A Travellerspoint blog

Japan

Beers N Cheers and Down Sizing Back Packs

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Well that's it mate, the Japanese Adventure has come to an end and the next time you hear from me will be from Seoul in South Korea. Can you believe it! I can't, but soon I will be stepping foot in South Korea. HHHhhmmmph! Who ever would have thought? Not me! So here I sit with my sleeper bus ticket to Tokyo and am just about ready to go! The last few days have been pretty cool. I've been spending time with heaps of people from all over the world. We've been doing some walking and I've shown some to some of the temples I went to last time and we've discovered a few more. But mostly I've been resting my feet by finding beautiful parks and gardens and sitting down to relax and read. It's been pretty frustrating also as I've wanted to join the others on their big walks around the town but I have had to sit and convince myself that I have already spent time here and have seen a small amount of the several thousand temples and sites there are to see here. You simply can't see everything! Nights though have been a different story. I've hit the town with quite a few people and though I've spent a little more than I wanted to I must also be thankful to Foreign English Teachers here in Japan who have allowed me to 'shout a few rounds' but whom have also allowed me several nights like in Nara, to simply have fun and not worry about a budget! Once again....Note to self....Remember what comes around goes around! Oh yeah, there was a great story last night told by Scottz the Scotsman. I really don't know if that's his real name but I dubbed him Scottz upon first beer and it's been that ever since he joined us at our Happy Hostel. In Europe he and one of his buddies had a bag piping routine where they would take off a piece of clothing after each song until they were fully naked! What a pisser mate! Today I finally got rid of my old huge sloppy back pack. Remember after giving away a heap of belongings in China I left half my stuff in a hotel room in Tokyo and have been carting the left overs around ever since, in the same big back pack. It was time to up date. So after messing around with 'Welsh Shane's' 45 Litre pack I thought that was the way to go. I would have to rid a few more things but there were several things I had never looked at since leaving Australia so it really wasn't a hassle. It cost me around two hundred Aussie dollars and that was after a small discount for my old 'used' back pack. This one sadly is a top loader but I couldn't afford any of the front loaders, plus they didn't come as small as 40 Litres. My Day Pack also folds neatly into this one. I probably will never need to store it in this one happily it shows that I even have spare room! In a 40 litre pack! So yes I am now down to a 40 Litre back pack. It is thin and more than comfortable. More importantly, it is light and only filled with the basics that I have used each day or at least several times a week including my sleeping bag which I thought about getting rid of but it cost too much money and I'm yet to hit Russia so maybe I will need it again. Believe me it came in very handy in China! The rest ....... GONE! Problem...being a top loader it is hard to lock. The answer was given by the Store Guy when he bought over a bike lock and slipped it through the top and front handles. The handles seem to be sewn on very strongly and the bike lock is strong enough so 'drug' safety at airports shouldn't be a problem as when its all connected there really isn't any room to move. Very happily I handed over my old 'Floppy Joe' and some money and left with a full, light and comfortable 40 Litre Pack! Isn't it strange how quickly we can learn yet still being reluctant to change something 'just incase!' After several months traveling I halved my load yet didn't go in search of a new pack just incase I needed the space I had just created. How stupid is that! But then after another month more I figured out the 'basics' of what a traveller really does need and today even shed more of my load. I guess it really wasn't that stupid to carry around 'air' for another month as it gave me the confidence to create even more air and downsize! Anyhow, it is time to go catch my sleeper bus to Tokyo and tomorrow I shall board a plane to South Korea! My Gawd! I'm really going to South Korea! Beers N Cheers toya....shane Accommodation: Sleeper Bus from Kyoto to Tokyo! ____________________________________________________________ ___ The soundtrack to this entry was from the Charlatans The album was 'The Charlatans' Awesome band, every album offers a different sound! What more do you need from a band! Unless that is, you like THEIR sound...ie: SOD! *****(2007) Talking about back packs and the litres one needs to travel. I can now easily and happily travel with my 28 Litre 'Air Comfort' pack for several months without a problem. I still have my 40 Litre as I need this to move the rest of my belongings to and from different schools. 'The rest of my stuff' is mainly teaching stuff, but the next time I do the 'Big Adventure' I will happily only take my 28 litre. How? Easy, microfibre cloths roll down to half of cotton and as they don't smell and wash and dry in half the time you really only need half the clothing. Wonderful, how wonderful microfibre is!

