So I need to start at the beginning. A very good place to start.
After four years away from it, I finally managed to go back to the love of my life - Japan. I lived in Tokyo twice, once on my gap year and again for my year abroad as part of Uni, for a total of a year and a half. As I turned 19 and 21 there, it's really where I became an adult. It's a huge part of who I am.
Originally I said I wouldn't go back on this trip, because I wanted to spend my money on new places and new experiences. But I am so glad I changed my mind. I spent three weeks in Tokyo, and every day I met up with friends, some of whom I haven't seen for four years; went to all my old haunts; ate my body weight in amazing Japanese food time and time again; and went to karaoke about seven times.
I've never had more friends living in Tokyo than right now, so I did a circle of staying with them. And just had the best time.
It was an extended best time as well, because I was due to fly to the Philippines after two weeks, but due to Typhoon Hagupit I had an extended holiday. Also I lost £400 in flight fares, but I'm ignoring that.
One of the nicest things, apart from arriving and being totally emotionally overwhelmed to finally be back, is that it was the height of the autumnal colours, or momiji.
A couple of friends and I went out to Mt Takao, which was festooned in all manner of golds, reds and yellows. I'd never been in Japan for that season, so it was perfect timing.
There were some new additions to a strong contender for my favourite city in the world, including the Sky Tree, Japan's tallest structure at over 600m; and a rooftop garden in Harajuku. It's attached to a Starbucks, obvz, but the views are stunning. You can see the skyscrapers of Shinjuku, the lights of Shibuya, look down at Harajuku crossing, and you can even watch the sun go down behind Mt Fuji. It's absolutely magical. With a Snow Maple Toffee Latte (Japanese Starbucks is insane) in a gloved hand, friends by my side, and Tokyo spread out in front of me, I never wanted to leave.
But I did, and now I'm in sunny Thailand, seeing some incredible things. That, however, I will save for another post.
Ciao for now.