No-one is more surprised than me….but first, let me explain.
Japan, to say the least, was an impromptu trip. As of mid-January, I’d been on crutches for almost two and a half months, which had whittled my social life down to the movie nights, dinner parties and booze fests that I could host in my shoebox. Gone were the dinners out, the nights dancing, the days exploring Seoul.
It was lame.
So imagine my reaction when my doctor, for the third time, told me that I’d have to stay crutches on for an additional few weeks.
THE THIRD TIME.
I was ready to assault something, most likely with the crutches themselves.
Instead, I angrily swooped on the computer, looked up the cheapest tickets out of Seoul, and booked a trip to Japan. I may have had to deal with crutches for three months, but the moment I was given the OK to start walking again, I was going on an adventure.*
(Or, at least, a practice run.)
Now, I realise this may not have been the most prudent decision, but I can be pretty stubborn sometimes – especially once I have a travel plan in my head. And I was frustrated and suffering from serious cabin-fever! Even if I only got the go-ahead to start walking a day before my flight, I was determined to go.
Foolish, maybe. Reckless, probably. But as it turns out…
Japan was exactly what I needed. It was close enough that I could get there in the span of a morning, straight-forward enough that I could travel without over-thinking logistics, and similar enough to Korea that I didn’t have to worry about navigating a completely alien culture in addition to dealing with a gimpy leg.
Best of all, Osaka – where I based my stay – is a huge bike town, which wound up being the perfect way for me to get around!
The trip wound up being a lot of relaxed exploring. Cafe neighborhoods, long meals out, gallery hopping, and simple hanging out constituted the majority of my time in Japan. I stayed with some amazing people and had some pretty novel experiences (staying in the red light district and learning Japanese drinking games over hotpot stand out in particular).
I took it easy, never rushed, and simply focused on exploring at my own pace.
I got stronger, more steady back on two legs, and regained the confidence that, yes, I can do this. I can walk. (and that I hadn’t made a dire medical mistake)
So thank you, Japan, for being the best kind of medicine! For getting me walking again, for reminding me how to explore, for showing me how to move on from three months of stupifying stagnation!
Because in just two days, I’m going somewhere that will test me much harsher than an East Asia neighbour…
* this is not suggested for everyone. but hey, all’s well that ends well!