April 22nd 2011 – the last time I was in Japan. “日本、またね！I’ll be back as soon as I can…”, I wrote. It’s been a long three years, I’ll tell you! Three years of being back in the UK, adjusting to life here again, wondering if I made the right decision to come back… wondering if I’ll ever get to visit Japan again.
Well the wait is almost over! I can say with certainty now that I did make the right decision to come back to the UK, because I’ve found my dream job here – a job which allows me to talk about what I love for a living and to pass my passion on to other people. It’s a job which makes all that geeking out over Japan finally make sense and seem worthwhile, and for the first time in my life I don’t mind Mondays at all. And here’s the best bit – it’s a job which is sending me, finally, back to Japan.
In May I will be going to Japan for a month-long trip which will be half business, half pleasure. The business part will consist of joining a tour, visiting hotels, checking out some key sights, and visiting my company’s local office. The holiday part of my trip will see me finally, finally, going to Tohoku.
As you might guess, I’m ridiculously excited about the whole thing. I’ve been planning endlessly, researching madly (sometimes late into the night), and yes, I have started packing already. I want to squeeze every last drop out of this trip to make it the best it can possibly be both for work and for myself. It will be a very different experience going back to Japan partly as a tourist and partly as a travel consultant, and I can’t wait to see what it’s all like through new eyes. (I know I already look at hotels differently from my last stay at a Travelodge in London!)
I won’t go into the full detail of my itinerary here, but have no doubt there will be lots of reports and photos during and after the trip. Of course, when I’m working my priority will be work, but I’m sure I’ll still find time for the odd Instagram or Tweet.
Briefly, to give you some idea of what’s to come, here’s where I’m going:
- Tokyo (of course!)
- Nagano (plus hopefully a trip to Yudanaka to see some snowless snow monkeys!)
- Matsumoto (Black Crow Castle!)
- Takayama (preserved oldy-worldyness!)
- Kamikochi (beautiful hiking!)
- Nagoya (home!)
- Kyoto (going to the geisha dances!)
- Hakone (ooh – Mount Fuji!)
- Yamagata (Tohoku Rokkonsai (東北六魂祭)!!!)
- Naruko Onsen (home of kokeshi dolls!)
- Hiraizumi (World Heritage!)
- Tono (monsters and stuff!)
- Kamaishi (random… but there’s a big Buddha and a festival!)
- Sendai (plus Matsushima!)
- Toyama (to see a friend!)
I’ll be staying at 18 hotels and one friend’s house in 30 nights, and visiting lots of other hotels. Because the trip is half for work my accommodation is really varied. I’ll be sampling everything from the most basic of business hotels, to Japanese ryokans, a temple, 5-star luxury, and my first glimpse at what a ’boutique’ hotel is!
I honestly couldn’t be more excited! 😀
So, watch this space! My usual weekly posts will continue for the next two weeks and then I’ll be taking a break from them as I bring you snippets of my adventures. As always, thanks for reading, and do leave your thoughts and comments below! よろしくおねがいします！(*^_^)v