Sofia and I try to visit Asia once a year. We’ve not quite managed to stick to a once-every-12-months trip, but I’m pleased to say we’ve booked a holiday to Shanghai and Tokyo.
We’re both really excited as it will be our first trips to China and Japan, and neither of us quite knows what to expect. However I’m hoping Tokyo will be a great indicator of future technology, and Shanghai should be a great indicator of a massive future economy waiting to be tapped into.
However, the main purpose of the trip is to attend the Chinese F1 Grand Prix. We’ve done the Malaysian Grand Prix a couple of times, and so we thought it would be good to do a new one.
We also wanted to attend the Japanese Grand Prix too, as it takes place a week before the Chinese GP. However tickets were practically sold out and accommodation near the circuit was impossible to find. Never mind, perhaps we’ll do Suzuka next year.
I’m very aware that visiting Shanghai is going to give me a very one-sided perspective of China (only the top 1% of the country can afford to live there). However it is my first trip to China and so I’m hoping that some experience of visiting Shanghai will give me some knowledge and confidence to check out other parts on a future trip.
Getting vaccinated and the necessary visa paperwork is enough of an issue as it is (I’m just glad I live in London as you have to apply for visas in person at the London-based Chinese Embassy. If you live in Cornwall or Wales, what a hassle to have to to come down to London just for the visa!).
Tokyo should be fun, particularly as my good buddy James Shipton, aka Choci, will also be in town at the same time. He’s visiting his ex-girlfriend who’s a Tokyo native. Hopefully she can help show us around! Phil Miller, aka Pip, might also be in town for a couple of days too, on a stop-over to Australia. Party on.
I’m hoping to take the Bullet Train to either Kyoto or Hiroshima for the day/overnight too. Just to get out of the sprawling urban jungle that is Tokyo and see a different side of Japan. Kyoto seems particularly beautiful, from what I can tell.
And don’t worry folks, I’m already reading up on the Akihabara district (roughly translated as “Electric City”) of Tokyo. That’s where the gadgets are, apparently. Reading up on the amazing Imbi Plaza (1| 2) in Kuala Lumpur was really useful the first time we went to KL and so I’m sure some homework on the best parts of Akihabara will be equally beneficial.
Looks like we’ve got someone to house-sit the flat whilst we’re away too, so that’s one less thing to worry about. I’m just not looking forward to the Hep A, Hep B, Typhoid, Diphtheria and possibly yellow fever shots… ouch.