Without a Paddle

   My mom has a saying, nay a proverb, she has told us since we were little. "I guess you're up shit's creek without a paddle." This has always been among her many favorites if we get ourselves into a bad situation we should learn a lesson from.

You have to love my mother's blatant lack of censorship.

   If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, you may know that I will be going to Japan soon. In fact as of writing this I will be leaving in 4 days.

   One of the most common questions I am asked is, "What will you be doing there?" I have learned to answer with "Vacation," but that's not really their question. That question is more adequately expressed as, "What are your plans while you are in Japan?" which is also something I have been asked frequently.

   Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for me, I actually have no answer for that. Allow me to explain.

   My goal for Japan was to go with as little planning as possible. There are, of course, things I wish to see, places I wish to go, foods I wish to sample, but no real concrete plan. The most planning I have done for this trip is where I will be sleeping. Actually, that should be titled more as, "where I will get internet," because I can live without sleep, I can't live without internet. I do have a list of different things that seem interesting to see and experience but I never once have thought of it as a travel plan.

   The worst sort of vacation, to me, is one that is planned out. I could never pay a tour guide, or go with a tour group, or travel with a class to a place I want to see. Perhaps for the day or something, but a whole trip like that? Being told when to get up, when to return, when to be at tourist destination B? No thank you, I will pass. I know there are many people out there who, for one reason or another, need and enjoy a structured itinerary. If that is you, that is great, nothing against how you vacation. It is your trip, spend it how you want. I am not, however, at all comfortable with that.

  To shed more light on why I have no real plans, I must say that I am not really all that interested in tourist attractions. I will see some of course, but that is not my main drive for going to any place. In fact I am more interested in the little things. I am more interested in the way people, locals, live on a daily basis. Where do they shop, where do they eat, what do they do when they are bored, on a date, after work, poor, rich, young, old...? I am interested in people and cultures far more than what draws the tourists. In fact I'd love to go watch a movie at a Japanese cinema and explore a supermarket. "But Alex, that's a waste of time you could do that in the U.S.!" To me it is exactly how I wish to spend my time. Even if I am disappointed, I will cherish that time spent more than any tourist spot. Again, I will go to tourist spots, I am going to Tokyo after all, but if I didn't go to one tourist attraction in the month I am in Japan I would be perfectly happy.

   That isn't to say that I will be sitting in a room every day watching paint dry though. I will be filling my time with as much as I can see, just maybe not the things most people travel to Japan to see.

   So then back to my mother's absolutely wonderful proverb. Will this lack of planning leave me up shit's creek without a paddle? My grasp of the language is quite limited, I have not planned anything on my trip, and I know one Japanese person who lives 2 hours from Tokyo. Not planning my trip leaves me guessing at my budget and many other things.

But ask me if I care. Go on... ask.

Absolutely not.

   In fact that makes it all the more fun. If there is one thing that I want you to understand from this post it is that...

Even if I am up shit's creek without a paddle, at least I can look forward to an adventure.

From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank anyone who reads my blog. If you are interested in photography, Japan, travel, food, cultures, or my beautiful face, I will be trying to post once a day starting June 9th about my travels to Japan! Moreover, I will be posting videos so that may be a bit more interesting than reading my walls of text. (I like writing though.) As always, I need your help to spread my blog! Please share this with anyone who likes blogs or any of the things I talk about on it! I really could use your help and I thank you for your support.