Goodness me, it's that time again - that point in the year when I promise myself, not to mention my faithful and very patient readers, that this time will be different. I really do mean it each time I write a post such as this, even if deep down I have a sneaky suspicion that this holiday will be just like all the others, and that once I'm off the first train or plane I'll forget all about writing, or simply find something more enjoyable to do, like eating or drinking, or generally anything other than sitting in front of a computer keyboard.
Part of the problem in the past however, has been over-ambition. That, and a healthy dose of perfectionism, combining to mean that I spend so long takig photographs, video and audio that I have scant time left to pen carefully worded prose - and frankly I'd rather write nothing than utter rubbish (though will let you be the judge of how well I succeed in this).
Now I know about bad workmen and all that, but the other problem in recent times has been a frankly awful bluetooth keyboard, which somehow managed simultaneously to omit characters that I had typed whilst adding in plenty that I hadn't. It meant that a post of roughly this length might have taken me several hours, all the while picking about in each sentence to correct the nonsense that I had inadvertently drafted. The good news is that my new Griffin Lightening keyboard is making very snappy work of this post. The downside is that any nonsense present on the page is well and truly down to me!
So, I've spent too much of your precious time telling you what's going to be different this time, and not nearly enough saying where I will be going, and what I'll be doing when there.
Well, suffice to say that this is a big one. Last year I travelled no further east than the Franco-German border, and as far west only as Madrid. This year the journey will be of a similar length to the first leg of that trip to Spain, albeit with the twelve or so hours spent in planes rather than trains. I'm heading somewhere that's been on my bucket list for years but somehow never reached the top, a place whose culture is both all around us and yet in many ways quite foreign. It is said to be one of the only truly modern non-Western countries and its impact is felt globally. This year I'm heading to Japan.