One week on and lessons learnt

20 04 2013

It’s been just over a week since I’ve been back. First thoughts? I hate it. Comparatively everything here is dirty, violent and late. My first “why did I get on the plane” moment came shortly after clearing customs in Heathrow, a family coming back from what I can only imagine is one of those typically British holiday destinations, mother and 4 year old swearing at each other over Who the hell knows what. I may be wrong but in the whole three weeks I was out there, I never saw one public fracas between people. I just can’t imagine it happening.

I had the weekend before things went back to normal but honestly I’m having trouble readjusting. This trip did more than open my eyes, it’s pretty much confirmed that I will end up over there one day. I’ve yet to figure out how but I’ll make it happen.

I’m in London this weekend so hopefully seeing some good friends will acclimatise me back to normal. I hope anyway.


A very sad but fond farewell….

11 04 2013

It’s with a heavy heart that I write this post.

I’m sat in the bar of my hotel on my last night in Japan. It’s been an absolutely amazing 18 days. As most of you have no doubt seen, I’ve traversed this beautiful country and come to have a greater appreciation for this amazing place. I’ve made some friends that I hope are for life and reconnected with old ones. I never used to understand my friend Naomi’s expression of getting itchy feet but now I understand and sympathise only too well.

My last day was spent shopping for various goodies to bring back. And it’s been tiring but I got to revisit some of my favourite places in Tokyo and find some new ones. I have not doubt that I will be back before long. It’s drawn into my mind that stark differences between England and Japan the wonder why some of the things here aren’t implemented back home. Little things like the way people line up politely to let people off the trains before getting on, the way that everyone is so welcoming and helpful. It does obviously come down to a mindset difference and I can’t help but think that I would be happier and better off coming here for good.

It’s something that I’ve given some great thought to and this trip only served to solidify that choice in my mind and if the acting doesn’t work out then I will be following in the footsteps of my friends Chris and Sabbi and moving out here although that’s a plan that won’t be put into action for a few years yet.

I’ve just booked my last JR train ticket and it sits heavy in my pocket, I wish I could just stay but alas dreams to be realise yet.

For now though, I have my memories and I make no apology for the fact that in a few days our timelines will be wiped out by the various pictures and video uploads that will be happening.

As the song goes I really will be leaving my heart in Tokyo….

Good bye Japan. See you soon

Kal x

About halfway through…..

2 04 2013

So I think the last time we spoke I was heading out to Fuji, well that ended up being a bit of a bust. I was always going to be at the mercy of weather on that one but its still annoying at having missed out on one of the most quintessential Japan sights. I did get to go to the bat cave however, I wasn’t able to make it the whole way through as the caves became quite difficult to navigate and my back wasn’t up to the task. I still enjoyed it though and got some decent pics out of it. Met up with some fellow Brits that I’d met in Tokyo and some new new ones that dropped on for the night. The rest of the time was spent curled up under a Kotatsu (heated table) with a girl from Tennessee trying to teach her about pop culture. She was a superbly talented artist studying in Japan for a year but had literally no knowledge of music, movies or literature. Think we stayed up till about 2am in end while I showed her videos of cats, songs by Frank and impressions by Spacey. Would have liked to have stayed in touch with her but alas we didn’t exchange details. Cest la vie eh

The next morning saw me heading north to more mountainous areas to a little town called Yudanaka, the entry way to the snow monkey park and full of ryokans and onsens. Making my way to my little ryokan, I was greeted by an elderly gent who didn’t speak a lick of English, but between my phrase book and lots of charades style gestures we got there the end. My room was a lovely little tatami affair with a single floor futon and a small Kotatsu. That was really all that was needed, I had a few hours to kill before dinner so I took a bath in their outdoor pool. That was pretty much the next two days lol, bath and food. I did have a quite busy day in the middle. All the guides failed to mention that the monkey park is a 2km uphill hike from the town! That was fun! Bt the monkeys at the top were pretty awesome and the downhill was infinitely easier. Then a quick side trip to Matsumoto castle before back in time for dinner and another bath. This morning another bath before breakfast and then what was going to be a trip to the Nagano ninja museum cancelled because of he museum being closed due to snow. Lame. So I just pushed up my plans to come to Osaka. 4 hours on the train later and I’m checking into the weirdest hotel I’ve ever stayed in.

I’m not entirely sure what market they were going for but I’m clearly not it! The “room” is nice enough, decent sized bed, a drawer underneath, TV, oh and no lock on the door! It’s a sliding curtain! Safe deposit boxes are kept next to reception along with luggage storage. In retrospect I maybe should have looked into staying in Osaka a little better, but this was a last minute job so just gotta stick with it. I’m sure it’ll be fine, all my essential stuff is locked away and anything important I carry with me in the day.

At least the facilities in this place are pretty nice, a 24hr spa and jacuzzi. I could seriously get used to this bath business ya know. Now I’m posted at the bar enjoying a cold beer watching some Japanese tv show about who seems to be the best acapella group. Anyway, I’ll check back in in a few days and let you how my flirting with the bar maid in my terrible Japanese goes


Kal xx