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Conrad Zimmerman avatar 12:49 PM on 09.16.2012
TGS Travel Log: Getting there in one (conscious) piece



As some of you may be aware, I'm headed to Japan this week to attend the Tokyo Game Show. If this were a standard kind of trip, I would be ramping up my Twitter usage, communicating my thoughts about the trip as they happen. But I don't have an international data plan on my phone and, as I'm led to understand from Dale, the WiFi situation in Japan isn't such that I expect to be able to just hop on and give the blow-by-blow.

Just as well, really. If I'm taking the time to tweet out the totally awesome thing which just happened, what if I miss some further awesome mere moments later because I was absorbed in my phone? That would be some kind of tragedy, I'm certain.

So, I'm aiming to try and use my Cblog a little bit this trip to talk about my experiences in Tokyo. As I write this, I'm sitting in Los Angeles International Airport, having completed the first leg of my flight. I'm pretty damn tired already, but that's by design; part of my plan to combat the effects of jet lag.
I've always had challenges in regards to sleep. My brain doesn't shut off particularly well and usually depends upon my body's exhaustion to force it into submission. In my youthful, collegiate days, this generally meant a schedule of being awake for 36 hours, followed by an 8 hour respite once I became too tired to do anything but sleep. Over the years, I've learned techniques to force myself to rest when I'm not ready, but it's also conditioned me with what I can only compare to a kind of low-grade narcolepsy. And, if I have nothing pressing ahead of me, I'm capable of remaining asleep for twelve or more hours.



Due to the nature of their gills needing water to pass over them to perform their function, most sharks have to maintain moving or be unable to breathe. I'm somewhat like this in regards to consciousness. If I stop moving, stop thinking about something of importance (or, at least, interest), I become exhausted and will often just fall asleep. I'm the absolute worst person to vacation with, for example, because being a tourist bores the hell out of me and I'm perfectly capable of passing out on a park bench.

I mention all of this because I'm curious to see how I, with my already unusual habits, respond to honest-to-goodness jet lag. The irregularity of my sleep cycle can be frustrating, but it's also made me highly nimble in regards to adjusting my schedule. I'm nearly incapable of maintaining consciousness on a flight longer than an hour, so I'm going to sleep (slept the whole first leg, too), but I'm hoping that I can time things to where I wake up halfway across the Pacific, which should be Monday morning in Tokyo. With any luck, I'll wind up being just a little tired when I exit the plane at 4 in the afternoon, and ready to sleep again by nighttime.

Preparations for the plan necessitated that I stay up all of last night. Waking at 7:30 so as to broadcast Saturday Morning Hangover, I spent my day running last minute errands. I bought a couple pairs of denim pants, got a haircut and picked up some toiletry items. Obviously, there was some packing involved. Then, Katrina and I stayed up and watched the third season of Archer.

Well, I stayed up. She was a real trooper, but she needs a solid 8 hours every night on a schedule, so she was out by shortly after 2 am. At 4, I left for Portland International and that leads us to where we are now. For the next 14 hours, or so, I'll be screaming across the Pacific in the massive jet I can see out the window, getting ready for culture shock.


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