Saturday, April 29, 2017

Golden Week 2017

Here we go again.

I have so many drafts for this post, I wrote, wrote, wrote, but it never felt quite right. I feel like I owe a reason for my absence on this blog, but I still cannot pinpoint what it is. I miss writing this blog so much, but like I said before, writing has now become my life, and I often feel uninspired to pour down my thoughts on this personal space. The blogging world has changed a lot, too, but my blog hasn't changed, I still see it as my diary.

Sometimes I reminisce and I think of something fun I would like to share. Just today I was walking and realizing it is now the start of the annual Golden Week holiday, a string of more-or-less consecutive national holidays and pretty much the only time Japanese people get to travel. The first year I was in Japan, living in Shikoku, Golden Week (2010) felt like a huge deal. I had an actual week off, and I decided to travel to Tokyo for a few days, and just meet up with friends there, shop and have fun. It felt so special and exciting, I crammed myself in a tiny hotel room in Shinjuku with two friends who were visiting from Montreal, and got to experience life in Tokyo for the first time- little did I know it would become home. I also remember getting on the night bus to Osaka, something I just cannot imagine ever doing again. But back then, it was an adventure, just me and my headphones (embarrassed to admit I was listening to Stereophonics, The Music and Kings of Leon), and a 6am arrival in Osaka's Shinsaibashi and killing time at a McDonald's before pursuing the party life for a few more days and stocking up on new clothes. Who is this person? I feel like it was ages ago- I guess it was.

The next year I was living in Osaka, and that Golden Week was dark times. It was shortly after the big earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and I was still debating whether to stay or go, not really knowing why I was staying, as I hated my job and did not know anyone in Osaka. Osaka is a city I never truly enjoyed, even though it's filled with treasures, and looking back I'm very nostalgic about it. That Golden Week was perhaps the worst, as I spent an entire week moping around my apartment, taking selfies and watching depressing movies. I just did not have any friends in Osaka at the time (but a few weeks later I met Nick and Bridget and my life suddenly got better), and even though I'd venture out and try to participate in events and activities, I just never felt like I fit in. But all that time spent alone was great, I figured things out and realized I wanted to write for a living, and that Osaka was not the place to do so. I also walked from Umeda to my house several times, something I would just not do nowadays.

Fast forward to now. All those other Golden Weeks between then and now have been the most uneventful. I always worked and stayed in Tokyo, which is not a bad thing during that crowded holiday. I love to work and I know I can always take a holiday later (even though I rarely do but this is about to change soon...). Baby is now going to daycare, which has been wonderful, both for him and for myself. He's having a lot more fun playing with other babies and learning some new skills, as he's getting bigger (and cuter and more mischievous). It allows me to take on more work, so I have a few projects going on in addition to my regular work at the broadcaster.

Tonight I just felt like writing and reminiscing. Back in 2010, after that eventful Tokyo + Osaka Golden Week whirlwind trip, I remember coming back to Marugame station with my dear friend Isabel and solemnly declaring, "this town smells of rice fields and boredom". And indeed, was it ever boring, but on nights like tonight, I'd give anything to ride my bike again across those Shikoku rice fields, with only the frogs as a soundtrack and the moon as a light, smell those memories again and appreciate that moment- because amazing things would be coming my way, but I just did not know it yet.