I woke up a bit earlier than I expected, leaving myself feeling a bit more tired than I had hoped.
Aside from looking at a cheque for a refund on a Myki I organised before flying to Japan, I spent a few hours of the morning doing very little before heading into the city to spend some time wandering around.
The Tram trip was uneventful but I enjoyed what little of it I was paying attention to, as my thoughts were, for the most part, elsewhere.
Once in the city, I found a small café and bought a café latte and chicken and pesto wrap.
Whilst I was at the café, there was someone busking nearby.
They were playing classical-style music on their guitar.
I found myself enjoying it a lot more than my mediocre coffee (something that came as a shock to me as, being in Melbourne, the coffee should have been better than mediocre, but you can’t win them all) and “just okay” wrap.
After I was finished with my food, I approached the busker and asked them if they had any music for purchase.
As they didn’t, I then asked if they had any music available online.
They didn’t understand me, so I went on my way, continuing my wandering.
I was still elsewhere whilst he was wandering around, only paying enough attention to not bump into anyone and to get to whichever location I felt like going to.
I bought a shirt and a game, walked to parliament house, found out they only allowed guided tours, walked to a pipe shop that I had known about for close to ten years, tried to get in but couldn’t find the entrance, wandered to a Boost Juice on Flinders Street, noticed that the person who made my drink was someone who had served me most of the times I had been there since 2009, mentioned this to her to which she said that someone else had pointed this out earlier to her, smiled and said “see you next time” or something to similar effect, walked around the Yarra, looked for a bathroom, went to a bathroom in a shopping centre, bought another shirt, walked around a little bit more, then went back to my step-mum’s place.
I had been thinking about my time in Japan and how much I had enjoyed it, but also the dread of returning to a job that I should have left a long time ago and had only become beneficial to me a few months prior.
I was thinking about many problems I saw with my home town of Sydney and how people were so incredibly willing to ignore them instead of work on them.
I thought about Gabe and wondered about why he went to Japan, as well as how much more damaged our relationship was now.
I thought about my life and where I was going with it.
I relaxed for a while once I was back at my step-mum’s place.
It wasn’t too long before my step-mum, my brothers and I were having dinner.
Once done, I watched TV with my step-mum and my other brother, although he didn’t hang around for long.
I spent a good part of it being overly critical of what we were watching to make my step-mum laugh. It worked most of the time.
Eventually everyone went to bed.
I stayed up for a while longer as I wasn’t feeling too tired.
I didn’t have much sleep again.
I spent part of the morning walking around the suburb and trying to see parts I hadn’t seen before.
It was my last wander before heading back to Sydney, so I tried to make the most of it.
It was somewhat relaxed.
I saw plenty of plants that I liked the look of and I appreciated some of the architecture, but I didn’t have too much time to faff about.
I returned back to my step-mum’s house and spent a a few hours not doing much until it was time for my step-mum to take me to the local train station.
I said bye to my other brother before he left.
As she had a lot of work that day, she wasn’t able to drop me off at the airport.
I was fine with this.
I didn’t mind going the whole way on my own, but my step-mum was more than happy to take me as far as she could.
Once there, I said bye to her and Gabe.
Once I arrived at Southern Cross Station I made my way to the airport bus terminal at a fast pace.
I didn’t have to wait too long for a bus.
It was my first double-decker I’ve been on.
I thought it was interesting to be higher up on a bus, but beyond that, it didn’t seem too different.
As I arrived at the airport earlier than I wanted to, I bought something to eat and sat down for a while before heading to the terminal my flight was departing from.
I spent most of my time in the air writing so I wouldn’t think too much about the flight.
Aside from some strong turbulence just before landing on the tarmac in Sydney (we’re talking about less than a minute before touching down), the flight was pleasantly smooth.
However, it was enough to make me move as quickly as possible in order to get off the plane.
I made my way to the train station and, soon enough was on a train to Central.
As I looked out the window of the train, I was getting angry again.
I was in Sydney, but I did not want to be back.
I’d have preferred being able to remain with my family.
I decided to walk home from Central instead of catching the bus.
It wasn’t too far and I had a strong desire to walk as I wasn’t able to do as much as I would have liked over the past two days.
It was almost unfortunate that, before long, I was home.
I enjoyed being in Japan quite a lot.
It was a holiday I needed to have.
I’ve had a strong desire to see as much of Australia as I can before going to another country; something that has stopped me from traveling overseas.
I’m glad I took the opportunity when Gabe asked if I wanted to go with him.
Although this prevented me from seeing more of Australia first, I don’t know how long it would have been until that actually happened.
I didn’t get culture shock whilst I was there.
There were a few things that threw me off, but I handled the experience of being there pretty well.
Most of the time, despite being a tourist, I felt more at home there than I do in Sydney.
This probably has a lot to do with my dissatisfaction with the town.
I didn’t get to see anywhere near as much as I wanted (but then again, who does), and I did want to do more cycling, so I’m planning to go back again.
I’m hoping to return first in late June or early July next year and spend a bit more time cycling around and seeing other parts, such as Hokkaido, as well as see the five lakes around Mount Fuji before hiking up it again.
