I’m back in Korea.
I should have left my camera at home: Fukuoka was rainy and grey, and though being there was pleasant, I didn’t feel like shooting any pictures, so the camera was just unnecessary weight.
Will never again travel with my big huge brown briefcase: it’s just too heavy. One other annoyance was that my netbook was useful for writing, but not for getting online. With the exception of my (landline, not wifi) hotel room, I couldn’t get online anywhere in town. Granted, when I got home I discovered that the wifi capacity on my iPod touch had died somewhere along the way and had needed to be reset: maybe there was free wifi here or there in Fukuoka, I’m not sure. But none of the Starbucks I stopped aty (for orange juice, or chai, since coffee’s now a bad idea) had wifi, when I asked.
Writing-wise, I was relatively productive: I finished off one story (“Moe Yuki” — expat gender horror set in Japan) and got most of another done (“Neither Ynga Nor Kho”, secondary-world fantasy colonial uprising, sort of, though that’s a working title and I need a better one). I’ll be turning next to a collaboration I’m working on with someone, and to “A Killing in Burma.” I’m also likely in the next week or so to get the Japanese romanizations for a few words for another geomancy-based story that’s (except for those romanizations) ready to go. But I have a few invited submissions I need to get done, so now I’m carefully considering what to write for whom, when and where: summer is a big focal point for deadlines, and I want to be well ahead of the curve.
Still, I’m producing between 1500-2000 words a day without having to throw the whole day into it (more like an hour or less) so I’m pretty happy with how I’ll likely be able to balance that this semester. I’ll need to, if my exercise regimen and the time involved in preparing the kind of food I ought to be eating will be available to me.
Being in Japan really was a very nice break. I was bumped into a grand total of one time, by a young lady behind me in line at a bookstore, and she very decorously apologized. Nobody shoved his or her way past me, I didn’t hear anyone hocking up phleghm even once, and the streets were utterly clean. I’m sure there are lunacies in Japan that would drive me nuts too, but they weren’t completely apparent to me during this (very short) trip, while many of the little things in Korea that put me off were conspicuously absent.
It was strange: even in the Incheon airport, I was trying to see it as a newcomer sees the place, and was impressed: certainly immigration proceedings were more efficient. While I stood in line for 40 minutes while one attendant served a huge line of foreigners in Japan (and three attendants served about ten Japanese passport holders, argh!), it took me all of ten minutes to get through immigration and customs and out of the airport. But it only took for me another ten minutes to get onto my airport bus and run into some people who were raised to have absolutely no manners to strangers, and had me wishing I’d stayed in Fukuoka just one more day… except the yen is so strong, and the won so weak, that I didn’t dare.
Managed to get a couple of CDs I’ve been search after for ages (Living in the Crest of a Wave by Bill Evans–the saxophonist–and Albert Ayler’s awful-wonderful New Grass, as well as a School Food Punishment CD. The Tower Records in Tenjin absolutely kills the HMV in Canal City. Absolutely. I tried to tell the HMV kids that I’d worked at HMV in Canada when I was young. They didn’t understand, until they got it and laughed uproariously. I also, elsewhere, got some nice presents for people here like the office girls who’ve put up with my calls for help, a few things for Lime, some onsen powder for friends here who asked for some, and so on.
Question: what is it with the Japanese and their hair? I saw the most, er, egregious hairstyles ever while I was there. Actually, I saw those last time, too, when I traveled there for a month, but this time it was really apparent. I don’t get why otherwise good-looking people (of both sexes) would do such awful, unflattering things to their hair.
By the way, James, ACROS building was all locked up, maybe because it was rainy when I got there? I did go by the canal, and I did have ramen, but I have to confess, it wasn’t like the ramen in Sapporo. That was a revelation. Canal City was okay, really just a shopping mall but creatively designed and clean and quaint–again, something I see relatively little of these days, so it was a good wander.
Right, time to get the day on: my meds should have kicked in and I need to get to the hospital to get some kind of appointment, as well as to get a prescription for next week, whether it’s these meds or some other.