It's been four years since my last post, and a lot has happened in that time. Global air travel started to look a lot less safe, Scotland opted to stay part of the UK after a hard-fought independence campaign, and virtually everyone I grew up watching on TV has turned out to be a paedophile.
And I moved back to Japan.
I've thought about getting back into blogging pretty much since I decided to come back three years ago. When I finished the JET Programme I'd been hoping to stay on in some position where I could use Japanese and hopefully avoid the cliched pitfall of becoming an eikaiwa English teacher. After failing to get a job at CLAIR (the organisation that runs the JET Programme) I felt kind of let down by the country and broke off our romance. But we've put that behind us now, changed our Facebook relationship status to "It's complicated" and I've moved back in.
So I've been living in Tokyo for the last three years. I went the working holiday route, which is a convenient option open to most Europeans, in addition to Australians and a few other countries. The British one is for one year, after which you need to either find a company to sponsor you, marry a Japanese national, or else get someone to adopt you. The first option worked for me, and I got a three year working visa through the company that hired me after my arrival.
I quit that job over a month ago. Ostensibly, it was because I wanted to go back to Scotland for my brother's wedding - I was already back for a month at Christmas and didn't have the vacation time. But really I decided that I was getting too close to the dreaded three-oh to be doing a job that, while in no way terrible, was in no way related to anything I have ever wanted to be doing. Except that I got to use Japanese quite a lot.
I'm in Tokyo, then, and the future is uncertain. But as long as I'm here I wanted to share some of my experiences from this, the biggest city in the world. It's funny old place out here, and after six years in Japan I only just feel like I'm beginning to figure it out.
These streets have stories, and I'm putting my ear to the ground to listen to them.
Won't you join me, please?