Well, let’s call it 22 hours and counting.
1. Unlike previous years, 2015 offers a very narrow window in which I can take my annual culinary journey to Japan. And so, after much back and forth, Akemi and I finalized the dates and I spent the better part of three hours booking flights online. Akemi from Vancouver to Osaka. My sister from Montreal to Vancouver. Joe from Vancouver to Osaka. Daisy from Montreal to Vancouver. Joe and Akemi from Tokyo to Vancouver. My sister and Daisy from Vancouver to Montreal. A series of maddening one way flights, seat selections, upgrades to premium economy, and in-flight meal purchases. When I was finished, weary but satisfied, I moved on to the hotel bookings…and couldn’t find a room. At any of the local hotels. Further investigation on Akemi’s part revealed the reason: Silver Week.
“Once in a while the stars align and Japan’s holiday laws kick in. The result: a 5 day holiday. This is known as “Silver Week” in Japan. It’s named after Golden Week in April / May. It also has a double meaning: “silver” is a common word in Japanese to describe the older generation (Respect for the Aged day hence brings “Silver Week”).
Silver Week is relatively rare: 2015, 2026, 2032, 2037, 2043, 2049. ”
And so, I’ve had to cancel and push our Japan trip to April of 2016 (To coincide with Akemi’s birthday!) – barring a change in near-future plans.
2. This morning, Akemi and I visited Granville Island, our usual destination for fresh fruit, veggies and seafood (a shout-out to the gang at http://www.seafoodcitygi.com). I was walking along, texting, when a unusually concerned-looking Akemi motioned to me. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught someone a half step behind me. Assuming he wanted to pass, I slowed down and stepped aside. He stopped, right behind me. So I kept walking, and he continued to keep pace. I stopped. He stopped, again less than a half a foot beside me. I moved threw him a look and gave him a once-over: mid-twenties, baseball cap, carrying an enormous backpack and sporting what looked like a do-it-yourself arm cast. As I fell into conversation with Brian, the owner of the Seafood City, someone at the counter asked the weirdo if he wanted to purchase something. Weirdo mumbled something and, grudgingly, wandered off.
I didn’t give it a second thought but Akemi was very disturbed by the incident. There was definitely something off about the guy but I’m not sure what was his game plan. Pickpocket? Maybe, but it was clear I was keeping my eye on him – which didn’t seem to dissuade him. And, with the enormous backpack he was carrying, I very much doubt he could have executed a snatch and run. I almost wanted to surreptitiously follow him around find out what he was up to – but it was clear that Akemi wanted to go home, immediately, so my P.I. gig would have to wait for another time.
3. We paid our weekly visit to White Dwarf Books on 10th Avenue. I go there to peruse the shelves and pick up new titles while Akemi goes to shower the shop’s dog, an easy-going basset hound named Judd, with affection. On this day, however, we arrived to the news that Judd had taken a sudden and very bad turn. He was at his local vet and unlikely to survive the day. Heartbreaking. In addition to our weekly visits with him, Judd stayed with us for a two week period last year and, in that short time, became sort of an honorary pack member.
4. I received a series of very disquieting, downright bizarre emails this morning that…well…concerned me. I’ll leave it at that but suffice it to say: LTS.
5. I’ve still got plenty of today to go.