And we’re off! This little plane, a Canadair Regional Jet 900, has just taken me to Copenhagen, from where I’ll continue this afternoon to Tokyo.
I fly with SAS because they allow me to choose my seat without extra cost + the baggage allowance of 23 kg is a nice gesture. I always choose seat 31H (or the equivalent on the other side) since that’s where the big emergency exits are. Window or aisle are both ok, but I prefer the window seat since people tend to crowd up in the empty space in front of these seats, plus queuing up for the lavatories. The lavatories are of course the minus with these seats. Sometimes it smells (though only of detergent) and once a woman who didn’t make it threw up on the floor (which, as you know, is a carpet) and it smelled a lot.
Anyway, I wouldn’t be on my sixth Japan trip in two years if it wasn’t for the possibility to choose my own seat to a fair price. I hate long flights, but this thing with 31H really equals Economy Extra (to which I was once upgraded for free) and makes it bearable. This time though I bought the ticket so late that all my four favourite seats already were taken. So I chose 23F instead, which is the first seat row in Economy, so I was hoping for a wall in front of me and thereby some extra leg space. But there is apparently no wall, according to the people at the transfer desk, who also said both Economy Extra and Business are totally full (otherwise I had just earned enough miles to afford an upgrade). They offered to move me to a center seat in row 32 instead, which have a wall in front of them and thus extra leg space. It’s a good thing I asked about the infant situation, since I know babies are often placed where there is a wall. It turned out there were two babies in row 32. So I would have been seated in between them. Suddenly that 23F doesn’t sound so bad after all. At least I did what I could to check my options!
This will be quite a long trip, a whole three months, which is the maximum period (90 days) one is allowed to stay if one is a Swedish citizen. (Germans can actually stay 180 days by a formal extension of the visa.) So maybe one shouldn’t call it a trip. But it’s also not a move. Maybe a temporary stay is the best way to put it, just like they write on the visa.
(If I’m babbling, it’s because I’m in Valium mode. Not that I take any Valium, but my body always adjusts to this mode when entering an airport, it’s very convenient.)
So what’s my plans this time? Well, I’ll start by doing an internship at a magazine in Tokyo. The Swedish Publicists’ Association (Publicistklubben), an organisation “devoted to promoting freedom of the press and free speech in journalism”, kindly gave me a scholarship for this purpose. My purpose is to learn how a Japanese magazine is made, from idea to print. That’s how I put it in my application, because you have to come up with the idea for your scholarship yourself, and if they think it’s interesting (or if you’ve been a member for a long time) you might get the grant. It was actually quite a challenge just to find a magazine that would accept me. Most of them never replied. But I’m very happy with my choice and I will keep you updated about the details later.
The internship will only last a few weeks. After that I will attend a Japanese language school, which will be good for my studies of course, but which also will serve as some daily routine.
I will stay in an own house which I was lucky to find through a friend. It apparently has two floors.
I’m very excited but also nervous.
Update: Oh what the… why so humble. Changed this post’s title from “On my way” to “I’m moving to Japan”. 🙂