I am using a Japanese pc that keeps freaking out on me so wish me luck here. This is my second holiday here and if i`m honest to myself 2 days in Tokyo is not enough. I arrived hungrily at 6:30 and met a guy with a promising menu. He led me into a dark alley with an equally dark elevator that took me to a marvellous Izakaya restaurant. I cant really describe what I ate, but it immediately rekindled my love for this country.
The next day I visited Ueno park as the cherry trees had just blossomed ( perfect timing
) and enjoyed a Japanese bbq in Shinjuku. Next day I visited Tokyo Tower and took a flight to my home base of Yonago in Western Japan. Here I had my first view of the Japan sea.
From there I travelled to Osaka for the aquarium, Hijemi castle and the downtown district. I had my first experience of eating cow and cuttlefish bowel, and I have to say my last. I met a Shinto priest with very good English and we had a nice conversation about customs and travelling. I then headed to Kyoto for Toji temple and Mijojo castle. Sadly there were way too many tourists here who did not understand the `feel` of Japan so it was a very chaotic visit. ( Put it this way; Tokyo was easier to explore as there are so many locals, Kyoto has a smaller population but probably more tourists who make sudden stops in the street to look at something ).
My next city was Kobe which despite its small size was fun to visit; Chinatown was very interesting.
A few hours west of Yonaga is Japan`s oldest temple which was a great location...only 2 westerners here and a lot of history. There was a fishing village nearby that served the most amazing squid I have ever had. Beyond words.
Hiroshima was the next location, and it rained all day, which seemed a little fitting when visiting the atomic bomb memorial. I cannot write of the sadness I felt at this spot while standing in the rain. I only hope the world has learned a lesson and the suffering endured by the people of this city will never be repeated. I had a Korean bbq for dinner which included an all you can drink option: I think they regretted that after my visit.
The second day was a more positive experience; the sun was shining, the people were lovely and I visited the Ohtori gate, yeah, that one that the tide makes famous. Quite an experience as the population of deer that live on the island are considered sacred, and are very tame. They are a little smelly but you cant help but stroke them.
And that is a reasonable summary as to what I have done so far. The sushi and sashimi here is marvellous, and the katsu is addictive. The bread here too is astounding and I have befriended a local baker who makes incredible mushroom rolls. I`m going to miss her.
I have also enjoyed the Japanese respect for Western culture and how they have managed to get it slightly wrong. For instance a major convenience store has a sign for a `Casheir`, there is a local ` Bar Bar` who cuts hair and a `Raundry` announced in large bright letters. But for these mistakes I forgive you Japan, for you have captured my soul for a second time and I hold your people and culture close to my heart.
I will return to Canada on Saturday and will post another cartoon soon, but I think perhaps my heart will be forever in that Izakaya bar in downtown Tokyo.