It’s 11:12 PM, and I have to be up again at 4:00 AM to go catch my plane.
But really – how am I supposed to sleep at a time like this?! Plus, it’s the middle of the day in Seoul right now. Can I just pretend I’m already on Asia time?
The butterflies in my stomach are more like pterodactyls, but at the same time I am so extremely excited that I think I’m going to pee my pants (which I won’t actually do, obviously, because I would have to sit in it for a fifteen hour plane ride. No thank you). Tomorrow is THE DAY.
This week I’ve spent a lot of time packing and preparing. I’m mostly nervous about navigating the airports. I have to find my way – alone – from the Tokyo airport to my hotel, which is eighty minutes away. (!!!) The leader of our fellowship gave us directions on how to catch the train/bus/whatever it is and then get a taxi to the hotel, but I’m nervous that I’m going to mess it up. I thought of a brilliant idea – I would print out a map/directions in Japanese, and then if I’m totally lost I can just hand the directions to the cab driver and look really pathetic so that he understands I need help. I went to my hotel’s website to try to accomplish this goal, and this is what I saw:
Ummm….WHAT?!?! I suddenly felt very sympathetic towards kindergartners who open up a book and the teacher is like, “try to read it!” OBVIOUSLY I CAN’T READ IT! I can’t even sound anything out! Those are just squiggles!
I didn’t need to translate the whole site…I just needed to find the part that said “directions” or “map” or something like that. So, like any good girl of the twenty-first century, I thought to myself, “There is probably an app for this.”
I love the app WordLens, which automatically translates texts between a few different languages (German, French, Spanish, etc.). You hold up your smart phone or ipad to the text, and it will change the picture to show you the text in English. Unfortunately, WordLens hasn’t been developed for Asian languages yet. I tried to find a similar app and found one called Waygo. I downloaded it and attempted to use it on this website, and APPARENTLY the phrases that appear on this website are the following:
One year old with a grin
Eye of the month
So….either I am about to stay at a VERY strange hotel, or Waygo has a long way before this app is actually effective. I started clicking on text randomly, feeling like a preschooler who says, “Look! I can play on the computer too!” I figure a map or directions are usually on the bottom of the website or on a sidebar, so I started by clicking there. Finally – BINGO! – a map came up. There are a bunch of Japanese characters beside the map that may or may not be directions. I printed them off anyway. Who knows what they really say? Hopefully I’ll be able to follow the English directions well enough to not need my plan B of “Hand this random paper with some squiggles on it to a cab driver and hope for the best.” My Nana would so not approve of that.
Luckily I’m going to Korea before Japan, so hopefully Rex’s cousin Max can teach me a thing or two about Asia. I’ve tried to learn a bit of Japanese since I’ll be there for most of my trip, but I realized today that the only word I know in Korean is “won.” I only know that because it’s their currency, and I have some in my wallet. I can’t say “hello,” I can’t say “English,” I can’t say, “HELP ME I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING!”
What am I getting myself into?!