14 Hours Ahead or Behind

Not sure why jet lag this time around seems particularly brutal.  Not so much the disrupted cycles of sleep, moreso the waves of fatigue that happen at any time.

I arrived in Japan a couple of days ago for eight full days.  Tokyo, Kyoto, Tokyo.

The city–Tokyo–seems to be gaunt and celebratory, Christmas lights and decorations up, from big trees to snowmen wearing stovepipe hats.  Trees still bearing leaves and the light crystallized so that things are in stark relief and then vanishing.

Subways crowded, as usual, but delightfully silent and postures showing sleep or recognition of private pleasure barely concealed.

SEO is a wonderful yakitori place beneath Tokyo Station.  Maruzen has a great branch of its Ginza bookstore on the north side of the station that I hadn’t known about until yesterday.  But English language translated books by Japanese authors cost between $20-30, which complicated selection.  Dinner at a vegetarian place near University of Tokyo with a friend who teaches Agriculture there, and is retiring soon.  Late night snacks with another friend in the warrens of big office buildings in Marunouchi.

Morning today in Ginza, assuming no missiles are launched, then a train to Kyoto.


It’s a few days until another Thanksgiving, and then a few weeks until Christmas, and then before you know it, it’s 2018.  You don’t need me to tell you that, I think you’ve got a handle on these things, and I mention it in passing just to get it down, just to get my head clear, perhaps, and it’s as if you are listening in.

The past month, I’ve had a flurry of publications about Seoul, Switzerland, and Japan, places I’ve been, a couple quite often.  Next week, I return to Tokyo and Kyoto for nine days of work, meetings, and what-not.

Speaking of Japan, I finished my book inspired by the boy left in the mountains near Hakodate on Hokkaido.  Now it’s with an agent, and my thoughts and prayers, who could be the person who could rep it, will rep it, and then find a home.  The style of the book owes a debt to Hideo Yokoyama, whose, “Six Four,” is a wonderful and strange novel about a police investigation as well as family and work in Japan.

And as long as we are mentioning family, this week a welcome inundation begins, and we’ll have ma pa tofu with shiitake mushrooms on Monday night, Red Snapper on Tuesday night, fondue made with Rolf Beeler cheeses on Wednesday night, and on Thursday, there’s this:

Curried lentil soup, two dry rubbed 12 pound turkeys from Pennsylvania with lots of butter under the skin, chestnut and cornbread stuffing (maybe one with Chinese sausages), Robuchon whipped potatoes, cranberry sauces, some greens with sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds. 450 for 20 minutes, then 250 for about three hours. Good Austrian reds.

And pies, lots of pies.