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Cine Outsider on pause for 3 weeks
As site editor and reviewer Slarek hops off to Japan for his annual holiday, Cine Outsider will be on pause for the next three weeks, but hopefully he won't be completely out of touch | 11 March 2015

From Wednesday 11th March 2005, which is today at the time of writing, Cine Outsider will be on pause for three weeks, returning on Thursday 2nd April. This is not the first time the site has been put on hold, though it's usually only for a week at a time while I scoot off to Europe for a few days away. This time I'm going a little further afield, and for the first time in ten years am returning to Japan, quite possibly my very favourite place on earth to visit.

The do-it-yourself nature of the site means that I not only edit the content and write many of the reviews, I'm also responsible for formatting everything and posting it. To do this I have to have my laptop with me, and on this trip in particular that's not going to happen. Years ago I took my old white plastic MacBook with me to Japan, and hauling it around was an absolute pain. The process of repeatedly cramming it into bag space when travelling also ended up damaging the case and the screen. If I had a MacBook Air or some other lightweight machine I might be tempted, but I'd still need an internet connection that allows FTP uploads to post anything, and the simple truth is that for these three weeks I really want to leave the site alone and enjoy myself without worrying about missing deadlines or getting those news stories up before I crash out for the night.

There are other factors at work here too. Whenever I go to Japan, it takes me a good five days to adjust to the new time zone. Jet lag is a bastard, and I always suffer badly, waking up in the middle of the night and then falling asleep over dinner. The idea of even trying to format and upload a review in this state is frankly unthinkable. And for four glorious days I'll be staying at a remotely located onsen (a Japanese volcanic spa – wonderful) that has no wifi, quite possibly on the assumption that you're there to relax. And I'll also be drinking. Oh, will I be drinking. I adore shōchū (a distilled drink that is generally stronger than sake, and for my money even more delicious), but its rarity in the UK means that if you do locate a bottle, you'll pay through the nose for it, but you can buy a 1.8 litre carton of perfectly good shōchū in a Japanese supermarket for around £5. I'm already wondering how much I can cram into my suitcase on my return without busting the weight limit.

But I won't be completely ignoring the site. I'm taking my iPad and hopefully should have internet access for much of the trip, and will thus be tweeting the basics of any news stories that come my way. If you're not on Twitter (more power to you) then you can keep an eye on the Twitter feed window in the left hand column on the site's front page. I've stripped all of the other bits from there off for now to make it easily visible. I'll also be passing a few long train and plane journeys by working on reviews to be posted on my return.

Of course, the whole tweeting thing depends on whether I do have internet access. For a good part of the trip I'm staying at a cheap but perfectly comfortable hotel in Ōsaka, but have been unable to check in advance whether they offer wifi connectivity. Then again, it may not matter. From what I have been reading, Ōsaka has city-wide free wifi internet access – there are limitations on use, and some districts are better served than others, but this should allow me to tweet and re-tweet anything of interest that comes my way, albeit without the usual news story links.

For the record, all film and site information will be tweeted on the usual handle @cineoutsider.

If you are remotely interested in what I am doing on my trip (and why should you be?), I'll try my damnedest to tweet my experience of this wonderful country on my personal Twitter handle, @jagd_slarek. The few of you who have followed me in the past will be aware that I tend to ignore my own twitter feed for weeks at a time, but I will endeavour to liven it up a bit for the next three weeks, if only for the sake of family and friends.

Right, everything's packed, the car arrives soon for the long and tiresome haul to Heathrow Airport, and I guess I'm ready. That I may be facing redundancy in my day job when I return is something I'll try to suppress for the next 21 days.