I’m heading to Japan!! Currently turning this …
We are planning to go to Tokyo, Kyoto, Naoshima (above, an island full of art museums that was also the setting for a James Bond novel!), and Kanazawa (an ‘undiscovered’ Kyoto, below!)
Then we go to Nagano which has Snow Monkeys! Here’s a snow monkey texting. (Or something).
We are missing cherry blossom season, sadly, but I am sure there will be tons of other fascinating things to see, eat, do, plus also owl cafes and Samurai castles. Watch this space. Or this video of a robot restaurant.
[By the way : one question I’ve been asked a few times recently is: can I claim taxes back for trips abroad if I’m going to write about them? Short answer: not really. Stop reading now if that’s all you need/want to know. Have a picture of some snow monkeys cuddling.
Still there? OK. According to the Taxes Act (fun times!) you can claim trips if they are ‘wholly and exclusively for the purpose of business’. So I could claim if I were going to Paris to talk at a literary festival, but not if I’m going for a fun weekend with A.
Arguably there’s a grey area when it comes to ‘research’. In theory I could have booked myself a week in LA to ‘research’ Lily Does LA. BUT … I’d already been to LA so I didn’t really need to go again. And by the time I wrote Lily Does LA (in the autumn/winter of 2013) it was really a bit late to start claiming for a trip taken several years ago. I have no plans to write about Japan at the moment and even if I end up writing about it in a year or two, I think it would be a bit dodgy to start claiming for it retrospectively. Also, you know, right at this moment, avoiding taxes doesn’t feel to me like the best priority. So there you go! Sorry if that was boring. But I do get asked.]