Many people have been asking me about this, so I thought a post might be appropriate: so far my plans to head to Japan at the end of this month for a year of study at Urasenke Gakuen remain unchanged since the Kansai region that includes Kyoto was essentially unaffected by Friday's massive earthquake and tsunamis. Technically I will be acting contrary to a U.S. State Department travel warning, but that warning is awfully broad, and it expires the day after I'll arrive anyway. I'll be flying to KIX via NRT, the current status of which I'm unsure but which I'm confident will have re-opened by the end of this month, barring further major earthquakes and tsunamis in the area.
For those of you thinking of coming to visit while I'm in Japan, here's a rough outline of our academic year and the breaks between them, which would be opportune times to come visit:
I'm excited to announce that I'm planning to apply for a one-year term of study at Midorikai みどり会, the non-Japanese students' division of the (Japanese Ministry of Education accredited) Urasenke Gakuen Professional College of Chado 裏千家学園茶道専門学校 in Kyoto beginning in April 2011. I'm incredibly lucky to be in a position to be able to do this, if I'm accepted. I'd be taking an unpaid leave of absence from my employer, who is to my relief and gratitude supportive of my venture. I've got a couple of leads on trusted people to take care of my two kitties while I'm out of the country, since I'd be staying in a student dormitory (with a 10 p.m. curfew!) which I have no expectation will allow pets. Wish me luck! I'll keep you all updated on my application status.