I usually arrive at my parents’ house in Tokyo right before dinner. Flights arrive around 4, and it takes 2-3 hours to clear Narita and settle down at destination. I’m always starving. I eat, and immediately get sleepy. Last night we had a big feast—shabu shabu, sashimi, potato salad, white asparagus (in season!), sweet edamame, kimchee-and-squid, rice. Persimmons, figs, and nashi (Japanese pear) for dessert. I unpack/shower. Pass out at 10PM. And then, almost without fail, I wake up in the middle of the night and stay up and listen to the city sleep. In the dead of summer, you hear cicadas all night. Tonight, I heard some other critter chirping outside my window until about 5am.
I know it’s 5am because the first trains hit the tracks, and I hear them speeding across town and the house shakes just a little bit. It’s also right around the crack of dawn, so the room starts to light up. Then the mean crows start cawing and the newspaper guy comes around in his little moped and I hear him doing the stop-and-go around the neighborhood. Then my dad wakes up. And I start to get sleepy again, but I usually eat breakfast and stay up til about 4PM, when I take a super power nap, and stay sleepy throughout the night until about 2-3AM the next morning when I wake up and do the same thing.
After all these years of going back and forth, I still don’t have a good strategy to fight the brutal California-to-Tokyo jet lag. I’m open to tips!