It's done.

The trip that has caused so much ambivalence has been completed. I can now say I've been to Japan. And yes, I would like to return.

I really only wanted to go there to shop, and shop I did. I didn't want to go with inflated expectations. Too many people think Hawai‘i is all grass huts and hula skirts, not realizing Honolulu is a major city like any other city on the Mainland.

I had some notion of what the topography of Japan would look like from media — music videos, anime — but I kept my mind open about everything else. And I'm glad I did.

On a more personal level, this trip really demonstrated the stark differences between my brother and me. At the very least, my efforts at more healthful living have paid off. Also, it would really be nice for everyone in my family if dad could just let go and shuffle this mortal coil. (Yes, I said that out loud.)

So, how do I proceed? Report on the sequence of events as they transpired from day to day? Summarize the experience in more general terms? There's the trip to Japan, and there's also my current stay in Hawai‘i. (I return to Austin on Dec. 2.)

The flight to Hawai‘i managed not to piss me off as badly as it usually does, even with a four-hour layover. I think I've discovered the secret to make it tolerable — alcohol. I had a pair of margaritas at a Mexican restaurant in LAX, and it made me sufficiently tipsy to sleep on the plane. I know what I'm doing on my flight back to LAX.

Before leaving for Japan, I spent five incredibly uneventful days in Honolulu, just watching TV or surfing the web. I paid a visit to Ala Moana to see if I could get some items on my shopping list before heading to Japan, thereby allowing me to get more things there. I was unsuccessful. I did, however, get my ABC Store Men of Hawai‘i calendar.

It got a bit boring, but it just feels nice to be away from Austin — from the angst about money issues, from the disillusionment of living in a city of which I've grown tired, from work. I would get restless, but then I would pull back and realize I keep myself busy enough when I'm in my own place. Why not relish this time to do absolutely nothing?

The trip would be activity enough.