Let me just start off by saying that Japan was amazing. Words can’t describe it and pictures don’t do it justice, but I’m still going to try over the next few days to impart a little of the magic via this blog. I flew back on Wednesday night and had the worst case of jetlag on Thursday that I’ve ever had in my entire life. Considering I had no jetlag when I came back from Russia, it was not expected. Work was hellish, to put it mildly. Friday was a little better, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I really got over the worst. Of course, being me, I couldn’t just take it easy. I gave myself one day off from exercise and Russian (and only because I was too physically and mentally exhausted on Thursday to contemplate doing anything other than surviving the day), but then I got right back on schedule. I also went through my pictures…all 1290 of them…. I picked out my favorite 200 or so for a scrapbook and spent a few hours yesterday putting it all together (what can I say, I got in a mood). Now today I’m ready to start regaling you all with the tales of my travels.
But first, I want to comment on one little phenomenon – the inevitable shock that occurs when people find out that yes, I did in fact travel on my own, all on my own (as in, not with a tour group), and no, I don’t really speak that much Japanese but yes, I went anyway, and no, I wasn’t worried. I’ve had so many people at work tell me that they’re jealous, that I’m so brave, that they could never do it, how did I survive?, wasn’t I scared?, etc. I never quite know how to respond, because, for me, it’s totally not a big deal. For one thing, I don’t go to dangerous places. While I would love to go to Egypt, it’s not on my list right now because that would be stupid. For another, I prepare. I take a travel guidebook (I love Eyewitness Travel) and a phrasebook, I get my foreign currency, and I do a lot of internet planning ahead of time, especially with regards to logistics. I have faith in myself that I’m not going to starve. When all else fails, pantomiming usually works, and there’s always the option of just walking into the local grocery store and buying some ready-to-eat food. Sure, some vendors might be foreigner-phobic, but the vast majority care more about my money then the color of my skin or shape of my eyes. Maybe it’s because I’m more independent than normal, maybe it’s because I just have more practice travelling alone, or maybe I’m simply foolish, but fear doesn’t really come into the equation. Sure, I might find myself in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable situation, but I’ll figure a way out of it -what is life but a big, continuous improvisation act anyway? Assuming you haven’t done something criminal, everything works out in the end.
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s get down to the fun stuff, starting with Tokyo, Day 1 🙂