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.


Christopher Lam said...

Hi Vivian,

I just happened across your blog just now while reading up about properties in South Korea, which led me to your post way back on Korean showers.

While I haven't read through many of your old posts, I just wanted to say you are a great writer and that it's been beautiful to see the photos of your baby. It sounds like living abroad for the past 7 years has been a incredible experience and I wish you great success and happiness. Please write more.


Vivian said...


Thank you! Comments like yours make me want to write more. Very kind! Glad you randomly stumbled upon my blog- those Korean showers are quite something... haha.


vvv said...

Reading from the tiny island of Jamaica. To echo Chris, you are a great writer and I always enjoy your posts about your life in Japan. I found this one especially poignant. Keep writing and all the best!

Vivian said...

Thank you so much... it means a lot to read this. Day made!!! All the best to you in beautiful Jamaica!

よの字 said...

Interesting and insightful post. Looking back at the town where you used to spent his younger days, wouldn't everyone feel the same? Boredom/pain and nostalgia at the same time?

Rachael Brennan said...

Vivian, I think your blog is actually the first real blog I started reading, and have kept reading for the past 5 years.

I often reminisce about my first years in Japan (in Tochigi, 10 years ago) and it feels like yesterday. So many amazing memories. I feel like this second stint in Japan (Okinawa, with my partner and son in tow), has been completely different, and a lot harder.

I hope you keep writing your blog, even if it's only occasionally, as I love reading it.

Enjoy your Golden week! I
ll be spending mine starting to pack up our stuff for our move back to Australia..... with hopefully some beach thrown in.

Sami said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sami said...

Vivian さん、


I have kind of read your entire blog last year, through every spare moment I had.
It kept me riveted - A big hug & thank you for writing it.

Most of my blog was personal too & I am currently working on updating it with some corrections (grammar & photographs) ~ as I was writing it on the go, in trains etc ..
It needed s little bit of overhauling!

I have been in Osaka Since 2009 & wish I knew you in 2011, somehow I hate the stuff you went through 'moping' alone in Osaka .... GW .

I was living near the university in a shared apartment & my house was always full of people ... but I have had my fair share of days spent taking random photos of 'stuff'..
in the past few years ..

Parts of your blog resonated & I actually asked another friend & fellow blogger based in Tokyo to go through it ...

Do Keep writing, whenever you can ...

Have a Nice Evening,
I am kind of wrapping up my work-life & pondering what next ...

Take Care!!

Shannon said...

What a lovely post with a beautiful ending. I can relate to your looking back memories via my time in rural Korea. I don't know you in real life, but I miss you. I am so glad you are doing so well. Love, S.

Vivian said...

Indeed, i think it's normal to have mixed feelings... bittersweet!

Vivian said...

Thank you Rachael, I didn't realize you're moving back so soon!! I hope you're enjoying the beach this week and getting ready for the move. I agree that with marriage and kids, it is a different experience - time just moves so much faster and well, it's a different life! All the best for your move xxxxxx

Vivian said...

Thank you, Sami! Wish I had met you back in 2011!! I still have some "boredom" days, but these days I appreciate them a lot more! Thanks for reading my entire blog...!!

Vivian said...

Thank you Shannon, and thank you always for your comments !! I wish I had met you in Korea! <3<3<3

philly said...

Thank heaven! I've been checking in periodically for months and always felt a twinge of regret to see "Seven" there month after month. Now you're back. Awesome.

Odd how we often don't understand how formative those periods of stasis and "boredom" in our lives are. You write so evocatively and poetically about your experiences. I can fly along with you on your bicycle--hearing, seeing and smelling everything through your words.

JoellaJ said...

So happy to see this post (sorry I missed it until now)! I love it, especially the last paragraph. It would be great if you blogged more again but of course, as you know, I completely relate and understand why you don't. Anyway, hurrah for this lovely post.:)

Anonymous said...

It's great to see you posted! Your first few years in Japan has always sounded like my time there--free, sometimes listless, and I enjoyed reminiscing through your posts. I definitely look back on those years fondly--I think they're something you appreciate more as your get older and have more responsibilities. I wouldn't go back to that time per se, but I'm grateful I could have it.

Edmon Dpogi said...

i love Seoul! can't wait to get back to this wonderful place!

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