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Dr John Hawkins

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Back in Japan

Posted on 2005/10/23 13:35:00 (October 2005).

[Saturday 22nd October]
Today was my first day "back" in Japan after a month or so "back" in the UK. The use of the term "back" here is clearly going to cause some confusion - I guess it is hard to determine where I am living right now.

I landed in Tokyo around 8 in the morning. My luggage, as it turns out, didn't. No doubt my bag was keen to spend a night in the fun loving, liberal atmosphere of Amsterdam, somewhat oblivious of the difficulties having no clothes or even a toothbrush might cause me.

My company had booked temporary accomodation for me for the first month, so my first task was to get there. On balance this was probably somewhat easier without having to lug around a big, heavy bag. I took one of the "Airport Limousine" buses from Narita to Shijuku, and from there got a train to the little district of Hatagaya. I was somewhat pleased with myself at being able to find the place I was staying at from the address alone. After checking in etc I went out to do a spot of shopping being somewhat peckish.

The rest of the day was something of a jetlagged blur. I slept on and off throughout the afternoon and early evening. When I did get up I had hardly any idea what time it was. I decided not to bother looking at the clock any more - I slept when I felt tired, ate when I felt hungry, and so on.

People often tell me to beat jet lag it is important to try and get into the standard sleep pattern at your destination on the very first day. This is all very well for those irritating people who can sleep on the plane. I certainly can't, which means by the time I arrive in Japan, although it is typically 8 or 9 in the morning, I am totally exhausted and ready to drop off. As far as I am concerned, it is just gone midnight, I've had a long and tiring day, I probably got up early, and the prospect from there on of staying awake another 12+ hours is none too inviting.

I have given up trying to fight this too much. I typically stay awake long enough to get wherever I'm going to in Japan, and then at the first opportunity of a sleep I take it. As a result it usually takes me three or four days before I adjust to the time difference pattern properly - during that period I find myself dozing off in the middle of the day, and unable to get to sleep at night.

This time though, just for fun, I'll be having my first few days in a new job during this jet lag period! I'm not sure what that's going to do for first impressions, me starting off as a borderline narcoleptic with no ability to concentrate. Well, we shall just have to wait and see.

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