Looking Back & Moving Forward: IKIMASHO! 2019

justin egli

A new year is upon us, and it seems that the older I get, the faster they seem to go by. Even now, just a week into 2019, I feel this particular year is going to pass very quickly. I have a lot planned for this year, most notably a two-week stint in Northern Ireland in spring, followed by another two weeks (hopefully) in USA/Mexico during the summer. Add to that the usual mix of new restaurants and Tokyo neighbourhoods to explore, as well as potential long weekends travelling within Japan.

Ever since I can remember, I have always suffered a bit from grass is greener syndrome: always wanting to see more and do more, even when there is so much around me in the present. It’s a part of my personality that I’m not particularly enamoured with, but at least by acknowledging it, I am able to keep it under control. During the winter break, I found myself with nearly two full weeks in Tokyo, and a few times I felt at a loss what to do, which is ridiculous considering the enormity of this city.

I guess I am so comfortable with my surroundings now that I sometimes (and I emphasise sometimes, as it doesn’t happen that often) forget how incredible being here is. And so, that is my main resolution for this year: that despite having a lot lined up for 2019, I want to try to live in the present more and enjoy each moment. Speaking of moments, 2018 had many memorable ones – and so here’s s a bit of a round-up with some blogs, highlighted in red.

The year started off not in Japan, but in Northern Ireland, visiting friends and family. This was the first time my parents met Miss IKIMASHO too 🙂 Back in Japan in January, the weather took a turn for the worse, but all that snow made for some good photos. My favourite cultural festivals from 2018 were the Chigosan Gyoretsu parade in Takahatafudo, and the Daruma Kuyo, where monks ceremonially burned a giant pit of good-luck dolls. Standout meals included Yakumo Saryo, The Strings by InterContinental, and my first ever three-star Michelin meal at Quintessence. Summer brought us to Vietnam where we had an amazing time walking about the streets, and an equally amazing experience with Park Hyatt. In September we travelled north to Aomori to visit Miss IKIMASHO’s dad’s side of the family, where we were thrown an unexpected engagement and wedding party. Finally, we rounded off the year with a trip down to Kyoto where we ate and explored in equal measures. There are still a few posts from that trip to come.

For me, 2018 was positive, and I hope 2019 brings more of the same. I do also realise though that good years come and go, and others had it more challenging. I hope we can all have a happy, healthy year ahead. Hello, 2019!


danang vietnam

Infinite sunrise in Danang, Vietnam. Summer 2018.

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