Wild and Wonderful Japan
The biggest theme of Japan was jet lag. It was a constant battle to avoid napping during the day and then staying asleep during the night. Fortunately, I’m lucky enough to travel with a doctor who provided me with a decent sleeping pill every night.
Japan is magical to me. It feels so strange and foreign, yet it is incredibly safe and clean. The people are always friendly and helpful. I didn’t have much free time, but when I did, I wandered. We stay in a fairly industrial city but at the train station, there is a huge mall with loads of restaurants and shops. I would walk up and down aisles after aisle taking it all in and trying not to buy every single dish, mug and treat that I saw.
While this race is fun, it also is one of the most intense and work-demanding races of the year. On Saturday and Sunday, I literally had a minute-by-minute schedule to adhere to (with interviews starting at 6:45am). This included needing to round up over half a dozen people at all times and organizing a much larger team all day long. I’d saw it was managed chaos. But all the prep work from the previous weeks really paid off and everything flowed seamlessly. And I really felt like we capitalized on our short time in Japan to get out as many stories as possible.
I tried to keep as healthy of habits as I could, including daily walks and yoga, but I also enjoyed as much of the food as I could and probably one too many sakes. I do think I’m coming home a kilo or two heavier than I went….how is that possible when you focus on raw fish (and tried to be aware of my rice intake)?!
Closing out the trip, I decided to take the bullet train to Tokyo on Monday morning before my flight. The race organizes a bus for everyone to get to the Narita Airport, but it takes nearly 2.5 hours. I figured it was worth taking a 50-minute train and exploring with that extra time. In my head, I always worry this might be my last time going somewhere or doing something, so I always want to maximize my adventuring. I ate some tasty food and found gifts to take back. It actually ended up being more stressful than I would have liked. I didn’t feel like I had enough time, I felt a bit lost and turned around and I was worried I’d miss my flight, but in the end, I’m glad I did it. Adventure big.
Now I’m heading back to Belgium for four days. On Saturday, I fly right back to Asia, so the jet lag theme is going to continue for awhile. This time to Beijing.