This time last year I flew to Japan

A year ago today I flew out to Japan. Each year I try to get at least 2.5 weeks in mid-March to enjoy hanami there, along with Wild Rover (the paddy punk festival) and other assorted events.

Last year, of course, was different. I was booked to fly out on March 14, but on March 11 the devastating earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear meltdown took place. 

Already booked to spend a few days in transit in Seoul, I ended up staying 6 days. Not sure whether to believe the hysterical warnings of the aust government and western media, I stayed longer, keenly watching for news on NHK and planning what to do next. Still unsure after that time, I decided to fly into Osaka, where I spent 5 days. Learning from friends who stayed in Tokyo that bar some transport limitations it was functioning fine, I finally flew there (being one of about 3 white faces at Haneda airport).

Here’s my blog account from last March about the Japan earthquake & my crumbling travel plans.

I had a fantastic time, albeit with bittersweet emotion, and despite a slightly more sombre mood in the streets of Tokyo. And, of course, I supported Japan’s economy with my fashion shopping and eating out/drinking out.  Seeing friends who remained there (& a couple newly arrived) brought joy. 

 

 Attending the first goth events after the tragedy, the Post Tsunami Tokyo Decadance and Midnight Mess (pics above), allowed me to catch up and let loose with loved ones and new friends.

Whilst the Wild Rover festival got rescheduled to June, I got to see the Cherry Cokes again (one of my fave paddy punk bands). I even got street papped in Harajuku (pic left), which was a great buzz.

For more of my adventures & pics from last year, see March and April 2011.

Now in 2012,  Japan is busily repairing and rebuilding, and once again the cherry blossoms are, well, blossoming. Fashion Week is happening (unlike last year’s cancellation, just when I finally got invites).

I would so love to be there again now, but sadly it is not to be. Even my November 11 trip seems just a distant memory…but the clothes, and the shoes, I still wear!

So I don’t know when my next Tokyo sojourn will be, what with my India 3 week trip coming up in April, and a few other o/s jaunts in the planning stages. But I raise a glass of umeshu to the amazing country that Japan is, and to my amazing time there last March.

“KAMPAI!!!”

Japan trip in doubt; choices & plans

Everyone knows by now of the great tragedy in Japan, with first the earthquake, then the tsunami, then the nuclear reactor problems, the aftershocks, and now the prediction that there’s a 70% chance another big  quake will hit any day now.

I can’t really just write about fashion when this is going on.

Also, those who’ve followed the blog or my twitter will know that I am now overseas, and am due to fly into Tokyo this Thursday. This now looks to be in doubt.

On the one hand it would be incredibly foolhardy to fly into a danger zone, especially as so many people are scrambling to get out. Yes, not only are flights unavailable or rescheduled; train services to the airports have been disrupted/cancelled too. What if the worst happened, and Tokyo was badly hit, and I THEN tried to leave?

On the other hand, what if it DOESN’T happen, and Tokyo resumes to normal, notwithstanding the HUGE amount of work to be done in the hard hit prefectures? What if Japan Fashion Week goes ahead, and the various gigs I wanted to see, and clubs like Tokyo Decadance (already put off by one week) and Midnight Mess? What if the power outages cease and public transport goes back to normal, and trucks resume shipping food to shops, and stores resume normal opening hours?    EDIT: we now know that Japan Fashion Week has been cancelled, and certain other things postponed.

There’s no way of telling right now; that’s the thing.

I am in Seoul, Korea, from where I fly home again on March 30th according to my ticket. As currently booked, I have a flight into Handea on the 17th, and a flight back to Seoul on the 30th with a 7 hour stopover (I was going to stay at the airport transit hotel during that time)

As it stands, I will stay here for now, and see what Thursday brings. Even so, if no quake has hit, do I go ahead? Or do I resign myself now to missing that flight, and looking into my accommodation options here? Or to flying elsewhere, like Taiwan, checking out what flights go from Incheon?

I may just stay a week here, and if nothing more happens in Tokyo, get myself a flight there to stay for one week only. (Eep, so many clothes I brought to wear to clubs & fashion events, that may just be dead weight in my suitcase now!) My hotel here has said I can stay on – and though my single room is booked from Thurs, I can be upgraded to a bigger room that’s available, for no extra cost. Ah, the joys of travel…sometimes it’s by the seat of your pants.

EDIT: As of March 17th, I am still in Seoul Korea, and have cancelled my flight that was to have taken me to Tokyo today. I am looking into flying into Osaka, to at least get to Japan without going near the danger zones. However, I need to be sure I can get the flight from Osaka back to Seoul for my final flight home on the 30th, and also see if Korean air will allow the substitute flight, or whether I need to pay myself. KA said to call tomorrow. Then more decisions…

Anyway, dear friends, this was a bit of a self-indulgent post perhaps, but one that I needed to commit to” paper” to clear my thoughts a little bit.

Tokyo Dandy has a good page of links for current info on the situation (including NHK) and places to donate.
La Carmina has also been providing good info from the gothic and alternative people in Tokyo – see the La Carmina blog.

I will resume posting properly in the next few days…there are great things to share about Seoul, and the Hongdae area in which I’m staying. I even made it to DGBD and caught a live band last night. And this afternoon I will discover Dongdaemun. Meanwhile, we all await news as to whether yet another large quake has occurred, following the point 4 quake earlier.

Those who pray, pray. Those who don’t, *fingers crossed* and *positive thoughts*.