Archive for Japan 2011
Wow. It was a year ago today. A whole year has passed. The trip’s memory is still fresh in my mind. It changed me forever and more than I’d ever think it could. It set me on track to begin an amazing journey. If you’re interested in what I did for those three weeks a year ago, be sure to check out my diary.
OK, so you’re probably bored of me writing about the big J. I meant to publish this last Sunday; the one year anniversary of the Japanese Tsunami. It seems incredible it’s already been a year and my trip feels like it was ages ago. I don’t really have much to add – the hospitality I was shown a mere six weeks after the event will remain with me for the rest of my life.
No-one deserves to experience a destructive event like that, especially not the kind and proud Japanese people. This is simply a post to outline my respect and sympathy to all the families ripped apart on 11th March 2011.
Pray For Japan indeed.
So having processed over 4,000 photos and tidied up the entities, The Japan Travel Diary 2011 is finished. Don’t know what it is? Check it out here – it’s pretty self explanatory. It was created to chronicle the way I changed over the solo-trip, and as a helpful resource for anyone who may choose to visit the wonderful country themselves.
It’s packed with helpful sightseeing suggestions, things to eat, places to stay – all the while supported by the photography I took.
All I can say is enjoy, and roll on Nepal 2012. Oh, I never mentioned that – Nepal – 2012 – Me.
With my Japan travel diary slowly taking shape, and the photography processing beginning, it’s only fair I begin to share my photographs here. The light in Tokyo on my first day wasn’t ideal (especially at the mid-day period I was shooting). In fact, it was in a shaded park in Harajuku which made it even harder to expose. The below are but a small selection of what will eventually be shared.
6.54AM, Ueno – Just got woken up by an aftershock, only lasted a few seconds mind you. At least it wasn’t as bad as that snoring I could briefly hear through the wall.
1.38PM, Mt. Fuji – It’s cold 2,300m above see level – I’m glad I ran back to the hotel for a jumper. The tour’s been really good so far – there’s only 14 of us and the guide is good. She speaks very good English and is very sweet. It’s clear today, both at the foot of the mountain and at the fifth station. That means stunning views of the summit and the area around the mountain. We’re just on the way to Hakone for lunch, to look at some volcanic activity and then a boat cruise in a lake. It’s turning out to be a really nice last day.
I’ve talked to a British family on and off through the day and it’s quite funny, having settled in, to see them in the culture shock state I was in when I first arrived. It’s interesting what three weeks makes for your perceptions and comfort zone.
6.09PM, Last Shinkansen of the Trip – What an awesome end to my trip. Wherever we went in Hakone, we could see Mt. Fuji. The tour guide said this was very rare – it’s an amazing mountain that juts into the sky. After lunch, and having made friendly with Sharon, a woman I was plopped on the same table with, we went to the sulfur volcanic activity area up a gondola ride. It was cool apart from the smell (utter rotten eggs). We then took a faux pirate ship across a beautiful lake before being dropped off at the nearby station. As per usual, Facebook saves the day for keeping in contact with Sharon.
It’s remarkable to consider just what I’ve seen the last three weeks. It’s been an incredible trip – everything about Japan, from the people to the culture, the kindness shown to me, the amazing sights I’ve seen, the food, stories, new friends – it has changed me. Self confidence, a desire not to just sit in silence wherever I go (although London might prevent that on occasion), the need not to be terrified of food I’ve never tried – it is all literally life changing. Who knows what awaits me in the future, but hopefully God blesses me with the ability to continue traveling healthily.
Life in London is always hectic but in my busy life it is important to remember how lucky I am in life. The important things – friends, family, food – should always overlook the trivial. Always take life as it is, but make sure it’s with a smile.
6.55PM, Kanda – Forgot to say, I bought the most awesome wooden frog ever. Best memento for my desk to accompany the owl and pigeon.