Tag Archives: travel

Japan – First Blush

For the first time in my life, I am a morning person. 

To be clear, I don’t think this will last, but waking up and being cheerful an hour before Will is a very odd experience. It was nice to watch the day break in our neighborhood and start cataloguing all of the differences between here and the other places I have lived. I watched the fog burn off of the mountains (which are much closer than I thought) behind our building. The range arches around behind us and around the train station (only a block away) so that we can see both ends of it from our two balconies. 

This may be a function of the neighborhood we live in, but I was very surprised by how much space we have and how far apart the buildings are here. Our apartment has three extra rooms we’re not entirely sure what to do with yet other than stuffing friends and family inside when they visit. I also spent an hour rearranging things in the main room (living room/ dinning room/ office) because Will has many skills, but furniture layout is not one of them. Also, the trees, grass, and bushes are all very expertly manicured around here which is very different from the forests surrounding the airport in Tokyo. From the air, Japan doesn’t look drastically different from any other place that I’ve flown to (except that NOWHERE is as green as the UK), but as we got closer to the ground I noticed just how full the forests looked. The trees seem to grow right on top of each other. I plan on doing some hiking of the mountains behind us, so I’ll find out just how real of a thing that is. 

The buildings in the neighborhood look like they’ve been thrown together with very little thought to the general aesthetic, which I really, really like. There are no standard buildings, each one is a different design (there are few – countable on my hand- repeats) and different color. It gives the area a personality that I’ve never seen anywhere else. The streets are wide, and oddly empty. I’ve got a wide balcony next to my desk that allows me to look easily at the street. I only see a few people every couple of minutes, and there didn’t appear to be any sort of morning rush. 

That’s all I’ve really had time to discover, but a representative from Panasonic is coming to meet us in a few hours and I’m sure I’ll learn and see more then. I can’t promise pictures (If I do, I’ll be sure to not do them) but I can promise to try and remember. 

Going The Distance

I feel like I’ve been going about 100mph for the last month and a half. This certainly isn’t a complaint, as I’ve been having an absolutely wonderful time going places and seeing people, but I’m very glad to be in the middle of a recovering week in Chicago. 

I love traveling and I always have. I think there is a little bit of personal magic in traveling. Yes, I know how corny that sounds. You get to learn more about yourself when you travel. How much of you is you and how much is your situation or your location? And of course, this things that are dear to you become immediately apparent. For instance, it isn’t my computer that I need, but more the ability to easily communicate with my friends around the world, and the ability to create. Of course, those things pretty much require a computer, but details and all…

I’ll admit that while traveling is awesome, being away from Will isn’t all that great. We haven’t spent this much time apart since before we were dating and it sucks. The major difference in the time zones wasn’t something we could really have prepared for. Our daily schedules have very little overlap, and we’re only awake at the same time for about nine hours. It’s more like having a long distance co-worker than anything else. 

I’m also missing New York, which I wasn’t expecting at all. Going back to the city brought great relief even though not having an apartment of my own was weird. Not having a home base is weird, in general. I had gotten used to the pace of the city even if I wasn’t going as fast as everyone around me. Now every place I go – except conventions – seems a little slow. Everything and everyone is so much closer, there. I used to hate being packed so closely, but now I feel lonely when I’m in the big empty house that I’m staying in. And how could you not love the convenience? Having three Duane Reades on our street was pretty nice. Especially since one looked sorta like a gutted, gold cathedral. 

I’m not nearly as prepared as I should be for living in Japan. I’ve been studying one of the read and point books that the wife of another liaison lent me, but until recently that had been it. Then the other night the friends I’m staying with brought me to get sushi. 

Previously I hadn’t been a fan of sushi. Until Wednesday, I had only ever had spectacularly bad rolls. I got quite the education on different types of sushi and how the different fish taste that I think will be enormously helpful for day to day life. I enjoyed most of what was ordered, but did actually have issues with the huge proportions which seemed to be specific to the place we were at.  The texture of raw fish doesn’t actually bother me, but too much of anything is a bad thing. 

In five days, I’ll be off to London for the week. Meetings with friends about Loncon and doing a bit of obligatory sight-seeing. If you’d like to live somewhat vicariously, email me about things that you’d like me to go check out. I’ve started a list of things to do, but more ideas will I think, make things better. 

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I’m back in NYC for a few days before I head back on the road and I feel very odd about being here. 

I’m staying with my in-laws, and while I love spending time with them, it’s very odd to not be heading back to my old place after dinner with them. It’s not like I haven’t stayed at their place before while living in NYC, but for this to be my home base…it’s just a little off. 

I’ve been having late second thoughts about all my traveling. It’s so much fun, but it’s so damn exhausting. I’m running pretty ragged after my fabulous weekend in Chicago and I’m wondering/worrying if I should try and keep this schedule up, but if I don’t what will I do with my time? Keeping busy and moving around helps me avoid the fact that Will is living on a continent that I’ve never even been to. If I stop, I will find a squishy bed to hole up in and not get out of it until Will gets back. This is pathetic. I know it is. But it’s also the truth. 

Jesus, it’s a good thing that I left the half case of Thin Mints in Chicago. 

Stutter

I am always a little bit in awe of my friend, John.

