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cat pissed on my shirt.
only found out when i commented (after a 12 hour flight) "can you smell cat wee?”

cat dies when i get home

other wise, Onsen and skiing was a good laugh, one more day before i head into Honshu again.

cat dies,,,i really mean it this time...


okay okay, so i havnt updated for a while. basically ive been too busy to sit down and actually write anything and again am really too busy to write anything of worth here and now.

in short, pictures at my photobucket address
most of them updated, but another 40 snaps in the Tokyo subdirectory

  • Current Mood
    melancholy melancholy

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will continue the rest of the stuff when i have melty brain powers restored. until then, an interval....

"i am fluffy and bunny for you! I am fluffy and bunny for you!"



Somebody set Hiroshima up the bomb...

Right, livejournal post...the sequel...

In short, couldnt go onto Ganryu jima as that involved us heading onto Honshu and getting a ferry from there (which quite frankly i couldnt be bolloxed to do) so instead we (Tanya and I) wandered around Fukuoka a bit, took in a movie and grabbed a bite to eat. Its worth mentioning that Fukuoka is the most relaxed city ive been to so far in Japan, cool street markets and a totally chilled atmosphere. From there, the bus station and an overnight bus through to Hiroshima.

Day 4 : Arrived in Hiroshima bloody early, still dark at least and after wandering around we headed to the port and booked two tickets to Miya Jima, an island just off the coast. A twenty minute journey later and we pulled up just 5 minutes away from the floating Tori. We spent most of the day there, wandering around the temple, doing the tourist gig and heading up the mountain by cable car. By about half way through the day we were pretty knackered and headed down the mountain, picking up traditional snacks and taking pictures of monkeys along the way. The evening found us in Hiroshima city, looking for a restaurant so i could try the local Hiroshima Okonimyaki (noodle omlette).


anyway....we found the food place and it was pretty damn good, on the way back to the hotel we swung by the A-bomb dome...no, not a groovy night club, but the exact site where the Hiroshima A-Bomb exploded.

Day 5 : Headed back to the Hiroshima peace park to take a closer look at the A-bomb dome (definitely a cool name for a night club). The weather was good and the park, while not the best park i've been too in Japan, was nice enough with more than a few reminders of past grimness. Having said that, i found amongst the variety of markers, statues and plaques to the dead in hiroshima that the beauty of Japanese historical editing was still present enough to include the korean dead as 'guests' rather than prisoners of war. To quote Al Murray however, 'they done the place up nice'. Seriously though, Hiroshima is one of the nicer cities in Japan, well worth a visit and its astonishing to see how the city has changed and developed in comparison with the rest of Japan.

In the afternoon we got on the express bus to Kyoto and chilled for a few hours while Tanya watched Collateral on my PSP (which got stolen about 3 hours later). After the PSP bollocks we headed to the Gion district which was the traditional 'entertainment' area in its day (you can still go down some streets and see Maiko (trainee Geisha) making their way to the variety of Japanese Inns in the area. First we stopped by Chion-in, the temple we went too the first time we were in Kyoto, but found that although we could hear the bell chiming the 108 tolls we couldnt actually get inside. Instead we headed over to Yasaka shrine which was insanely busy and involved us queueing for about 30 minutes amongst hundreds of people waiting to make offerings and pray for the new year. While waiting in queues such as this, you get a great insight into the Japanese culture, polite but totally inconsiderate as they trample kids, random old people and pets in a bid to get near the front. Still, you gotta laugh and if not a super polite gaijin elbow to the face seems to do the trick. Once i had made offerings at the shrine, we headed up to Kiyomizu, stopping off at the variety of food stalls on the way to sample to good, great and sometimes awful Japanese festival food. Kiyomizu is a temple that overlooks Kyoto and is on the of the impressive temples i've seen - especially when lit up at night time it can take your breath away. We were out pretty late, taking the the sights, drinking Sake around small makeshift campfires...that sort of thing.

Day 6 (the 1st of January for those of you paying attention) : Headed to Nara, ancient capital of Japan (pre-Kyoto basically), more temples and more offerings and ended up buying a bunch of Kimonos in case a Samurai unit appears this year or something (that LRP btw, not real life....kinda). Many tame deer, but after Miya Jima that was a bit passe. Still it was a great way to spend New Years day, and the atmosphere was really energized. Best parts of day was giant buddha and Inari temple (which we popped into on the way back to Kyoto). By the evening we were bloody knackered and so we got on the bus at around 11. One long bus journey later we arrived in the snowy and hellishly cold Nagano city.

