As I mentioned yesterday, I might as well start writing about myself on here. Probably a better idea to do that than blog about tonight’s abysmal England match. I don’t particularly want to think about that right now, so let’s all decide not to mention it, yes? I trust that I won’t hear a single mention of it over the weekend. Good. Today I planned to renew my passport, but after looking through cupboards and drawers all morning, I couldn’t find my old one. It expired many months ago and I thought I put it in a safe place, but clearly have hidden it in a location so secure that I might never find it again. I’ll have a more thorough look over the weekend, but if I can’t find it I’ll have to fill in another form and get countersignatures and all sorts of other things I don’t particularly want to do. Despite this setback, I still had my passport photo taken and have just booked a hotel, because I’m finally going to have a holiday this year…
It’s been a really long time since I’ve been on holiday. The last time I went abroad that wasn’t a business trip was when I took my dad to watch a World Cup game in Germany (probably a broad definition of “I took”, I won the tickets and he paid for the hotel and the travel.. so.. yeah, he took me). That was 2006, exactly four years ago and it was only a weekend. The last time I’ve been away for anything more than a couple of days was a year before, when I spent a couple of weeks with my ex visiting her family (we’re still close, it’s all good, might write about it all one day… maybe…) in Manila. Since then, the only sort of breaks I’ve had have been for music festivals, so now I’ve decided that it’s time I that I finally get away for a bit.
I spent a few weeks pondering where to go, and it only ever really felt like there were too choices. I was keen to go back to the Philippines and see my old friends there, who I haven’t seen in such a long time. It’d be nice to visit some familiar places again and reaquaint myself with a country I lived in for 2 years, but after thinking about it for a while and talking to friends, I realised that the place was full of so many happy memories which I might not be ready to revisit quite yet. The time will come when I am able to go there without being overcome by the difference between my life then and now, but I’ve not reached it yet.
The other place I was thinking of was Japan. I’ve had an interest in Japanese culture for many years. The movies, the videogames, the anime, everything from the traditional to the futuristic. Akira Kurosawa, Shigeru Miyamoto, Hayao Miyazaki, Hideo Nataka, Takeshi Kitano, Katsuhiro Otomo and Takashi Miike are all names that have made some sort of an impact on my life. Japan is a place that I really need to visit. So, this September I will be visiting Tokyo for a week. I can’t wait!
Obviously, I want to head for all the tourist spots like Shibuya and also have a look at the older parts of the city. I definitely want to visit Akihabara, the geek capital of the universe, it’d be nice to maybe have a look around the nearby countryside or mountainous areas, and I’d love to see a local band or two play. Also, I really want to go to the Studio Ghibli museum, which looks lovely. Aside from that, I’m looking forward to lots of surprises. Wonderfully, an friend of mine I used to work with has offered to show me around the city, so I’ll be in safe hands and won’t get completely lost.
One problem will be that I’m a very fussy eater, so I don’t think I’ll be sampling the local cuisine. Go ahead and mock, food lovers, I know that most of you will be thinking that I’m crazy and the chance to try some delicious authentic Japanese food is not to be missed but, seriously, I’m terrible when it comes to this sort of thing. My complete lack of culinary adventure seems to be the greatest of my many shortcomings but I am, at least, aware of it. I’m hoping to make this clear to my hosts beforehand, so that I can head straight for the nearest Western food without much causing too much offence. It’s not good of me, but in the end it’s probably better for everyone if I make my excuses and go to McDonalds instead of retching when I attempt to eat whatever spicy/savoury/fishy treat is put before me.
One other potential issue. I should probably confess that I think that Japanese girls are, generally speaking, the most stunningly, jaw-droppingly beautiful in the world. You might think that means I’m in for a great time and that it might even have something to do with my choice of destination, but it honestly doesn’t. I feel awkward and flustered enough when I see one pretty girl, so to be surrounded by them all the time will only make me reach entirely new frontiers of social ineptness and stupidity, later followed by a now-familiar maudlin gloom. So, no, probably not a good thing. I shall attempt to ignore all that and focus on the other wonderful sights the city has to offer instead.
Anyway, I think that my week in Japan in late September will be an incredible experience. Really looking forward to it. Hotel sorted, flight nearly sorted, passport… well, passport photo sorted. It’s all coming together and I’m very excited.