Sunday, April 17, 2011

This Week's Bucket List Additions 13

I usually post new bucket list additions on Friday, so I'm sorry this is two days late.  But I received some unexpectedly great news Friday night and then spent several hours calling all my family and sharing my excitement with them.  The good news? I am officially a shortlist candidate to teach English in Japan through the JET Program!!

-Find and Explore 'Wall Drug'.  Difficulty Rating ??? out of 10
I've recently been issued a challenge via postcard.  (Postcards are now one of my top 3 favorite ways to issue a challenge, along with slap to the face using an empty glove and shouting while holding a fencing sword.)  My friend sent me the postcard below with the following message scrawled on the back: "I thought you two would enjoy the mystery postcard.  Maybe you will find Wall Drug on your travels one day."

I've never heard of Wall Drug and my friend used a marker to black out all the identifying info on the postcard. He left only one sentence: "Wall Drug is the Gateway to the Badlands National Park ...where you learn 'How the West Was Fun!'".  What IS Wall Drug? Where are the Badlands? Why are they called Badlands and how did they make the west fun?  Was it with frogs and puppies?  These are questions I must answer and so my search for Wall Drug begins.

 My adventure already has a great beginning: a hilariously odd postcard with a challenge to find a mysterious location.  To make sure it has a good middle, I've decided to search for Wall Drug the old fashioned way, with no internet help.   I'm sure I could type Wall Drug into Google and read all about it on Wikipedia in a matter of seconds.  But this time the journey is more important that the destination.  I love random adventures and this sounds like a fun one.

-Find a good home for my books.  Difficulty Rating 4 out of 10:
I'm moving to Japan.  I'm gonna say that again because it feels so good.  I AM MOVING TO JAPAN!  As a result I have to condense my personal possessions down to a few boxes.  My wife and I recently bought a Kindle so we can read English books in Japan.  So there's no reason to spend hundreds of dollars shipping big, heavy boxes full of books to Japan.  I've been weening myself off physical books for years now and using the library for all my reading needs. (Did you know that your library will get you any book you want, you just have to ask!? If you want to read some obscure comic book, they'll find one at a library in the middle of Kansas and ship it to New Jersey!)  So I'm giving away the majority of my book collection. Most of these books have brought me great joy and wisdom and I'd like to find a good home for them.  I'm not sure how to do that yet, but I know I'll figure something out.

-Eat dinner served by a ninja.  Difficulty Rating 3 out of 10:
In New York City there is a restaurant know simply as NINJA.  Hidden somewhere in Manhattan, Ninjas use their mastery of the martial arts to create culinary masterpieces.  The restaurant is decorated like an ancient castle, everyone dresses like ninjas and the dishes have swords that must be removed before you can eat them.  THAT is my kind of restaurant.  I've wanted to visit this restaurant for awhile and getting accepted into the JET program sounds like the perfect excuse to celebrate with a meal here, I can't wait.

A Lego ninja hides quietly in a cherry blossom tree, ready to attack
Copyright Jeff Howick 2011

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