Where are the brakes on this thing?

The past few days have been really productive, albeit not as productive as they needed to be (are they ever?). Took care of a bunch of things I’ve been waiting months (and even years) to do, and wow, it felt good. Now I’m leaving for Tokyo in about 8 hours, and I’m almost packed. I think I need to sneak home to finish the job. Or actually, maybe I should just ask – they’d probably send me home early.

I would like to take this opportunity to say that my Vice Principal at Kamo Jr. High is the most awesome person ever. One of these days I’m going to trap him into taking a picture with me – but alas, today is not that day. Anyway, he has semi-long (long for a Japanese man) permed hair and is the funniest guy I’ve met here in Japan. He doesn’t speak much English at all, but he’s always busting out the random nouns and phrases – and more than that, he actually *talks* to me on a regular basis (other ALTs realize what a big deal this is). Anyway, yesterday he sent me home an hour and a half early – told me to go out and have fun, drive up to Niigata City and go window-shopping or something. Of course, I just went home and got the oil changed on my car, but it was a really nice thought. ;)

This week is going to be *insane*, btw. I have to say, I’m not entirely looking forward to it. Check out my schedule for my Princeton visit (kind of for my reference):

On arrival – Monica Selinger
Noon – Lunch with graduate students
2:30 p.m. Professor Christina Davis (Intl political economy; Japan)
3:00 p.m. Professor Charles Beitz (Political theory)
3:30 p.m. Professor Gilbert Rozman (Sociology; Northeast Asia)
4:00 p.m. Professor Jennifer Widner (Development; Africa; democratic institutions)
5:30 p.m. Professor Lynn White (Political development; China; Thailand; Philippines)
6:00 p.m. Dinner with Professors White and Davis, and Daniel Kliman

After this I take the train to New York and stay with a grad student couple in Manhattan before flying out of LaGuardia the next morning. And then at Cornell:

12:30 p.m. Arrival
1:30 p.m. Lunch with Geoff Wallace and Steve Nelson
2:30 p.m. Professor Nic van de Walle (Comparative; political economy; Africa)
3:00 p.m. Professor Sherry Martin (Comparative; Japan; electoral politics; gender)
3:30 p.m. Jennifer Erickson
4:00 p.m. Professor Valerie Bunce (Comparative/IR; Eastern Europe/former USSR)
4:30 p.m. Professor Richard Bensel (American: political development/economy)
5:00 p.m. Professor Rob Wiener (Comparative; electoral politics; Japan)
6:30 p.m. Dinner with Katharine Boyle
???? p.m. Bowling with graduate students

And then I pass out and fly straight to San Francisco the next day. Wow. Berkeley is on Spring Break, so I don’t get the whirlwind wine and dine (at least I haven’t heard about it yet). But I’m glad – I think I’ll welcome a chance to relax and talk at leisure with just a few people. I’m meeting T.J. Pempel, one of my academic idols, on Wednesday and then lunching with some grad students on Thursday.

Anyway, wish me luck – I hope I survive!