Despite my tummy’s strong disapproval of last night’s excesses, I shall soon be heading north for a [supposedly] relaxing week-end in the land of plentiful, cheap, yummy Indian food (been craving a real tikka massala for months now).

See ya on the other side.

Palm trees Traveling by train is a nice perk of European trips. Not the trains in themselves, least of all the companies that run them, but being able to hop from from one city’s downtown to the next, read a book, sleep, enjoy the landscape… all that on a budget blissfully unaffected by US imperators’ occasional fantasies of Persian campaigns and ensuing kerosene price variations…

France’s very own TGV, strikes non-withstanding, will take you from the center of Paris, to within sight of the Spanish border, in less than 5 hours.

Following advice from my therapist at the Internet Rehab Center, I opted for the old-school, not-so-high-speed, version of railroad travels, and crawled my way down the bucolic French countryside in about twice that time. Before departure, it took 20 minutes to the announcer, merely to recite the full list of stops along the way: a poem in its own right.

Do you know how hard it is to get rid of a fridge in Tokyo without either parting with half your bank account or breaking a dozen local laws? Hard. Very hard.

But it’s all behind now, the move is over, all that’s left is a few days to enjoy Tokyo and say bye to all friends before heading for Europe, by way of Hong-Kong (Thursday to Saturday, if anybody’s around and wants to meet for a beer).

So anyway, tonight, I, with a few friends, will be busy getting drunk on cheap sangria and reminiscing the wacky hijinx of the gaijin life in Japan, all the while spinning a few records and, who knows, shaking some nails to it…
It’s all taking place between 8 and 12, at Cozmo’s Café in Shibuya. About 2 minutes from the station, near the Post Office. Here is the map

So whether we’ve met in the past or even if you’ve never got a chance to spot me in the flesh during my stay in Tokyo, do come and say hi! I’ll be the one either drinking my 20th Gin&Tonic under a table or haphazardly spinning a few records at the turntables…

Alright boys and girls,

In ten minutes I’ll be heading out for Narita with twice the limit in luggage, and the hugest smile I can summon to convince the employee to let me board without supplement (not an option, seeing how it would probably cost the price of a full ticket). Especially hard to smile when you have more grams of caffeine floating in your body than hours of sleep over the past two weeks, but if I can manage to freeze my muscles in the appropriate position, the twitching may complete the illusion.

Although I hear they have internet access in even the most remote Parisian neighbourhoods nowadays, you likely won’t hear from me until next Thursday, if then.

But I promise that, once the bitter taste of defeat and humiliation of having my ignorant ass handed over to me by my professors, subsides, I will be back and regaling you with the wondrous adventures of my final three months in Nipponland.

To keep you busy until then, here is what I have to offer:

Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Dr. Dave, But Were Afraid to Ask…

I am sure all of you, my faithful readers, have many unanswered questions pertaining to the author of this site, sitting somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind while you read these lines…

How old is dr. Dave? What is dr. Dave’s favourite colour? Why the fuck does he keep writing “favour” and “colour”, yet spell it: “organize” ? How many billions sit on dr. Dave’s Cayman Islands bank account? What crème de jour does he use to keep this youthful looks about him, no matter what time of the day? Is he for real? Is he really that full of himself or is this just an elaborate act? What’s the answer to the ultimate question to life, the universe and everything? Mac or PC? Shaved or natural? Boxer or tighty-whities? Heroine or Cocaine? etc. etc.

Crucial existential questions indeed…

Well, wait no more: ask ahead, and in ten days, when I come back, I will personally post my reply to each and every question asked through the comment section or sent through the contact form.

Time for some transparence around here.

Against all odd, I’m done packing and still have 30 minutes to go catch the Narita express.

I could just go now and insure that I am actually early to catch a plane once in my life, but why bother.

Actually, when taking a flight out of peak-season, it’s always a better strategy to show up fashionably late for check-in. This may sound like dubious advice, coming from the guy who missed a few planes in recent years, but on the other hand, I have also boarded hundreds of flights without hassles. Check-in employees are way less stressed once the rush is over, it’s easy to make small talk and get whatever you want, whether it’s a potential upgrade, or just a seat on an empty row (there’s always one or two fully empty rows on off-peak flights, and getting them at the end of check-in means you stand good chance they’ll remain so).

So instead, I’m running a last-minute assessment of current situation, before moving on for the month.

  • Neighbourhood cats seem a bit worried to lose both their main source for food distribution and access to the dry shelter of my room, which I understand can suck, especially when monsoon season is geared to start in a week or two. They have been following the packing process closely and, as I speak, there’s a fair chance I might be about to smuggle unwittingly some of Tokyo’s finest stray cat on the European continent. I guess it’ll be the surprise on arrival.
  • Herb garden is going through another rough phase: while the cat problem has been successfully dealt with, my once flamboyant arugula is suddenly showing signs of decay. Simultaneously, I couldn’t help but notice that caterpillars in the vicinity seemed particularly healthy and well fed. If the situation hasn’t somehow stabilized by the time of my return, I am afraid we will have to consider chemical warfare. Napalm or agent orange are the two top options at the moment.
  • Underwears are packed. I had a strange dream last night that essentially involved forgetting to pack my undies. My subconscious really has fucked-up priorities. The socks supply dearly needs replenishing (single socks have been disappearing at an alarming rate lately: I suspect the cats. Wouldn’t put it past these thieving bastards). Good thing, you don’t have to remove your freaking shoes to eat in a restaurant where I’m heading.
  • Passports are packed in separate places, and color-coded, which will avoid repeating embarrassing mistakes and having to spend unnecessary time with an immigration officer convinced he has caught Al Qaida’s number 4.

Ok, see you on the other side!

Picture luggage.jpg Now I ask you: are your luggage hand-delivered at home for free, every time you fly on your favorite airline?

Ha. Suckers.

Some people are quick to bash Aeroflot for the most insignificant details (you know, like when two drunk flight attendants start beating up a passenger…), but they always fail to point out the positive.

For example, how many companies are so truly dedicated to the well-being of their long-distance flights passengers that they insure all luggage are directly dispatched at home by qualified airport personnel, free of charge.