As the days roll by it's occurred to me that I NEED to start packing, but it's so complicated! Unlike any temporary trip away I can't just pack my favourite clothes - I have to pack everything! And I can't even just pack everything - because I need to buy a lot of new professional-looking clothes as well. The suitcases are needlessly complicated also...should I beg/borrow/steal a massive one, or just post most stuff after me?
Meanwhile I'm supposed to be studying Japanese...which hasn't happened so much yet...but I have read a lot about different food types in a phrasebook someone bought me! My Japanese is still at the Ohayo-Sayonara level, but hopefully the motivation to study it will increase when it becomes necessary for human communication!
Finally, possibly the most important part of preparing to leave...and the only one I've started really, is making time to see everyone before I go. There's something scary about trying to schedule coffee with a friend, when they suggest a date and you have to say, sorry but I'll be gone then. A kind of desperate urgency seizes me sometimes, and I have to be dissuaded from contacting people I haven't seen in years, just to say goodbye to them!
There's an odd feeling of finality about leaving in my mind, which is crazy really - I'm only leaving for a year! It's all relative though. In 2008 I went interrailing for a month, which felt like a LONG time. That makes Japan a LONG time times 12.