It’s difficult to describe my trip to Japan and its affect on me. Still, I needed to capture some of it. So many reactions and thoughts and mostly what I did. I can’t capture it all. The following is an insufficient account of my trip to Japan:

Day 1 and 2 (International Date Line). The plane ride of insanity.
The plane takes off and I wonder if this will be my last flight out of San Diego. I am glad to be taking off during the day. I have a window seat. The city is beautiful.

Everywhere I go now I wonder if it is for the last time. Restaurants. Bars. And the people I see. The people that have been there for so many days the last 4 years. Not just good friends, but the people that make up my life.

The Whole Foods people, the owner of the Smokeshop, the professor in the wheelchair and his boyfriend. The homeless guy with the jacket that is ultra torn. He had a new jacket for a while, but switched back to the old one. The hunchback who I have only seen twice and the kid in the wheelchair that races down 7th avenue once a week while his physical therapist appears to time him. My neighbor and his kids who are so cool they make me less fearful of having my own. Someday. The gorgeous redhead who just moved nearby and I keep running into and the words never come out right. And the people at my local bar and the flowershop guy who waves when I walk by. My neighborhood and my community.

The uncertainty and frustration and exhaustion. I haven’t slept well in days. My friends were right. The plane ride is a welcome break.

I obtain some “Snack Mix.” 9 pretzels. 17 peanuts. 1 USM (unidentified snack mass). While technically a mix, I am very disappointed.

Some time passes. I sleep. I dream. I kick the seat in front of me as I fall in a dream. Dolly Parton is on the headphones. She was in the dream too and the girl with no face and many personalities. I have seen her before in another dream. We were trying to make the angry personality come out. Apparently, one personality had died and we were trying to see if the angry personality had died as well.

The angry personality was still alive. And then I fell…

Memories come back later. A pool. 3 men. A chase. The circle grows big again and once again threatens explosion.

Any concept of time slowly fades away. The windows are shut. You wake. You sleep. You piss. A prison with stewardesses and movies. Although, I am hopeful the food is better in prison.

Welcome to Japan. Welcome to Kobe. A toilet seat heater in the hotel. And a bidet, but I choose to save that adventure for the morning. Instantaneously, I know it is going to be a good trip.

Sanity comes back. I eat. I go to the skybar. They have a piano player and an awesome view. I have a drink and then find sleep once more.

Day 3. A not so interesting enjoyable day.
I wake. I work. A coworker laughs at me for being at the hotel less than 24 hours and already talking with a girl that works at the hotel. She helped me find dinner the previous night I explain. (She gives me her email address when I leave.) I eat French food for lunch. At night, we have shabu shabu. It is awesome.

Day 4. Another not so interesting enjoyable day.
I wake up. I am slightly hungover. Too much sake. Even hungover, my head is clearer.

I thought I was immune to the fever. In a day I have seen more gorgeus japanese women than I have seen in a lifetime.

More work. With the help of coworkers, I find the cause of an issue we are seeing. I make the catch. No credit. Normally, I don’t need my ego stroked. But things are different now.

Freedom from work comes, but jet lag catches up with me. I have dinner and don’t stay out too late.

Day 5. I love Japan now that I finally get to see it.
I wake up at 5. I feel like I am getting a cold. I hate jet lag.

I briefly wonder if a ring of superglue will stop my jeans from fraying. I cut off the bottoms a few days ago.

I go out with my coworker and her daughter. Her daughter went to UC Davis too and majored in Japanese. They are both fun to hang out with. We go see some waterfalls. And then they leave. I am alone now.

I trip. Ankle. Pain. A trip on my trip. Fitting.

An old japanese man dances alone.

I go to Sanomiya. There are bands playing. And a couple of DJs. They roll up with generators and spin. It is awesome. The police shut things down temporarily. I don’t understand what happens. While watching, I teach some kids to say “marijuana” and some other words in english. The DJs start back up again. I leave.

Oh and I eat sushi. The best sushi of my life.

Day 6. A train ride to Tokyo.
My ankle hurts worse in the morning. I’ve hurt it worse before though.

I go to Tokyo on the shinkansen (bullet train). It’s a struggle just to get the ticket. I stay in Shinjuku. The stores and all the neon lights. There are so many people out even though it is Sunday night.

I find a bar to hang out in. I drink with some people from Chicago and Germany. It’s a bar that plays rock music really loud. Not totally my scene, but I have fun. I drink too much. I spend too much.

I see the sun begin to rise. It’s 4:30 in the morning.

Day 7. A mostly wasted day.
I wake up hungover again. My ankle is better, but my knee is killing me. I said,
“Knee meet Door Knob.” Apparently, Door Knob didn’t like Knee though. I go back to sleep.

I get up late. I am short on cash. 3 ATMs. Hungover and frustrated. And finally success.

I decide to go to Harajuku. If it is good enough for Gwen Stefani, it’s good enough for me. It’s 2 stops, but I get lost on the wrong subway line. More frustration. A japanese girl from Michigan helps me find my way.

It’s a day of exaggerated highs and lows. I realize there will be more of those in my future.

Harajuku is cool. I walk to Shibuya from there where I get more sushi. Yum.

Day 8. A slice of heaven.
I decide to make this last day in Tokyo a more hardcore tourist day. I get up at 9:45, because I am not that hardcore.

I go with the intention of seeing the Imperial Palace gardens. At Tokyo station, I see that they are doing a Van Gogh exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art Tokyo.

Van Gogh is pretty much my favorite artist. The exhibit is awesome. A slice of heaven. I have never seen so many people in an exhibit. It’s hard to move. People cluster around paintings. I want to scream, “This is all for me.” Somehow I don’t think they will understand.

I end the day at Meiji shrine.

Day 9. The trip home
I take the train back to Osaka. I probably would’ve done better to take a plane, but I don’t get to ride trains often. I see suburbs, houses, billboards and random waterways. It’s raining and I briefly wonder if the gods are sorry to see me go.

I catch the plane and go back home. There is turbalence on the flight home, but somehow it seems more peaceful.

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