I'm taking a year out to travel in Japan on a working holiday visa, starting with a couple of months of studying the language some more. I landed about 2 weeks ago. The school put me at a slightly higher level than I had dared to hope and I am now learning new words, new expressions, new nuances every day and generally having a tremendous time :) I'm exactly where I want to be, doing and learning what I want to.

I'm experimenting with posting pictures on Flickr as I go, we'll see how that works out!

Also, note for future-self and other folks who are about to travel with a cold: the so-called "ear planes" work great to avoid painful ear pain on descent. I put them about 1h30 before landing on the second flight and it was painless, quite a contrast with the previous flight 10 hours earlier. Nasal spray helps a bit for comfort too.