I'm leaving for Japan in less than a week, and badly badly want the adventure to be a whole-body-and-mind-and-soul reset. Something has to give. I need the culture jolt to yank me out of the fog of world affairs and US politics I have been in for months. I'm self-medicating with news, anxious, and relieved when some excitement pokes through the haze.
This place called "Japan" played a role in my family life when I was five or six or so, and is one basis for this trip. In the early 1960s, Dad was doing business in Tokyo and traveling there with some regularity: enough for my mother to put her foot down eventually, given that I was the oldest of four by age six. Her hands were more than full, and Dad would be away for two or three weeks at a time (as my five-year-old self remembers it). (My nonstop flight to Japan is 14 hours; in the early 1960s those hours only got you to Paris or so.)
So a mound of bandanas, First Aid items, hiking clothes, and spare glasses is growing on my dresser: real evidence of a surreal moment.