Urgh. Feeling very much in the midst of this at the moment.

We are pretty much in the same position as we were when I wrote this post from Sydney in Jun 2008 – the packers are coming on Tuesday morning at 9 (four hours after Brigid will be picked up for her trip to Aussie Quarantine) and we are in preparation limbo. Our days are a blur of decision making: Air, Sea or Plane?; Pack ourselves or leave for the packers?; If pack ourselves do we do it now or will we need it before Tuesday?; Do we even TRY to write "Air" and "Sea" in kanji on the stickers we are hoping will indicate to the packers that the various items are to go by air or sea – what if the kanji for "Air" is one stroke off the kanji for "The Depths of Hell"?

In Sydney, on packing day, we had four guys packing up our stuff, with no language barrier, and it was rather like trying to coordinate a locust plague. One guy might see you nearby and so ask you if you want your Grandmother’s china treated as fragile while another might see you talking to the first and so, even though he’s not TOTALLY sure, just make his own judgement based on your stickers with arrows and big black texta that the stuff IN this chest of drawers is to go by air but the chest of drawers itself is to go by sea – when you share a language, that’s going to be right most of the time. Also, in Australia, if something seems just, well, stupid, an Aussie will – as politely as possible – ask you if you really meant that you wanted to ship your entire library by Air. This time, there will be five or six men who won’t speak English, and one supervisor who will, but, in my experience with the Japanese so far, none of them will be so rude as to second-guess me even if they do wonder why Oku-sama has clearly written in kanji that she wants the piano sent to the Depths of Hell. Who is he to argue?

Today our goals are to organize which clothes will come with us and which will go by sea and organize the office – the latter seems an Herculean task atm but I am discovering that switching to tunnel vision and tackling a 30cm square area at a time eventually gets you there!

We will have internet till we leave and will leave the computers up till Monday (going by Air, no question) and hopefully at some stage between now and then I will have the time and energy to blog about our lovely, snowy New Year at Atsuta Shrine – but no promises, it may not happen till we are back in Australia and up and running with (what, in Australia, passes for) internet access.

Happy New Year to all!