I’m currently reading Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami, and concurrently reading A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.
I started reading HW&EW on the plane to Japan. I figured that it would be somewhat appropriate to read a novel by a Japanese author while I was there, and I’d been meaning to read more of Murakami’s works anyway.
A couple of weeks ago (and a couple of weeks since getting back from Japan), I was out in the City to get a haircut. Subsequently having a bit of time to kill before dinner, I decided to retreat to the library. Out of curiosity, and just because that’s what I do, I browsed the “recent returns”. At the time, I was somewhere in the middle of HW&EW, so I wasn’t really looking for something to borrow out and read, but when I picked up ATTB, and read a few pages, I just couldn’t put it down.
It’s been a busy week-end, so just a quick post today. This one’s another more general post, similar to what I wrote about the trains. Also realised (after I posted that) that I forgot to mention how I used hyperdia.com a lot to find train times, but also to figure out which platform we were supposed to be on to get wherever we were going. (I remember being in Hiroshima, and being unsure which train line would get us to Miyajima Guchi, so I just searched which platform we had to be on, and we took whatever train was there. It worked out well.)
It was actually really useful because you can refine the search to exclude non-JR lines (since we were using JR passes mostly). You can search all the bullet trains (shinkansen) on their too.
But, anyway, what I really wanted to write about was the “pocket wifi” that we utilised for the duration of our trip. It’s a little device that allows you (and up to nine other people) to have wifi internet anywhere you go. And thank goodness for that because, as I learnt on that first night, Tokyo (and the rest of Japan) is massive and intricate, and I don’t have the best sense of direction. I actually left most of the navigating responsibilities to KF.
Just as I was lucky to have a friend who’s living in Tokyo (temporarily while completing studies), I was also lucky to have a friend who’s living in Sapporo (temporarily, to teach). Yeah, Japan’s a pretty popular destination for Aussies (for all sorts of things – not just holidays).
My friend in Sapporo kindly took KF and I out for dinner the first night we were there. And on a cold winter’s day, what better to have than soup curry? This is where we went: Continue reading
Hmm ok, so it’s been about four weeks since I got back from holiday, and it seems like I still haven’t made a very significant dent in the documentation of the trip. I mean, I haven’t even gotten up to the most important part of the story.
But, don’t worry, we’ll get there. Can’t rush these things. Well, I guess you could, but I don’t want to.
Today I thought I’d take a break from plain narrative, and write about some of the practical aspects of the trip because they were important too. (“Densha” is the Japanese word for “train” – specifically those that run on electricity.)
Our first full day in Japan was probably also our most packed/hectic day. But that’s good in a way because we managed to fit a lot in. I have to say a big thank-you to my friend MC and his friend DK, who showed us around. Surely with our usual leisurely pace, and my self-professed propensity for getting distracted/lost, we might not have made it to half the places we did that day.
No, this is nothing to do with magic cure-alls, silver bullets or even preventative lifestyle advice. And it’s certainly not an article I wrote, but one I chanced upon.
One morning, a few weeks ago, I went into the staff tea room for my ten-minute morning tea break, and found a print-out copy of this article on the table: When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes (by David Epstein & Propublica, published by The Atlantic on February 22, 2017). I was intrigued, and started reading.