He is a writer, and he manages to post to his blog every single day. There are exceptions to this when he is traveling and taking a break from the internet, but for the most part, I get a notification every day from WordPress in my inbox letting me know that he has some thoughts that he’s dropped on the internet.

I know that this is something that John has spent years doing, and that because he is a writer it is something that he should be doing to hone his craft, but I always feel like a bit of a failure when I can’t string enough words together to make a post about where I’ve been and where I’m going. It’s not that I don’t want to share, I post all the time on FB and Twitter, but I always feel that I have an obligation to put something better together for WordPress. Deeper thoughts. Things that will contribute to the conversation of society. When I am stuck in this cycle of self-doubt, I of course never manage to remember that one of the things that John is famous for is taping bacon to his cat and taking pictures of it.

It’s easy to waste words on social media. Why is a blog so sacred? I’m sure the lack of privacy is a part of it. I could lock down certain posts, but then why bother to type them? Why not keep them in the bound journal that I keep with me. It’s not like I have nothing to write about, either. I’m on the second leg of my two and a half month long bounce around the country.

I think one of the most frustrating parts of this struggle is that I don’t know where this goal comes from. I have no desire to be a writer, though I have occasionally daydreamed about winning a Hugo. There is no story that I feel the need to tell, just guilt when another day passes without a post. Writing helps keeps the mind sharp, but so does reading and being creative in other ways and it’s not like I’m skipping out on that.

I will say, that writing here helps me explore my thoughts, and that is always a good thing. I very rarely start with something specific to say, just a nebulous thought that I want to hammer out and writing seems like the best way to do that when Will isn’t around to talk to. Writing this post has helped me trace some of these feelings to my desire to be good at everything, so I’ll always be needed and always have a place. The fear of being useless or forgotten manifests in odd ways.

But my fingers are getting tired* and there is a consuite full of friends waiting for me. I think chatting with them will help much more with my fears than sitting alone in a semi-dark hotel room wondering what the internet will think of my word choice.

*Another reason I could never be a writer, my hands cramp up waaaaay to quickly for me to have a word count of any substance to hit.

Leaving on Jet Plane

Will left for Japan this morning. At 8:30am (EST) his car showed up, his driver helped him drop his giant suitcases in the back, and off he went.

I admit, I was a little worried about how sad I would or would not be after he left. Will and I have played the long distance game before and it sucked. And of course, no newlywed wants to split up only a few months in. Thankfully, I’ve got an intense travel schedule that will keep me on my toes and allow me to see almost everyone that I want to see before I start my adventure in Japan. I’m also really grateful that I’ll have the two flights home to use. Convergence and Detcon will allow me to see pretty me to see two-thirds of the people that I’ll be missing the most, and then Worldcon will allow me to see the rest. Smofcon at the end of the year will give me the highest concentration of friends that I’ll be missing, so all in all not a bad year planned out.

I’m digging deeper and deeper into research about the area we’ll be living in and creating a long list of things to see and document in one way or the other. I’m exciting about planning a climb up Mt. Fugi. I didn’t think that climbing a mountain would be in my plans during college, but I’m happy to add it and actually get the chance to cross it off of my To Do list. To be fair, living in a foreign country wasn’t on that list, either. I’m tremendously excited about this entire opportunity.

It’s a grey day in NYC today. It’s hard to believe that I only have seven days left in this magnificent city. I’ve got a short trip to North Carolina this weekend and then I’ll be packed and ready to go. If Will’s firm wasn’t paying for movers and packers, I don’t know what I’d do. Well, whatever it would be, there would be a lot less of it. I’m going to hit as many museums this week as humanly possible. Scratch that, enjoyably possible. I always hated running ragged during trips as a kid. Wen I visit somewhere, I want to enjoy the place. Not make myself miserable trying to pack every little bit in.

One of my fellow interns from the summer is crashing with me this week, and I have no doubt that she’s helping me keep the blues away. Julie is always full of life, and I’ll be staying with her for a while in Chicago in February.

And now, back to bed for some reading. This is probably my last lazy Sunday in months, and I’m going to enjoy it.

New York, New York.

I had a fabulous time in Toronto. Utterly fabulous. The conversations were breathtaking. You could suggest that I’m exaggerating, but I’d have to disagree. The level of conversation that I experienced this weekend was nothing short of amazing. 

That being said, I am really glad to be back in New York. 

I may not be crazy about loving here, but I missed Will a lot and one of my favorite travel experiences is flying up Manhattan and seeing the blinking amber jewels on the field of black velvet. It’s nice that it’s one of the things I get when coming home. 

I got my new passport this morning after managing to interrupt some film that was shooting outside of the Passport Office and it seems that the travel karma was on my side as my new picture is actually a really good one! I’ll post a picture tomorrow after I pick it up. Now I want to sleep for a week, but since the movers are coming by Friday to discuss things…that’s just not going to work. 

It hit my like a ton of bricks last night just how big this move to Japan is. That these two weeks are all I have left with Will before we go off on Christmas Vacation and then he is gone. Four months by himself on another continent.  It’s frustrating that we’re right back to being long distance. I know that we can deal with it. We’ve done it before, and there are countless other couples out there dealing with the same situations or worse, but that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. And it’s interesting that it feels like we have such little time left when we used to only have weekends together. 

My brain is too frazzled to write about anything more substantial after all the travel fun, so I think I’ll grab a book and watch the snow fall.