The flights are booked, the hotel rooms are reserved and the money's been ordered. I'm going back to Nihon, baby!
Perhaps not as excited as I was the first time, but that's to be expected. I'm doing the west, so I'm flying in to Osaka again, then doing Matsue then Hiroshima and then ending in Kyoto. I'm going to do Kyoto properly this time, since I spent most of last time walking in the countryside around it rather than inside it.
I'm keen to see Osaka again, and I chose Matsue because I've never heard of it: it's not even on street view on Google Maps. But a famous Irishman lived there, and there's a nice art gallery and castle nearby. And I also want to see the sea this time round and Matsue seems fairly close to some remote coastline. My big regret about Matsue is that I found a hotel with an all-you-can-drink bar, but it's so far from the city that it really isn't practical.
I'm still weighing up my options about what to see in Hiroshima. The Peace Park is an obvious choice, but I'm struggling for other options. I'm not bothered, though. I'm sure there's something to do in a city of over a million people. I'll find out when I get there.
Since I'm not going to Tokyo, picking up cheap second-hand DVD box sets may be more difficult, but I'll still be looking. There's a DVD of two unreleased episodes of Lost Time Life that I'm keen on getting. Oh, and I'll also be looking for a Kansai-ben/Japanese dictionary. This is important if I want to do subtitles for shows set in Osaka or Kyoto.
Mostly, though, I'll be enjoying the feeling of being somewhere else. I plan on doing some sketching, and a lot more sitting down than last time. I go on the 17th for two weeks. Mmmm, I can't wait.