So, I’m not doing National Novel Writing Month this year, but I have an excuse.
This is the first time in…I dunno, a lot of years that I have not even started NaNo. This was a bit of a tough choice, because I like having a streak, but this was a year I knew I would not have the time to dedicate to word count. Not because there’s Thanksgiving or normal stuff, but for a Legit Reason.
I’m going back to Japan!
This trip was planned in 2019 and reservations were made. Then, as you might recall, there was a worldwide disruption to travel plans. Japan postponed the Olympics and, with the aid of a culture that takes social responsibility very seriously and has routinely masked for even colds for decades, managed the disease pretty tightly. Faced with international footage of mask-burning and anti-vaccine protests, Japan severely limited entrance to the country.
I spent much of the summer of 2022 working on my visa application, appealing on the basis of visiting friends and researching for additional books and educational presentations. Things were looking promising. And then, in October, restrictions were largely lifted and everything was a go.
So I’m off to Japan!
I’m going to meet with friends in Tokyo, travel up to Aizuwakamatsu and then to Kyoto with my friend Erica (traveling at the same time to meet up and travel together), and then — and then, and this is what we planned years ago — my friends Susan, Erica, and I are going to hike the Kumano Kodō, which is an ancient pilgrimage trail across the Kii peninsula.
So watch for pretty pictures and updates, and I’ll be back at the end of the month.