You know what I love about Japan?
Somehow, no matter which city I’m in or how many times I’ve been there, I always find myself thinking the same thing: “Man, this place is just so awesome, it would be fantastic to get a little apartment and try living here for a year or so.”
I thought it once about Kyoto, many years ago, and as circumstances had it that’s where I ended up. And even though there’ll always be days when I feel like getting the hell out of here, nine out of ten times when I leave my apartment to ride my bike somewhere – anywhere – I look around and just marvel at my surroundings. The politeness, the perfect cleanliness, the futuristic technology, and the ancient tradition. During a clear sunny afternoon jogging by the river I often find myself thinking “I really gotta stop staying out so late at night so I can wake up earlier, explore the old temples and shrines, and get back to taking photos – like I used to do when I was a student.” But then after a day of programming indoors I pop my head outside and catch a glimpse of downtown’s bustling streets – live musicians playing for the crowds of smiling, stylish young partiers, all getting ready for a night on the town. There’s just no WAY I can go home and hop in bed with all this going on around me!
What brought this on all of a sudden?
This Monday I headed down to Osaka to research tickets to Korea and apply for a Chinese tourist visa. But after a nearly two-hour commute to Awaza Station, I learned that the embassy was in fact closed – for an entire week. Gee, thanks for mentioning that when emailing me your business hours! 😡 My mood was shot. I was pissed. But since I’d already made the trip, I took a short stroll to nearby Shinsaibashi and Americamura, two of Osaka’s most happening areas. Despite having partied in Shinsaibashi dozens of times, I’d never just leisurely explored during an average weekday afternoon.
Walking through those Tokyo-like streets gave me chills like I got the very first time I stepped out of Shibuya station. There’s just something about it. It’s almost magical.
But I had to get some work done, so I found – you guessed it – the nearest Starbuck’s. After jotting down a few thoughts that led to this blog post, I setup camp for as many hours as I could concentrate. Then I popped outside again for a snack – which shall it be, okonomiyaki? Donburi? Yakisoba? Nah, today I feel like Ramen. And back inside for some more work. Until the sun started to set and my phone started to buzz.
When I got to the door of the Chinese Consulate that morning I thought my day had been wasted. But by the time I made it back home to Kyoto more than 24 hours later, I’d caught up with Matt in his nearby apartment, less than two minutes’ walk from Dotombori Bridge. I’d shared some Pad Thai and beers with Akira and Em, an Osaka socialite and Hong Kong model. And I’d partied the night away with the Filipina Hostesses for B’s 25th birthday party. All on a Monday evening.
I love Kansai.
…Technology, on the other hand, I hate (not really) 😉
Remember how I mentioned in this post that one of the issues which slowed down my transition to Japan was a Hard Drive failure? Well, having diagnosed the problem as a bad controller board (rather than the drive itself) I figured it would be quicker and easier to just repair it myself than to ship it all the way back to Western Digital’s nearest service center in Singapore for a warranty-replacement.
It turned into a full 3-day ordeal. Because I stupidly FORGOT that I’d placed a hardware password on the drive, preventing it from spinning up when connected externally. The problem is that the drive doesn’t TELL you it’s not spinning up because of a password – it just doesn’t spin up!
Sometimes technology bites 😛
Kitti, a friend and former co-worker, managed to get me an extra ticket to the industry-only days at the this year’s Tokyo Game Show. Sweet!! Although I’ve been essentially detached from gaming and the game industry for some time now, I’ve been trying to make it to TGS ever since the first time I came to Japan, but one thing or another always seemed to get in the way.
NOT THIS TIME.
Tokyo, here I come 😀