Japan

A group of us were having the conversation about what makes you LOVE a place, what makes you like a place, how it’s often impossible to pinpoint what gives you that feeling about somewhere etc. I’ve wanted to come to Japan as long as I can remember. I love the art, style, fashion. Although the cherry blossoms in the spring would obviously have been amazing, Autumn is a pretty perfect time of year to see it too. All that said, it kind of falls into the same category as Vietnam for me. Places I was prepared to love, but in fact only like a lot.

Liked:

1) The aforementioned style: immaculate clothes, beautiful stationary/postcards, zen like gardens. Japan is eye candy.

2) The quirky/zany. From manga porn, to the Disney/Hello Kitty culture, to the futuristic/little bit left field.

3) Calm, helpful and unbelievable friendly people. The language is not the barrier everyone thinks. It’s like a giant game of Cranium at times, but a sketch or mime goes a unbelievably long way.

Disliked:

1) Prices. Ouch on the wallet!

2) Getting around. The subways/trains etc make sense in the end, but defy all of your natural instincts a little.

3) 3pm check ins and 10am check outs. Where is my 24 hours man? Plus the emphasis on the importance of the invite. Japan is big on reservations, not so big on rocking up unexpected.

Where I stayed; Kawasw Tokyo Capsule, Backpacker Gion Hostel, Kyoto.

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Kyoto, Japan

Lonely Planet; “it is fair to say that one of those cities that everyone should see one in their lives.”

Meh? Really? I mean its ok, nice enough and better than Osaka which I have chosen to bin off altogether.

Maybe it’s because I have alight AFT syndrome (Another f@cking temple) so after a morning of strolling through Chion-in and Maruyama park, im kind of done with the tourist stuff.

What better to do then have a moment of madness and decide to play dress up with a Geisha make-over! Actually, technically it was a Meiko make-over (trainee geishas in waiting.) You pick a nice kimono, get your photo taken. You can even have a little walk around Gion; the old town streets famous for where the last remaining 1000 or so real Geisha still work. If you are lucky you can spot one running to their appointments at dusk. The thought of actually me being seen in public however would be slightly cringe/mortifying, especially when I clock  myself in the mirror! Like I said on FB, I look like the worlds most sinister Geisha!

Not only are the 14 or so layers of clothes slightly claustrophobic, but the make- up and painted lips especially, are really not suited to someone of my words per minute/decibels. Graceful and submissive are not my talents.It was fun for an hour, but I have never been more relieved to scrape the creepy white make up and see my own skin again. I’m laying off the eyeliner for a while. The best make up is definitely a smile.

The other fun to be had in Kyoto was of course, Karaoke. A life’s ambition fulfilled. (The fact that it was in Japan, not just the singing bit.) A group of 2 Geordies, 2 southerners, and I, are not however the most well equipped bunch to operate the Japanese instructions on the state of the art song selector, especially after vast quantities of sake/plum wine. We spend our 90 minutes on a repeated loop of George Michael’s Faith, American Pie, and Johnny Be Good. There is video footage, but we are saving it for our first release later this year.

An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

Blasts From The Past…

November 2011
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