Don’t you just love the weirdness of crossing the international dateline when flying over the Pacific?  I leave Tokyo at 6:00pm and arrive in New York at 6:00pm, on the same day.  It’s like I never left.  And God, don’t I often wish that were so.

Since my birthday is the 20th and today is the 19th, I’ll technically turn 35 in the air Tokyo time.  I’m going to use this little nugget of truth to try to convince the agent at the  AA check-in counter at Narita to upgrade me from business to first.

For those of you who think it’s rather obnoxious if not rude to try to upgrade from a premium class to an ultra-premium class, I say, “Go to hell.”  It’s my fucking birthday and I deserve it after nearly three years in my role as the trailing partner.

Depression, panic attacks, antidepressants and too much drinking aside, I think I’ve handled the challenge of living in Japan fairly well.   And when I return to Tokyo in early November, I’ll be ready to face my country of residence again with a renewed vigor, a deeper sense of place and the knowledge that living abroad does indeed expand your mind.