There's something to be said for the ability to find a restaurant that will serve you a full, proper meal at 11.30 on a Friday night, or to sit in a tranquil Japanese tea room occupied mainly by people actually speaking Japanese (and eating all manner of sweets composed of sugared bean pastes), or to be openly sarcastic without drawing looks of censure or perplexion. So New York can be great.

But the streets in winter (at least in Manhattan) are wind tunnels, turning a gust into a gale, which is chilly at best and painfully frigid at worst. The subway stations are grimy (as we step off the train in Chinatown and are hit with the overpowering odor of urine, Ry notes, 'Damn, it's not usually this bad'). The general brusqueness of the populace, while refreshing for a brief while, soon wears on me; I don't need the counter girl in a coffee shop muttering words of malediction simply because I've asked for a glass of water. And, really, there's too much grey.

So as much as I miss my New York-based friends, as much as I love the city's culture, and as much as I'm happy to visit, I'm reminded of why I am so enamoured of the West coast. I won't be leaving it anytime soon.