Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Typhoon Missed

I'm home in Arizona and I made it on time, as scheduled in spite of the typhoon that was heading toward Tokyo. For two days we tracked it and all predictions had it arriving just off shore from the airport at about the time of my flight. It was raining hard but we got away and I heard later that the typhoon arrived about two hours after takeoff.

My friends in Japan all emailed or Skyped me to see if I had made it out okay. They had said to come back to town if the flight was cancelled rather than stay at Narita but luckily I didn't have to worry about doing that.

From there it was just sitting in an airplane. I had saved the third book of, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, trilogy for the flight home and put a pretty good dent in it. My seat mate was a bit chatty so I was in some minor discussions a few times during the flight.

I found a new negative aspect of the whole Ebook reader scenario; you have to turn them off during takeoff and landing. Not the case for a real book.

For some reason I really suffered from jet-lag this trip. The first two days I was tired but nothing too crazy but the third days around mid afternoon I had to take a nap. I slept for four hours and woke up with complete body ache. I had difficulty moving and ibuprofen didn't help at all. I went to bed at 11:00 still hurting and when I woke up at 3:00 I could feel that the pain was starting to wane. By 6:00 I was fine but I'm still dragging it a bit today.

Before I left for Japan I had blogged about some of my concerns during the planning process. It turns out I took the right amount of stuff. My toothpaste tube was pretty much empty, my ibuprofen supply was good and my stomach pills were down to the last tray.

The amount of clothing I took worked out fine for the three months as well. I only bought one shirt while I was there because I didn't want to go to La Rochelle in a golf shirt for their special Chef's dinner. Two of my shirts started to bother me while I was there; the button holes had enlarged so I couldn't close up the neck.

My slacks got to be a bit large since I lost quite a bit of weight while I was gone so my belt was causing ripples in the material along the waste line. When I saw how many souvenirs and gifts I had to pack for the trip home I realized I needed room in my single suitcase so I threw out all of my cloths the last day I was in Mitaka to make room. My friend from La Rochelle told me he and his girlfriend put clothes they don't particularly care about away to take on their next trip and then they throw them out to make room for the same purpose. I'm going to start doing that on future trips.

I was also worried before I left about what would happen to my lawn while I was gone. It was looking really plush and green at the beginning of August. My girlfriend had said she wasn't likely to take care of it very well so I was concerned. It turns out I never thought about what was happening to the lawn at all and my girlfriend hired a landscaper while I was away so the lawn looked fantastic when we pulled up in front of the house from the airport.

The temperature has been in the high 80's (low 30s Celsius) and this type of grass needs heat. I would have cut back on the water by now but my girlfriend didn't so the grass is green and thick. Of course that just means I have to cut it and usually by this time I've let it go brown and don't have to do anything with it.

My first meal back in Arizona was chili beans made with some fairly hot roasted red chili from New Mexico. It was good and certainly a flavor I hadn't enjoyed for three months. The next day I cooked. It was nice to have multiple burners and counter space. I made lasagna with my homemade meat sauce. I felt like comfort food and rich tomato flavor so I went for one of my favorites. I had my kids over for late lunch and the football game so they could eat and then leave to hand out Halloween candy at their homes.

I'm scared of putting on the weight I lost now that I won't be eating the Japanese diet I enjoyed for three months. Without regard for that concern I tried to get some French fries at the airport in Seattle. I was a little confused about the time when I went to a restaurant in the airport and ordered a beer while I looked over the menu. When I ordered a BLT and fries the bartender said they were only serving breakfast and I realized I was drinking beer at 10:00 in the morning.

I still haven't had any fries and I'm being careful not to get back into my sandwich habit. Instead I'm trying to keep up with eating fruit like I did in Japan. I haven't eaten chips and salsa either but I know that's not going to last. How can you live in Arizona and not eat chips and salsa?

Three months in Japan was a good amount of time to stay. It definitely gave me a feel for what it would be like to live there. I could easily have stayed longer and adapted more deeply into Japanese society. I plan to go back in May or July next year depending on some developments that could have me staying for six months next time.

So this is it for the Zonajin blog as far as Japan 2010 goes. I will definitely start it up once more when I travel again. I may make a trip to Belize to live for a month or two. Belize is another country that I've grown interested in and one that is a possible retirement site. The other thing I may want to do is go back to my home city in Canada to live for one or two months. My objective is to live in Japan one day but I want to compare the life in the other countries that I am attached to see if I miss being in Japan.

On the writing front I am making good progress on the final edit of my next novel. I plan to put up an excerpt and an image of the cover in the next day or two. If you're interested keep checking at my publisher's website at www.pensmithbooks.com. The new book should be released in January of 2011. Book three will be out a few months after that.

If you would like to receive emails letting you know about the progress of the books then please go to the "Books" page at my publisher's website and leave me you contact information. I won't use your email address for any other purpose but to keep you posted on my books or when the Zonajin blog may start up again.

Thanks for reading along. I enjoyed writing about my trip. The writing for the blog greased the skids for my creative writing so it was a very worthwhile activity. Your feedback is welcome and don't forget to leave your contact information if you are interested in updates.

P.S. Tomorrow I have my reunion with my barber so everything is going to be back to normal soon.

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