My Never-Ending List

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Claudia Pels
March 13, 2023

I wrote my first draft of this post when there was 80 days left until my departure... we are now at a mere 15 days. (Publishing now while i'm at the airport....)

Strangely, I am suffering with the same exact qualms which I started this journey with. Instead of my various lists offering any solace, they instill a burning pit of dread in my stomach. The longer I wait the more I believe my belongings will become sentient and find their way to my empty suitcase.

80 days to go and I had not bought my shoes, jeans, electronics, and toiletries.

15 days to go and I have still not bought my shoes, jeans, electronics, and toiletries.

Instead of focusing on the absolute dread I have about this trip I shall focus on the empty suitcases taking up half my room.

As I stare at these empty check lists, I quietly wish there was someone I could write these lists with. I am going through this program alone! No friends and no classmates, and what makes it so difficult is the lack of resources about Japan (in the last few years). Japan has been closed off for foreigners from 2020 to this past October, so consequently not many people have gifted me with hours’ worth of “pack with me for Japan” videos. Considering all the above, these are some things on my list that I STILL need to buy:

  • Clothes! While lots of people insist on bringing less clothes I feel as I must be prepared to buy little to no clothes due to Japanese stores’ standard clothing sizes.
  • Shoes! While I do not have abnormally large feet, I do have the most annoying sized feet, wherein I can fit a size 6-9 depending on the shoe... Therefore, I should probably buy them in the US.
  • Deodorant, toiletries etc. If you know much about Japan, you may know that things like deodorant may feel less effective than in the United States, so it may be best to stock up beforehand.
  • Several things TikTok has convinced me that I need (including this way too expensive $50 baggu bag)


Interestingly, it seems as if I have just received a text from a classmate who went to Japan last semester. She supports the idea of bringing NOTHING because I will buy so much.

I don’t think I will take her up on this advice…

I feel a compulsive need to surround myself with the things I love and so it is already certain that I am absolutely bringing my three favorite stuffed animals. With that decided, questions such as: “do I have room for three new pairs of shoes?” take up more space on my mental list of never-ending questions. In these circumstances my belongings are assigned a worth based on the size they may take up in my suitcase, which problematically has led to me assigning the role of “priceless” to all my items. How could I possibly bring NOTHING as my dear friend has recommended?

Finishing this blog and I have come no closer to the final verdict…

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Claudia Pels headshot

Claudia Pels

こんにちは!My name is Claudia and I am from Upstate New York! For as long as I can remember (perhaps 6th grade), my goal has been to study Japanese full time and now my ultimate goal is to live and teach in Japan after college. Some of my hobbies include Kpop, Jpop, anime, and language learning so I am super excited to be able to familiarize myself with the culture in Japan. I hope to see you in the busy streets of Tokyo, またね〜

2023 Spring
Home University:
University of Rochester
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