In a few years I’m hoping to spend two or three months cycling all the way through Japan with a few friends as I think it would be a good way to see a lot of the country.
I had been told that Japan (especially Tokyo) was expensive.
I don’t believe this is the case.
I wasn’t exactly what one would consider tight with my money and managed to come back under-budget by about $500.
Despite spending more on accommodation than Gabe (I did the calculations recently and worked out that I had by somewhere around $260, although it isn’t really much), I still managed to do well with money and I imagine had I been more careful with how I used my money than I was (I was occasionally careful and I usually kept in mind how much I had available), I would have come back with closer to $1,000.
I did manage to spend it quickly once I was back in Australia, but I was also expecting to come back with a lot less.
There were a number of things I really liked about Japan.
Probably the biggest was that a lot of the places I saw were embracing their history and moving forward whilst bringing it with them.
It seemed that a lot of historical sites were given a large amount of consideration when development advanced.
There are many places that felt as though they were, in some way, disconnected from whichever urban area they were in, yet they didn’t feel out of place.
Many of the people I encountered were polite and friendly and more than willing to help if asked for it.
I already knew that their transport system worked incredibly well, so it came as no surprise for me when I was able to get a train with a minimal wait time.
A massive benefit for me was that it was all quite affordable.
Despite some language barriers, I had very little difficulty with doing anything in Japan.
It was all quite straightforward.
Ultimately, going to Japan didn’t change my opinion of Sydney, which is a place I perceive as having more problems than anyone wants to admit to.
I won’t go into a critique of what I think is wrong with Sydney; not yet anyway.
I also know that Japan has its own set of problems that it has to deal with.
With that being said, if a place that experiences natural disasters has a rail network that is almost always running efficiently at an affordable cost to its users, yet your rail network can experience major delays on multiple lines because a tree or a few crates fall onto a track, then your rail system is not complex; it’s poorly designed.
I think the absolute biggest problem with Sydney is that there are a good number of people out there that are so unwilling to hear anything bad about Sydney that they can become hostile when the possibility is brought up, regardless of how one starts talking about it.
Either that or they suggest that work needs to be done elsewhere rather than starting with oneself.
There’s too much willingness to embrace complacency here that people seem as though they’re only willing to work on things when it’s convenient instead of when it’s necessary.
I do believe that Sydney can improve quite a lot as the problems I see aren’t that bad.
I also believe that any improvements made could be maintained with little difficulty.
However, the responsibility lies with everyone to work towards improvement; not just one individual or a group.
On something that is completely unrelated, my job has finally started to pay off, but returning to it was not fun.
In the first two-and-a-half weeks of being back, my role changed seven times.
The first time was probably the worst.
I had a brief meeting and was told that the person I trained to cover my work whilst I was gone was going to be taking over my role in administration and I would be working on phones again.
I was then told about how good he was at my job and how the client liked how he did things.
I have a problem with this as he was doing what I showed him to do in the way that I did it and I would only be complimented with my work when I was doing something that was instructed of me.
Beyond that, I would regularly be questioned as to why I wasn’t working hard enough.
What really got to me about being questioned about how hard I was working is that no one was actually interested in finding out firsthand how slow, dry, monotonous, frustrating, and time consuming part of my role was.
I won’t deny that I did (and still do) stuff around on occasion.
However, I do put effort into my work.
The relationship between Gabe and I was fairly strained before going to Japan.
It did pick up a bit, but it started going south again after a few days.
Actually, it started going south before the trip even went underway.
I take umbrage to being told to grow up by someone who was almost making me jump through hoops because they would ignore what my situation was and what I had to do to be able to go to Japan (not anywhere near as bad as what some people have to do to get by on a day to day basis, but still not something I’d not put other someone else through), preferring to occasionally guilt me instead.
That sounds like a “poor me” statement.
For a fairly decent portion of the trip, he’d spend a few hours of any given day at most outside of a hostel and the remainder of the time on the internet.
I think he sought instant gratification and when he wouldn’t get it, he would give up, causing him to miss out on a lot of things.
I found it annoying. I probably shouldn’t as it’s not my business, but I did.
After traveling with Gabe, I’m not sure as to how often I would want to talk to or be around him again.
With that being said, he’s still my brother and I still love him dearly.
I think that, in general, seeking instant gratification is bad.
Sometimes getting it pays off really well in the long term, but more often than not its benefits are temporary at best.
Instant gratification seems to be highly addictive. This is highly problematic as the continuous pursuit of it will most likely only serve to cause damage.
There are many things out there that require time and work, but they provide so much more than a quick reward usually does, even if it is not immediately obvious as to what one gets out of it.
My whole writing about Japan is, most likely, influenced by my opinion on instant gratification.
I did want to write about being in Japan and hoped I’d write about it as I traveled, but ended up deciding against doing so.
Once I came back to Sydney, I decided to write about the whole thing and not just the highlights as it was a part of my life.
Obviously it would be difficult to cover everything and I think that what I’ve written is a bit bloated, but I think that if I had just provided highlights it wouldn’t work well, or have allowed me to go on a tangent from time to time.
Now, if only I knew what words to use to finish this with…