-three KG and a carry-on under seven. Where on earth to begin? Is among some thoughts that come to mind.
I’m considering one major thing before starting my list; when I arrive in Japan (mid-March) it will be the beginning of spring, which means still pretty freezing. Because I can’t realistically fit all of my clothes into my suitcase, most of it is going to have to be winter gear to deal with the cold when I arrive. In terms of summer clothes I’ll pack the ones I absolutely can’t live without, but for the most part I’ll be buying new clothes as the seasons come along (under the assumption that I’ll actually have money to spend).
So what exactly am I packing? The bare essentials, basically. Here’s a rough list:
- My harem pants and sweatpants, because comfort is key and I would live in these if I could.
- Wool-lined coat and gloves and woollen scarf – being from Auckland NZ I have to wrap up like an Eskimo to survive the snow in winter.
- Slippers for wearing inside, because in Japanese houses you leave your outside shoes in the genkan (entrance way) and wear slippers inside the house for cleanliness.
- Earrings, because I know for a fact that sterling silver earrings are hard to come by in Japan.
- My earbuds. No Music. No Life.
- An e-reader (that I have yet to buy) to avoid the temptation of buying 100 paperback books throughout the year.
- My laptop for sensible things like study and emails and Netflix.
- A camera? – I haven’t decided on this one yet because I could just rely on my phone for photos.
- Plug adaptors (maybe two or three).
- A couple of posters and my pillow slip to make my room feel more like ‘home’ as soon as I get there.
- My map of the Tokyo train system and my SUICA (one of the train passes used in Japan).
- Enough cash to get me through a couple of days until I find the nearest ATM – cards are rarely used in stores in Japan; people prefer to carry large amounts of cash.
- An agenda/diary/planner ie. life-saver.
- New Zealand souvenirs.
There are also some things I know I’m definitely not going to pack, including use-up-able things like shampoo, conditioner and soap, and bulky things like a hairdryer which I know are cheap enough to buy once I’ve arrived.
This list is likely to change before I leave in three months’ time, and it’s also likely that I’ll end up begging my parents to ship me things I’ve forgotten halfway through the year, but here we are for now!
If you’ve got any stellar suggestions for what I should be packing or questions about anything else, let me know in an email.
Until next time!