2012 was a good year. Firstly, the Mayans proved themselves to be hideous liars and the world didn’t end. Second, after a period of cultural and creative stagnation in the UK I decided to bite the bullet and move back to Japan, a country I fell in love with when I first lived here in 2003. What was meant to be a simple year away has turned into much more than that – and I’ve decided to stay on in Tokyo for the foreseeable future. I don’t usually go in for cheesy-navel-gazing-year-in-review thinking, but if you had told me 12 months ago that I would be living in one of the coolest neighbourhoods in all of Japan I would have bit your arm off and sliced it into razor-thin sashimi.
As always, I’m happiest when I’m seeing somewhere new. 2012 saw me visit two new countries, Taiwan and Myanmar – as well as discover hidden areas I didn’t even know existed in Tokyo. A blog I started simply to keep in touch with my friends and family has been nominated for Travel Blog of the Year, and I’m already thinking where I want to go to next. Mongolia and Nepal keep popping into my head, but we’ll see.
Above all, this year has made me realise that if you want something to happen, you have to make it happen yourself. As my mates well know, I was extremely nervous before I moved back to Asia but it was the best thing I ever did. If anyone out there reading this is hemming and hawing about whether to get out there and see more of the world then I’ll leave you with the only travel advice you ever need:
Put shit in a bag and go.
Here are some of my favourite memories from Tokyo in 2012: