I really did have images of going out and having fun every night.
I really planned to travel outside of Tokyo and see the country every weekend.
That is not what happened.
Don’t get me wrong… I have gone out for dinners, if mostly close to home. I have also been spending a lot of time relaxing at a pleasant spot called Le Connoisseur Cigar Lounge – certainly not a Japanese name, and certainly not a French lounge. But I have been enjoying it nonetheless (as seen in this article https://garvis.ca/2015/10/16/sushi-cigars-welcome-to-japan-mitch/). It turns out that it is a chain of lounges, and I have spent many evenings at the one that is within walking distance of my apartment.
I have also traveled out of Tokyo twice – once by Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Kyoto), and once by car (with a friend) to Mount Fuji. Well, he tells me we were at Mount Fuji… it was a very overcast and rainy day and the mountain was absolutely invisible through the clouds. We made up for it though – we went for a very authentic lunch (on tatami mats on the floor and all) at a local restaurant, we went for a distillery tour at the Kirin Gotemba Distillery, and we spent a couple of hours in the onsen (hot springs) before having an agreeable dinner and then driving back to Tokyo.
But all in all, I am not doing even as much as I did the last time I was here… despite having more money to spend (if I wanted to), more free time (okay… about the same free time), and living a little closer to the action (I am four subway stops from Shibuya).
I am spending most of my evenings in one of two places – at the cigar lounge, or at the apartment. Yes, after the first week in a hotel room slightly smaller than a respectable prison cell, the company found an apartment for me. It may be small to some, but having moved out of the shoe box it feels utterly palatial to me.
I watch TV – that is to say, I download the American TV shows I would normally be watching at home – and I watch movies. I do have work to do in the evenings, as I am still taking care of the network back in Oakville. However if I wanted to there is no reason I couldn’t (if I so desired) be out exploring the city every night. I just don’t seem to want to.
I want to be clear – I am not loving Tokyo less than I used to. It is an amazing city and I love being here. I probably went out more at the beginning of my stay – I went to Shibuya several evenings – but maybe it is the result of my being in a reasonably posh area; there is every sort of restaurant I might want to try (If you are following me on Facebook you will know that I have had Yakiniku, Soba, Tempura, and of course loads and loads of sushi… not to mention a couple of Chinese and a couple of Korean meals just to mix it up a bit. All within a kilometer of my apartment.
I should mention that I am not staying home every night; I have gone out on the week-ends (Halloween was amazing, and I have also gone out with friends to a few different areas). It is just a little less frequently than it could be… than it once was.
Maybe, a little too late, I am becoming the homebody that my ex-wife wished I had become much sooner. Maybe I am just not enjoying being on the road as much as I used to.
I miss my kids… I speak with them on Skype and VoIP often enough, but it is not the same. And of course, my girlfriend is all the way back there too. It is harder to be separated from her for longer periods than it would have been for me a few years ago. Maybe at long last I am growing up. Maybe I am finally… Naaah!
I have really been enjoying my work, and I am glad to be here for that. My boss and I discussed it earlier, and we agreed that this is the length of time we needed for me to be here for this project. I am enjoying working with my team, and meeting other people on other teams. It has been a blast, and I hope I can continue to work with this company on other projects when this one is over. We’ll see…
Two weeks before I head home, and the trip is far from over. I might still venture out of town one more time, and I have several evenings planned… with friends, colleagues, and even one with a reader who reached out to me. How cool is that? Each of those will be another evening of fun and excitement, hopefully exploring new places and areas and discovering new foods and treasures.
But unlike past trips, I am counting the days… I am so looking forward to getting home, to hugging my kids, playing with my dogs, and of course seeing Stephanie.
Fourteen days to go.