Hello Jet Lag
4:18 a.m. on a Wednesday
Returning to Asia is always the same for me; wheels down, deplane, go through customs, grab my bag, catch a bus, hail a cab, climb the steps, open the door, flop down and thank god that it is all over. Just as the intercontinental routine repeats itself, the physical symptoms that accompany the journey are quite predictable. Every time is the same; nausea, dehydration, and feeling like ass (that is a medical term for sure). Coming home to Tokyo from North America just wrecks me. Arrival time doesn't matter and regardless what I do en route, I cannot seem to find the magic elixir that cures the body from the brutal, transcontinental trek.
The morning after arriving back in Mitaka, I wake at the most horrid hours. This morning, for example, I was up at 3:27, wide-eyed and ready to drink coffee. When I was in university, 4:00 a.m. was when I was finding my stride. Now, I am only up at that hour because of an earthquake, a crying eight-month-old, or jet lag. Even though I am awake and physically functioning, all I can do at first is stare at the walls and sip dark brew. But, after a while, I pep up and start the day (even if it is 4:15 in the morning).
Outside the house, the neighborhood lights are off and the dog next door isn't yet barking. The road is clear of cars and the only noises are natural ones. On these jet lagged mornings, there is little to entertain myself with outside of my Tokyo home. The only things moving are birds and the stray cats. For many, these still hours are boring and are void of possibility. I, however, enjoy this time as much if not more than the bustling hours of the day.
The stillness is not the only reason why I love the early morning hours (Or late, late night hours depending on how you view them). The "silent time" is perfect for a variety of photographic tasks. With my household still and quiet, blogging and/or journaling comes naturally and, if I am not feeling up to writing, Lightroom is always screaming to be opened and portrait sessions can be planned. But it isn't just the fringe tasks that can be accomplished. Picking up my camera is easy to do in the early morning when I realize that I have beaten the sun up.
When the rest of Japan continues on the natural rhythm of the timezone, jet lag provides me a window of opportunity to do as I like. While hellish to endure, the few luxuries of jet lag make it almost worth it.
Award winning photographer based in Tokyo, Japan. Specializing in portrait photography, he shoots a variety of portraiture, editorial, and event, and commercial photography assignments. Andy is a husband, father, and lover of fried food.