Weeknotes: Lagging — Week 41, 2023

  • Finally on holiday! Writing this from the tiny desk in my tiny hotel room.
  • I worked Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday which were quite intense but then went by very quickly. Monday and Wednesday I crammed in a lot of and writing to ensure all the things would keep going.
  • Tuesday was my team's (group tech leadership) first away day since I joined. We met at a vendor office in Shoreditch to retrospect over the year and examine topics including our technology strategy in more depth than we usually can. We don't spend much time together as a team, so on top of the day itself I enjoyed having a natter. We closed with 2 Truths & 1 Lie and I managed to fool the room which, you know, I'm not sure what that says about me but there we go.
  • A perfect storm of the right conditions set me up to enjoy the worst case of jet-lag I've ever had: I barely slept Tuesday and Wednesday night (nerves, and, an early start). Early Finnair flight was lovely and the airport lounge in Helsinki was even lovelier. I drowned my tiredness in Bloody Marys. But then on the flight to Tokyo, I ended up sitting next to a person who had no concept of personal space, staying still or of remaining still when the lights went off. When I landed I was an absolute wreck, but, I smugly made it through the immigration and customs control systems before anyone else on my plane because I'd filled in everything online before taking off.
  • The route took us over the North Pole, and just in case you don't believe me, Finnair gave me a certificate which proves that it happened. Unfortunately I couldn't see the northern lights either through the window or through the plane cams, so instead I watched a few forgettable movies.
  • Getting out of Haneda airport I had a very strong sense of de-ja-vu to the time, roughly 5 years ago, I posted a twitter thread (gosh, remember twitter!?) — I think about that twitter thread a lot and about what went wrong.
  • I managed to make it from the airport, via monorail, to my hotel, and immediately to a dinner - all without needing a map. People talk about navigating Tokyo being confusing but honestly the signage is far better than anywhere else I've ever been - and all you really need to remember is compass directions. Dinner turned out to be actually a Nikkei work drinks with a surprise guest, which then morphed into into karaoke. I somehow withstood the karaoke. There are videos.
  • Saturday I woke up with a surprisingly clear head, at a sensible time, located breakfast - and then started walking vaguely in the direction of my go-to spot in Hibiya Park to absorb some sunlight to minimise the jet-lag. Spent the rest of the day walking around Eastern Tokyo and managed to do about 30km of walking. Wrapped up by walking to Asakusa to meet Luke for dinner and unlimited drinks.
  • Unfortunately all the baseball games I'd love to see are sold out! :(
  • Sunday was when the jet-lag really hit - the 2nd day is always the worst. The morning started with JK, F, S and I panicking on a group-chat as we realised that the Tokyo Half was happening so all the roads were closed - and that it was raining very heavily. We all crawled into a K car and drove to Kawaguchiko's Oishi park to go canoeing. After a scare - which involved me nearly capsizing our boat - we got into a rhythm and somehow even got a certificate saying that we're able to canoe. By the time we were done, the weather really started to clear up - and so we got a fantastic view of Fuji - which was my first time seeing it! (back in 2018 it was always either foggy, cloudy or hazy).
  • There really isn't anything quite like the first sip of a beer, I think 1 order of beer before switching to anything else (highball?) is the optimal way to drink.
  • Pleased to say that, when ordering at various places, my broken Japanese has fooled a few people. Although I was totally stumped and subsequently embarrassed while ordering a coffee. ”ごめん!日本語がしか少し話せます。英語でもう一度言ってお願いします?” , “Would you like your coffee in or to go?”, “Oh, to go please … … … … … … … アリガトウゴザイマ—ス!”
  • Very sparse plans for next week, but I'm aiming not to open this laptop at all, let's see.

Collage of week 41, 2023

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© Alex Wilson 2024