Countdown to Japan: What clothes to bring?

I leave for Japan in 3 days. I am just now starting to pack. I wanted to wait until I can get a better grasp of what the weather will be like in Tokyo while I'm there.

Well, it appears that it'll be raining the entire time (and mostly in the 70s).

I don't mind the rain. But now I have to reconsider what clothes to bring. For my ten-day-trip, I have planned on only bringing: 
  • 2 pairs of pants (dungarees in khakis and navy) 
  • 2 button-up long sleeves shirts (oxfords in white and chambray)
  • 2 sweatshirts (in gray and blue)
  • a bunch of underwear, socks, and plain white tees
  • 1 pair of shoes (gray with brown pipping)
It's very basic/preppy. And while it seems like I'm not bringing enough clothes, I will be staying at places where there are laundry facilities and yukata/kimonos are provided. I also factored in that I  would probably end up buying clothes anyway. I fully intend on traveling with only a backpack for my luggage. However, I was not accounting for that I might get soaked. 

So, what should one bring on a trip like this?

Do people still wear slouch beanies? (illustration by @iamcallen)
One thing I learned from my last international travel was to not wear anything that absorbs odors easily. That means, no wool or cashmere unless I'm flying on a private plane.

Which probably will NEVER happen and can only dream about. But who knows? I might become one of those Insta-famous Influencers someday. But until then, I'll have to travel like everyone else.

In the meantime, let me finish packing and I'll update you later on what clothes ended up in my backpack/duffle bag.

Monday Night Football

I've been hustling to earn some extra pocket money for my trip to Japan. I was planning on doing a garage sale at my parent's house to sell a bunch of crap gently-used items I no longer need. But as soon as I mentioned it, my mother vetoed the idea. She does not like having other people. She doesn't even like me to come over.

On Saturday, a nice person requested a drawing of a certain quarterback of a team from a state closely associated with cheese. Holy run-on sentence, Batman! All that just to avoid saying his name. Coincidentally, I have heard his name earlier that morning while listening to my local NPR station.

Here is the version I made for general consumption. Mainly to avoid angering the powers-that-be, now that I'm actually trying to earn some money off of this blog.

If you'd like to see the full version, I will be posting them on my Patreon account in the next few days or whenever I finally finish setting up my account.

In the meantime, if you'd like to support my work, please consider donating through Venmo (@iam_callen) or PayPal. In return, I will draw something for you.

If you're buying anything from Amazon, you can also show your support by going through this associate link. It will not cost you anything extra, but it'll earn me a tiny percentage from your qualified purchase.

Lastly, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, where I will be posting videos from my upcoming trip to Japan. I'm thinking of doing a Livestream while there.

Thank you very much for visiting my site and your continued support.

Drawing Females Part 2: Lindsay

As much as I love drawing big, burly, hairy men, I find it more gratifying to draw women. They are a bit more challenging to illustrate. But the end product, especially when it's done right can be particularly rewarding.

Compared to my previous sketches of women, this one is something I'm actually proud of.

Black Dahlia

International Driving Permit

I got my International Driving Permit today. Woo hoo!

What's an International Driving Permit, you ask?

Basically, an International Driver's Permit allows you to drive a vehicle in another country, as long as you also have a valid driver's license issued by your state.

You'll only need it in a few countries. I drove all over Iceland, and I wasn't required to have one. It is also recognized as a valid form of identification in over 175 countries as well as by many major car rental companies internationally.

Acquiring one is as simple as going to your local AAA office, filling out a form, and forking over $32 ($20 for the permit and $12 for the passport photos). You could also do it online, but you'll have to send it in by mail and wait for it to be mailed back to you. You can learn more about it by visiting AAA's website.

The permit is valid for one year from date of issue, which you can specify - like you can see on my permit with an October 12, 2019 date.

So why did I get one? Well... it's because of this:

The Studio Ghibli Museum is sold out for October! 

Apparently, you have to book your tickets way in advance as they are not sold on the day you plan to go. Booking your ticket is a whole clusterfuck too - which has a limited sale period.

If I wanted tickets for October, I should have booked it in September - on the very first day the sale period, as they sell out fast. And you can't buy it from the museum's website.

You either have to:

a.) buy it from a kiosk at  Lawson's (if you're in Japan),

b.) from their website, or

c.) get it from JTB USA (the company where you buy your JR Pass), but only if you book a tour.

Whats does that have to do with getting an International Driving Permit? 

It's because I've decided to do something potentially dangerous: driving a go-kart in the middle of Tokyo while in cosplay!

Yes, folks, I am going to do the Street Kart aka "Mario Street Kart IRL".

Countdown to Japan: JR Pass, Kyoto, and lost photos.

I wanted to share some photos from the last time I was in Japan. Unfortunately, the only ones I can find are these gems from my Snapchat archives and are taken at Hong Kong International Airport.

I might have deleted them from Facebook and Instagram during one of my “purging episodes”. I’m sure they exist in my old laptop, but seeing that I refuse to give Apple anymore of my money, I’m just not going to have them extracted. Besides, there's nothing of value in that old MacBook Air - just my entire music collection from 2009 - 2018.

But enough about that. Today I wanted to talk about going to Kyoto!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm spending a couple of days in Kyoto. I bought my JR Pass last month ($284.50 USD including fees for a 7-day pass), as I was told that it would cost more if I buy it when I'm already in Japan.

A one-way fare on the Shinkansen would cost about $130.00. And since I can use the JR Pass on any of the JR trains and buses for 7 days, it could end up being a better value than just buying a round trip ticket.

However, I would still need to get a subway pass since I plan on doing a lot of sightseeing within Tokyo. I'll do a recap once I return, to see if I actually saved money.

For now, I am still deciding on how to best spend my time while in Kyoto. I know that I would like to see the Arashiyama bamboo forest and the Torri gates (Fushimi Inari Shrine), but other than that, I might just walk around and explore the city. I'm really not sure.

With less than a month away, I really should figure out and plan my activities for this trip.