First of all, Happy New Year! Let’s hope it’s a happy one, anyway.
The other day I was talking to a coworker about “things we collect”. He was very into tangible things steeped in history that you can only find in Japan, and was telling me about how he was willing to spend a full paycheck (a month’s salary) to get whatever it was. Not my thing, but hey, someone’s gotta do it I guess. Anyway, he then stopped and said, “What do you collect?”
I had to think for a minute, and here’s why.
When I was living at home with the family, no question in my mind–I collected books. Novels, mainly, science fiction and fantasy being my usual choice. My bookshelves were filled and my desk was cluttered with them. When the time came to move, I boxed up several of them–but I also donated something like eight moving boxes’ worth to my local library. It was incredibly painful for me, because books were my “thing I collected”.
Then I moved to Japan, to a little two-room place that I adored but which had no built-in shelves and little counter space. I picked up three or four sets of small bookshelves over the time I’ve spent there, yes, and my collection has grown, but I don’t know that it counts as a collection in the same sense that he meant it.
For him, a collection was something he absolutely had to have, and was willing to blow all of his money on if necessary to have it. By that definition… books were not my “thing”. While I will happily wander into a Book-Off and pick up five books and then spend a week reading them all (oops), I will not spend more than five or six dollars on a given novel.
So then, what will I happily blow all my paychecks on?
It doesn’t even have to be anywhere special, but if given a choice between taking a cooking class in Seoul versus buying a fancy set of my favorite fantasy series, I’ll take the former any day.
The travel bug bit me when I was in university, studying abroad in Osaka for the first time, and it hasn’t left me alone since.
To that end, what does 2017 hold for me right now? Well, here are a couple things I’m considering:
- Traveling in Japan. I’m going to have a friend visiting me and, potentially, family. So I’m deciding where exactly I’d like to go with them. One potential place is Koya-san. Another is Okinawa.
- Taiwan. I’ve been there one time before, but am hoping to go again. Last time I was only able to go for three days- now I think I can devote a week to seeing new things and trying new food.
- One more place abroad. I haven’t decided where else I’d like to go, but I want to go at least three different places this coming year, and I’d like one of them to be entirely new to me. Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand… somewhere in Southeast Asia would be lovely, but I’m not setting the “where” in stone yet.
How about you? What are your travel plans or hopes for 2017? What do you collect?