What can I say about Japan... absolutely amazing! Travelling from west to east I went through, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Kyoto and Tokyo where I stayed in my first hostel with 7 other people, visited and learnt all about the A-Bomb in Hiroshima, stayed in a Ryokan (a room 2.5m X 1.5m), went to Fuji-san, saw a Geisha, got my first haircut away where he shaved my ears!, witnessed a bamboo cutting ceremony, visited countless temples and gardens, went to the baseball, ate Fugu (the poisonous puffer fish), had a look at all the techy stuff in Tokyo, met the goth kids at Harajuku Station, met up with Erica and Nathan (work mates who live in Tokyo) at a weird but really fun bar and pretty much got lost everyday in Tokyo and Kyoto where the subway maps look like a multi-coloured bowl of spaghetti. I have so many stories to tell but here are just a select few.
After asking many people who I had met in my travels, I finally found two people who would come and try Fugu with me, Jonathan and Sayaka. An information tourist lady recommended a place for us to eat Fugu even though the season for eating it is during Dec-Feb. I can remember walking into the restaurant quite nervous about what I was going to be putting in my mouth. However we were there for Fugu and Fugu is what we ate, we had it raw, deep fried and boiled along with many other side dishes to compliment the expensive but cheaper than I thought set menu. What did it taste like? Well I liked raw Fugu best as it had its own taste where as the deep fried and boiled just tasted like normal fish to me but still very tasty. There are rumours of tingling of the lips and in extreme cases going into comas, but we were all fine and full by the end of the meal.
Staying in Tokyo, there was one morning where I woke up and said to myself "I think i'll go to Mt Fuji today." Lucky I did because that was the only half cloudy day I had whereas the rest of my stay was rain and full cloud. I took a cable car up to another hill where there is a popular lookout for this awesome spectacle and when I got there you couldn't see the mountain at all. Cloud everywhere. I was so dissapointed but I decided just to sit there and see if the cloud would go away. And in bits it did. I never got to see the entire mountain at once, but throughout the 3 hours staring at the mountain listening to my iPod, I pretty much saw it all taking some great photos. I had planned to climb it, but climbing season starts in 2 weeks time and it is closed up until then.
Walking and walking and walking
Everywhere I went in Japan I walked, I reckon I walked about 8hrs a day and there was at least 2 of those hours spent working out where the hell I am. I saw many of the popular touristy areas, and a lot of the side streets and back alleys. My accomadation one night closed its doors at 1am and I missed the curfew and the last train, so I did an all-nighter roaming Tokyo in the wee hours. The Japanese people are very friendly and helpful and they usually pointed me in the right direction including the train ticket lady who ran a good 50m after me to tell me I was going the wrong way, she was so puffed... he he he.
China is next, Shanghai, Xian and Beijing for around 3 weeks.