Vermillion – Japan, Intermission B

It’s an overcast sunrise on our final day in Kyoto as I pace down still and sombre streets towards the Lawson (hail, Lawson!) next to Kyoto Station. Despite teetering on the brink of total exhaustion and with only four hours sleep at best, I’ve somehow managed to get myself out of bed on time to take first pick of the freshly delivered goods at the combini. I proceed to stuff my backpack with everything that catches my eye, knowing I’ll need all the energy I can to get me through the rest of the day.

It’s Mt. Inariyama today and it’s the first time since touching down in Japan that I’m alone.

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Gently Down – Act 2 Scene 3

It’s our final day in Kyoto before we head back east for the bright lights of Tokyo. After our ludicrously ambitious Miyajima and Hiroshima day trip yesterday we’ve woken very late in the day and as a result won’t have enough time to do everything we’d hoped in Osaka, our planned excursion for today. The main reason for this is that I’ve managed to book a special dinner at one of Kyoto’s top-rated restaurants. Before any of that though, we couldn’t ignore the massive temple we’d been passing every day, on our way to the train station.

Let’s get started… Continue reading “Gently Down – Act 2 Scene 3”

Kintsugi – Japan, Act 2 Scene 2

By the time I wake up properly I’m standing on the Shinkansen platform at Kyoto Station, waiting for our 6 AM bullet train from Tokyo which will take us to Hiroshima. From there we board a local express train that will take us on towards Itsukushima – also known as Miyajima island.

Waiting on the platform looking east towards the mountain peaks of Otowayama and Gyojagamori.

I don’t know it yet, but there’s a feeling. Today will be something special.

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Still Raining, Still Dreaming – Japan, Act 2 Scene 1

The gentle patter of lukewarm warm rain contrasts the cooling clang of Japanese wind chimes as I awake on the first morning in Kyoto. The high rise silhouettes of Tokyo’s cityscape haunt my vision as the lashes of my eyes flutter and I focus in on a piercing grey column of light that splits the curtain folds of our Japaning apartment. My mind is completely still for a second before I roll into the duvet and shut my eyes.

‘…Wake up, you’re dreaming!’ Continue reading “Still Raining, Still Dreaming – Japan, Act 2 Scene 1”

ToKyoto Makuai – Japan, Intermission A

Reinvigorated from the fresh sea air of the Shōnan coast I find myself scrambling around the apartment on the morning of our third full day in Japan, worriedly tidying our possessions away into the single large suitcase we brought with us.

The only recurring nightmare I have had as an adult is playing out in my waking life. A sock under the bed, a charging cable that slipped down behind some furniture. I catch them all but none of these things really matter. We’ll be returning to this same apartment four days from now after we spend the rest of our week in Kyoto. Continue reading “ToKyoto Makuai – Japan, Intermission A”

By The Sea – Japan, Act 1 Scene 3

It’s a beautiful morning when we awake from our neon-infused Akihabara dreams… Except, it’s closer to midday. Shit!

We throw ourselves together and make haste to Tamachi Station. As we fly through the turnstiles we find a train waiting at the platform ready to take us to Shinagawa Station, where we can change from the Yamanote Line over to the Yokosuka Line.

At the end of that line? The sea-side retreats of Kamakura and Enoshima.

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Electric Town – Japan, Act 1 Scene 2

Akihabara – or Electric Town as it is known – is probably the image most of us have in our minds when we think of Tokyo.

A brightly lit multi-floored media madness that extends as far as the eye can see in all directions. Impressive by day and dazzling by night. The area is abuzz with the hustle and bustle of tourist, geek and otaku from around the world. If there were ever a mecca for anime, manga and video games, this would be it.

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