Boy oh boy, that was FUN! Going to Japan was definitely one of the best vacations I've ever taken... it's such an overwhelming experience that I hesitate to say anything specific, because once I start I won't be able to stop, and I really do need to sleep soon. For now I'll confine myself to saying that, as I'd hoped, it covered just about all the axes: parts were exciting and others relaxing; I spent time gawking at high-tech Tokyo and ancient Nara, Kyoto and Kamakura; the culture was frequently exotic but unflaggingly polite. It truly feels like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'm glad I had the chance to go.
I did keep a journal while I was there, in the hopes of generating something I could easily convert into insightful and intriguing blog posts. Flipping through it now I see that much of it is inane, more irrelevant, sizable chunks are incomprehensible, and the remainder inadequate. So it makes an entertaining memento, but probably nothing I'll want to inflict on others. I will, however, be subjecting some of you to my photos. I just finished copying them off my camera - I took in the neighborhood of 1400 pictures and videos, which I have helpfully subdivided into about 80 albums. Next comes the fun period of weeding out the (numerous!) bad shots and captioning when appropriate. However, this is mainly for my own benefit; after the whole set is done, I think I'll pull together a more manageable collection of a couple dozen of the most interesting pictures. So even if you see stuff popping up on Timmy's House of Incandescent Sprinkles, you might not want to dive into it yet, lest you perish of boredom.
Ah... it IS good to be back. There's a lot I'll miss about Japan (their amazing emphasis on customer service springs immediately to mind), but there's no place like home. Feels good to be sitting on my comfy chair in front of the old PC again. And let me tell you, the burrito I just ate tasted wonderful.