1. japan

a kaiten-sushi restaurant in japan.

Those of you who know me, know that I've been teaching myself Japanese. And sometimes, I get to use it at work with the customers that come in. I love it when that happens! I have been told by quite a few Japanese people that I should really go to Japan and see it in person. In fact, most times when I speak to them, the first (or second) question I get asked is: "Have you just come back from Japan?" or "Have you lived in Japan?" The answer to both of these questions is no. They've said that I sound just that good. My intonation, my emphasis, and pronunciation of the words are spot on. Ever since I've been told these things, I've been looking into going to Japan. Shaun (a friend I made over iChat) has lived there for quite some time, and has also said that I should come and visit Japan. The podcast I'm using to learn Japanese is none other than JapanesePod101.com, whch is available through iTunes and their website. It's all I've ever used, and in the year and a half I've used it, it's been incredibly invaluable. I can't wait to meet the people from JapanesePod101.com! Peter Galante, Kazunori, Sakura Suzuki, Natsuko Kowamoto, Yoshi Watanabe, Chigusa Yamaguchi, Hiroko Takase, Sachiko Nakagomi and Jun. And anyone else I've forgotten who has helped make that podcast what it is. I'm currently saving money to go, and I would like to check it out in the late spring/early summer time. I'll keep you posted.

2. france

Champs élysées in paris, france.

Apart from wanting to see the Eiffel Tower in person, France has interested me for some time. Quite a few movies that I love have been shot there. Two that come to mind are Luc Besson, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Check out my "Must-See" section for more French films. I do like the architecture that I have seen in the photos taken there. Now, my brother has been there, and whenever there's a chance to say where he'd like to go, France is usually his answer. He also informs me that the whole "We don't like Americans" thing that you hear some people say is complete B.S. If you go there, expecting to be spoken to in English, or expect everyone to bend because you're American, then expect bad treatment. But, if you go, and try to speak French... even just a little, this will help tremendously. The same goes for any country where English is not the main language or even the second language that the people of the area you are in learn. My brother says that the streets are immaculate, the people were friendly, and helpful. The sights are really something to see, and are really worth the trip. I'm going to go there one day.

3. england (again)

"theaterland" near piccadilly circus in london, england.

There are just too many reasons to go to England. All I need is enough time off, and believe me, I'd be busy trying to book a flight to go. I made quite a few friends there, shopping is terrific, the food is awesome (nevermind what you heard, check it out for yourself.), and the people are so friendly! When I went in 2000, upon my arrival, I felt like I was home. I haven't had that feeling except when I actually am at home! Now, because the UK happens to be the hub between the Eastern and Western countries, they deal with terrorists, and various other things dealing with government, religion and the like. So when you see a policeman (a "Bobby": slang term I think) without a gun, and government-issued bomb squad men with fully-automatic weaponry that looks like it fell out of a movie, you kinda feel safe, somewhat. Remind me if you see me to tell you the bomb squad in Kings Cross Station story sometime. It actually happened. I'll try to find my photos from England (this was before I had a digital camera, so please bear with me), and post them here someday soon.