I have just finished making a rather detailed plan of my next annual three-week trip to Japan in one month and a half during our winter vacation. Planning a trip is no less pleasurable than making a trip itself! Since I started living in Israel and lost my Japanese citizenship, I have come to care less and less about various sociocultural issues in Japan that used to bother me when I still lived there. Instead, I can now enjoy what Japan has to offer to tourists from abroad, and much at that. I had to leave the country and lose its citizenship to start appreciating it, but on the other hand, I am glad that I live in Israel, though I am bothered by more and more sociocultural issues here. Anyway, this trip will be a good opportunity to refresh myself away from a rather monotonous life and reappreciate Israel afterwards.
The official purpose of the trip is to give three lectures in Kyoto and Tokyo. These three invited lectures will also give me a chance to hopefully meet some of those old colleagues of mine I have not seen since I left Japan six years ago. I am also happy that I will be able to share with them some of the academic outputs which Israel, especially Bar-Ilan University, has helped me to make; I may not have been able to make them in Japan.
Other things I am looking forward to during my forthcoming trip are foods there as I suffer from culinary boredom here. Because of kashrut there are not many things I can eat there, but what few vegetarian, mostly traditional Japanese, foods I can eat there are enough. Israel and the United States, for example, pale in comparison with Japan in terms of the quantity and quality of (reasonably priced) restaurants, especially vegetarian ones, where I can eat outside Israel. I also hope to finally take private lessons in Total Immersion Swimming in Kobe and Tokyo. Actually, I was supposed to take one in Jerusalem, but unfortunately, they canceled it.
Anyway, this planned trip gives me something to wait for in my otherwise monotonous life. But there is one thing I am sorry for about this trip, which is that I have to make it alone again. I wonder if there will come a time when I can make it with my life companion-to-be...