Day 7 : ill continue this when my brain is working.....not much more to go.

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On the road

Synopsis :

Day 1 : Travelled from Takasaki to Kumamoto (via Tokyo and Fukuoka) by train. That, in case you were wondering, is a long long way. Saw a lot of cool scenery, its pretty amazing how the weather patterns shift rapidly as you shoot down the spine of the country ; snow storms, tropical sunshine, mountains, desert and sea. Hit Kumamoto hard, went to Kumamoto-jo (castle) and a couple of shrines way up in the hills. By the time sun set i checked into my hotel and hit a few Japanese bars, made a few new friends and went to a Onsen (hot springs) around 10pm.

Day 2 : Got up damn early to hit the bus station, only to find that the bus which i wanted had already left and there wouldnt be another one for about a hour and thirty. Wandered around traditional water garden for a bit, headed back with 25 minutes to spare to find a group of Japanese people waiting for me, one of them took me to get my cheap deal ticket while the others waited to hold the bus in case it went without me, one old dear had even bought me some Onigiri (rice cakes) for the journey. Addresses were exchanged and they all (about 6 of them) saw me off onto the bus with much handshaking and waving.
Got to Reigan-do, way up in a rural mountainous area of Kyushu, walked about 2Km up a hill and eventually found the shrine secluded in a forest park. Payed my 200 yen and headed in, looked at a few of the exhibits, including the origional piece of Oar that Miyamoto Musashi used to fight his opponent Sasaki Kojiro on Ganryu-jima. Met a nice Japanese family also touring the shrine and the 500 statues of the Buddha on the surrounding hills. We walked together as the family happily translated all of the Kanji and Katakana for me, and i happily helped them with their Japanese history (they didnt really know who Musashi was). Headed out when i met a random cab driver coming in who, long story short, offered to give me a lift back to Kumamoto city for 1000 yen (5 quid), i happily agreed (having checked how much it would normally cost during the day - 7000 yen/35 quid).
Together Taxi driver, me and the couple who were also with the taxi driver wandered around the shrine (again) and then headed out into the hills again (after the Taxi driver got out of the car, ran into a nearby field and stole some oranges for us all). Halfway there the couple asked if i was hungry, i said yes and so the Taxi driver took us to a tiny little shop up in the hills which proceeded to serve the most fantastic farm house noodle...thing i have ever tried. Once finished the couple insisted in paying for my food and we headed back into Kumamoto city, not before detouring twice to an old preserved Daimyo lodging and Kumamoto-jo (again). I bid them farewell at the train station and headed off to Aso mountain.
Long story short, i got to Aso mountain (a series of volcanos) and it looked damn impressive but unfortunately it was too dangerous to take a trip up to the basin today so i turned around and headed back into Kumamoto.
One long train trip later i found myself in Fukuoka wandering through the red light district where much entertainment was to be had in watching salerymen puking over each other and people pissing in the streets, god i love civilisation!

Day 3 : Thats today, been to a couple of Shrines, Picking up Tanya at 1.30 and heading to Ganryujima (the place where Musashi and Kojiro fought). After that will be doing some wandering and overnight bus to Hiroshima.

....okay...not particulaly short....so sue me....no wait...dont...i dont have any money..

Happy Xmas and New Year everyone, if all goes to plan i should be Chilling in Kyoto for New Years night.


Its cold out here...

..and the sun is shining, as it usually does any time i have to go to work. From my balcony on the heady heights of the second floor we can see Takasaki city to my left, the white and black glass reflecting the clouds in an otherwise perfect baby blue sky. To my right the giant statue of Kannon, goddess of mercy (and other stuff), who watches stoically from her hill (Kannon Yama - literally Kannon's hill) and soaks up the best of this afternoons sunshine. There is no heat however, the sky looks like freshly polished glass and the sun is postcard perfect in it, but strangely no heat. I can see passers by on their ways to work, looking around in puzzlement at the weather, wrapped up in winter woolens and not understanding why.

Some of the things about this place are pretty frustrating, but i guess that's just me being so used to my westernized lifestyle that this place can hit me in strange ways, other things really do take your breath away. But on days like this, when i can see mountains in every direction that i look, days like this are pretty breathtaking.

such a shame i have to go to work huh?


P.S. Roll on Dec holidays until the 7th ;)
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    cold and chilled

Not an evil farmer of pies...

Doing this from my PsP so short one. Update to link below with more pics.

Summary of life right now is "ill, happy, unproductive, mushed, freezing, lil stressed and definately loved up"

be cool all, and remember, its only the end of the world :)

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    good good