Saturday, January 8, 2011

3...2...1...Liftoff! Japan Here We Come!

Well today we can sort of rest easy. We just confirmed tickets for our next (eighth) trip to Japan coming up in a few months. This will be a big trip. T-chan's brother H-kun will be getting married... and we're off to Tokyo (and of course Sapporo) for the big occasion. Actually, to be honest, this is earlier than we had planned to return to Japan, but... weddings pretty well take precedence over everything. It's funny that whilst the world in many ways is shrinking at an unimaginable rate (electronically at least), the reality is that it's still not as easy as we'd like to travel from Adelaide to Japan. Nowadays however we can do most of the bookings entirely on-line (except stopovers). On our last trip (which I haven't blogged about yet on my other blog), we did a stop-over in Tokyo, this time we're doing a completely separate booking (so I will be meeting T-chan/L-kun and her parents somewhere in Tokyo)... hmmm... this is embarrassing to say, but it will be my first time travelling anywhere inside Japan by myself - except to and from from Sapporo! 

So... what does that have to do with rockets? Well, I have to say that this trip feels a bit like a rocket journey... into the unknown.  And it's also very last minute. Even though we've known about the wedding date for at least 3 months, we've just been distracted by so much going on - not to mention Christmas and New Years... Anyhow - we've got the hard part done (getting into country). Now we just need to organise what happens when the rocket lands!

And this time, it's lead by our courageous captain, L-kun, who has been telling us over the last few weeks (but increasingly) that he wants to go to obaachan and ojiichan's house (Japanese grandma and grandpa's) to play in the snow - and go to Disneyland at the same time. I'm not sure he really understands what months means... When I showed him where we lived, and where Sapporo was on GoogleEarth, he knew that we'd need to get on the plane to go there... but that we could do that anytime. If only life was as simple as jumping on a rubber bubble to launch us across the world.

As an aside - rockets are one of his favourite games at the moment (thanks to Santa), and whilst we've recently re-located launches to the nearby park (a few too many rockets landing on our neighbours roof) it's still a source of great enjoyment for L-kun. It's a simple enough process.... even a 3yo can understand. Generate a rapid pressure imbalance in the tube that connects to the foam rocket... pressure gradient overrides friction... and gravity... and it soars into space (well... perhaps not quite space... but high enough to land on our neighbours two storey house). In other words, jump on the bubble, rocket takes off! The beauty of a child's world is just how direct and obvious it is.

This rocket was definitely one of the great Christmas presents Santa has brought. Cheap, fun, and NO batteries required! It even has some educational value (with some explanation from a handy parent).

By the way - the back yard's looking a little chaotic as we've been trying (with some success) to repair the lawn from many years of drought...This year has been far from typical of the summers of late. We've had quite a bit of rain, and it's generally been very cool (except for the very occasional high 30/low 40 degree celsius day... note: 40 degrees Celsius = 104 degrees Farenheit). Having those sorts of temperatures plays havoc with most plants... and people too.

Speaking of temperatures and snow... here's a look out the window of T-chan's family home earlier today (from their webcam)... and yes, that's ojiichan out the front shoveling snow. And that's a fair bit of snow to be shoveling. In Hokkaido they have a word for snow-storms that come through and dump this sort of snow... fubuki... and it's been fubukiing snowing over the last few days persistently. Fubuki! Under those conditions, you have to shovel the driveways repeatedly to avoid them getting buried... and that's even with under-driveway heating which is not unusual in Sapporo.

 I feel sorry that our trips haven't been in winter for too many years now as I would always be out there helping. It just goes to show you that whilst snow is great fun, when you get a lot of it, it can be a right-royal pain in the.... ahhhh sooo, that's a very good reason to get L-kun muscled up ready for January holidays over to Japan to help out. Now to work on some upper-body strength to go along with his rocket-powering legs.


  1. Welcome back to Japan, Ben. If you need any help, please let us know.

  2. takes me withs yooouuuuuzzz!!! but then again if it's a few months away maybe we will be in Japan at the same time?

  3. Yeah - not for a couple of months for T-chan, and a month more for myself. Will be there around April... for just short of 3 weeks. Wanted to go longer, but this is actually going to be pretty hectic time for me and this is about all I could muster (timewise).

  4. BTW Kirk... looks like your own plans are well and truly culminating. Must be very exciting times for you. How's your own planning going?

    Ah - to be young, adventurous and seeing Japan for the first time. 2011 will be a great year for you.

  5. my plans are just about on track financially. Now to sort out the necessary visa and time off from work.