It seemed like a neat idea at the time. I had a holiday to write up - Christmas 2014 in Japan - which could be broken down into three distinct sections. Each of those sections could also double up as an entry in one of my regular ongoing series. So the opening Tokyo post was also a BrewDogging bar review, while the central Sendai/Naruko Onsen piece became another one of those Christmas Day In Foreign Parts articles.
And this final one, looking at Kyoto? Well, as The Belated Birthday Girl and I had caught a couple of Japanese films during the trip, this could be the backup material for when I wrote about them for Mostly Film as part of Monoglot Movie Club. This would be a brilliant structural conceit, if it wasn't for the delay of nearly four months between All In The Game appearing on Europe's Best Website, and my finally getting around to putting this article up here. But you get the idea. Let's ignore the fact that this piece will say absolutely nothing about the movies we saw in Japan (As The Gods Command at Ikebukuro Humax, and The Vancouver Asahi at Kyoto Movix), and just get on with it. You've waited long enough.
What's Japan like in the days leading up to New Year? 2014 was the year that we found out. The biggest surprise was just how much of an event New Year is there - possibly even more so than Christmas, which is generally treated as just another working day. Everything shifts into cut-down holiday mode, starting with the regular TV scheduling. When our breakfast-time fix of morning soap Massan suddenly vanished from its usual slot, it was our first major clue that week 52 in Japan doesn't play to the same rules as weeks 1-51. You may want to bear that in mind if you visit at this time of year.