Japan: A Month to Go

Here’s an update, with just under a month to go until our move to Japan.

1. Flight Booked

An April return fare from London to Tokyo costs around £700. A one-way ticket, however, will set you back £1200. This makes sense to no one, other than the airlines. Guess which ticket we booked?

I'm not looking forward to the flight, though we've been fortunate enough to be assigned bulk-head seats. My daughter was a real handful the last time we flew, though she was much better coming back. We will be better prepared this time, as we know exactly what to bring to keep her distracted: animal stickers, animal stickers, more animal stickers and an iPad full of children's TV programmes. I'm mentally preparing myself for eleven hours of Teletubies and a face full of sticky dogs.

2. Games

I probably shouldn't be thinking about games at the moment, but I am, because I'm broken.

I've moved on from Xenoblade Chronicles X after thirty hours. I had a few issue with it, but for the most part I enjoyed it. I simply reached a point where I no longer had any desire to keep going - I'd had my fill of that world and was ready for something else.

Something else was The Evil Within, a game that I've been meaning to play for well over a year. It's brutal and very Mikami, but it has yet to capture my imagination. I can take it or leave it, and considering how busy I am at the moment, I think I'll opt for the latter.

I'm anticipating spending some time with my portables once my consoles have been shipped or sold. I've got a huge backlog of digital titles on my Vita, and I'm very tempted to pick up XCOM: Enemy Unknown Plus, a game which I missed on the PS3 but I'm sure I'd love. I have Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the go on my 3DS, with Majora's Mask waiting in the wings.

3. The Occasional Panic

I like to think that I'm fairly laid-back, and very rarely get stressed-out. However, I've had a couple of brief panics over the last few weeks, as I continue to worry about my lack of Japanese fluency and my job prospects.

There's no job waiting for me in Japan. It's near impossible to secure a position from outside the country; companies want to see you in the flesh with a valid visa before giving you the time of day. I have some leads, but only time will tell if they amount to anything. I've been perusing job boards and all I see is overly familiar positions that I don't particularly want to go back to; whenever something more interesting comes up it's either gone in a flash or requires Japanese at a level that is currently beyond me. I worry about my ability to attain Japanese fluency, and I hate the thought of not being able to keep up with my daughter's Japanese as she gets older.

Jesus Christ, what am I doing?!!

Fuck it, I'll figure it out. Panic over.

4. My PS4

I'm in a bit of a quandary as to what to do with my PS4. The choices are as follows:

1. The sensible option: Ship my PS4 next week and do without it for two months
2. The impatient option: Keep my PS4, and take it as carry-on luggage instead
3. The upgrade option: Sell my PS4 now and put the funds towards buying a 1TB model in Japan
4. The fool's option: Leave my PS4 with my parents, for future visits, and buy a second PS4 in Japan

Option one makes the most sense, though it's based on the assumption that a UK PS4 will work with Japanese voltage, so long as I swap out the power cord. I'm fairly certain it will – the PS3 certainly did - but I won't know for sure until I try. The biggest drawback is that I won't be able to play Dark Souls 3 or, more importantly, Uncharted 4 when they are released. Patience is not my strong suit!

Option two could work, but the last thing I need is extra carry-on luggage. Long haul flights with children are bad enough already, considering all the paraphernalia you need to keep them happy/alive. I like option three, though it means I'd probably miss DS3's launch and the upgrade will likely cost me an extra £100. However, that might be worth it for the increased HDD space and the chance to be rid of launch hardware, which is sure to fail sooner rather than later. I do wonder if now is a wise time to upgrade with the PS4.5 just around the corner, though who knows how necessary that will be - my guess is not at all. Let's ignore option four.

For now, I'm leaning towards option three.

5. Saying Goodbye

Although it's daunting, I'm really looking forward to this move. I like England, but I won’t particularly miss it as a place to live. What I will miss, however, is family. We have lived close to them the whole time we've been in England and I'm dreading saying our final farewells. Wrenching my daughter from her doting grandparents and uncle will be particularly difficult. She'll soon forget her time spent with them, which makes it easier for her, but all the more heart-breaking for everyone else involved. My family will of course remain an important part of her life, but weekly video calls and yearly visits are a poor substitute for daily interaction.

This is my only regret about our decision to move, which tells me that we are definitely doing the right thing. That won't make it any easier to say goodbye though.


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