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

From a Beautiful Anna to a Wild Scotsman

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Well, my Japanese Adventure has just about ended. Once again I sit in the Ancient capital of Kyoto after having just left the Ancient 'Ancient' capital of Nara. The last couple of days have been very restful and spent with Anna who left yesterday for Tokyo to fly home to Sweden. We took a few walks around the town and whilst she was off exploring I sat in a park reading and resting my 'Anti-skin' feet until she returned to tell me what she had been up to and had found. It was a real sad Good Bye! She was a really beautiful person and great to get to know. I would have liked so much more time. Bugger! After she left I headed to the library to stay out of the rain and to see what a Japanese Library was like. I sat there for a few hours and then decided on a small walk to find some noodles and fruit to eat. While walking around I ran into a couple of Aussies who were in Nara teaching English. WOW! Note to self...must return to Japan to teach English sometime in the future! Imagine living in Nara or on on Shodoshima Island! Mi-Gawdz! Anyhow, back to reality (where ever that is! I think I left that back in Melbourne didn't I!). I ended up spending the evening at an English Pub with the Aussie guys who thankfully paid for all my drinks and offered to prior to me accepting. Why did I let them pay? I'm in freaking Japan mate! Probably the dearest country on earth to live and travel! The only beers I usually drink are the 500 ml cans that come out of a vending machine...cold too! Unless it is one or two in a noodle bar that sells beer. BUT....there is no way I can afford a beer at a bar! All in all, we had a fantastic time and I couldn't thank them enough for allowing me a night on the turps without having to worry about living on the street for the next few weeks. To them it was nothing at all as here in Japan they get paid quite well. I couldn't question them as I had run into several English Teachers during my journeys and they had all said the same thing. I must have smelt bad on those days as none of them had offered to take me to a pub and pay for my night's beer! Bastards! Ha Ha! Before we parted they gave me the address of a Hostel here in Kyoto that has no curfew and allows you to drink and smoke and come and go as you please throughout the day and night. So this morning I said a sad good bye to the Nara YHA Staff who really were the greatest Hostel Staff I have come across since arriving in Japan. So happy and so full of life! I then grabbed a taxi and then a tick back to beautiful Kyoto. The train ride back here was awesome to watch out the window. The exact opposite than the one I took what seems months ago from Kyoto to Nara. This time it was from trees and temples back into suburbs and houses and then back into the city. More beautiful than it sounds. Unlike when I first arrived in Kyoto the first time, this time I got some help from some students who were more then willing to join me on a bus ride and to help me find my current accommodation. They were great fun and so full of questions about, who I was, where I come from, where I had been travelling so far and where I was heading in the future. I gave them big Thank Yous as I would have spent sometime walking trying to find this place. I spent the afternoon at what is called the 'Kyoto Castle' which I think was once where the big guys used to run Japan from. The gardens were beautiful and I spent many hours sitting in the sun reading. I then decided to head down to my favourite Huge Mall from last time I was here. Of course stopping in at Mc D's for a spot of J-Rock and a burger or three. Here I met Ju Ju who was a wild Japanese rocker who was so over the top in love with bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. What a guy. We spent several hours in Mc D's chatting all things 70's and 80's Metal before he had to run off for band rehearsal. After leaving I soon ran into a Wild Scotsman who believe it or not had been traveling the world for the last three years playing his bag pipe. The Japanese couldn't get enough of him and left loads of Yen before they each departed. I sat to watch and listen until he finished and went over to say G'Day. After I explained that my ancestors were of the Benson/Mc Gregor Clan we hit it off straight away and went for a beer. I told him where I was staying and he quickly decided to go grab his belongings and come join me at my Hostel of Freedom! Needless to say, he's offered to share some of the huge amount of Yen I saw dropped into his case this afternoon and we will soon head off on a huge night on the town. Prior to which we are going to have a roast dinner. Meaning STEAK AND VEGGIES! Steak, my gawd, red meat! It's been so long since I could afford steak or any red meat. Don't get me wrong, I also believed him that not every day or week is like what I saw today. Some days go past with barely a dime being dropped into his case. I guess what comes around must go around! It will be my time to offer to the needy back packer in the future! So that's it for now, from beautiful Anna from Sweden to a Wild Scotsman Life on the road is full of wonderful surprises! Beers N Cheers toya....shane Accommodation: Uno House Near corner of Teramachi - Dori & Marutachi - Dori Ph: 075 231 7763 ____________________________________________________________ ___ The soundtrack to this entry was from none other than The Stone Temple Pilots The album was 'Tiny Music'

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Feet Burning N the Totaiji Temples O-Mizutori Fest

HeyHeyanda Big G'Day toya, As I awoke to grey skies I thought it was time to move on and head back to Nara and find someone 'eprofessional' to look at my feet and tell me what I should do. I know I will hear those horrible words 'STOP WALKING!' but I guess I need to hear it from someone else before I really do. Though I had done a good job of it the past few days! After thanking the staff for their happiness and a great place to stay I headed out and began walking back to the ferry terminal. What happens when there are grey skies and you have your pack on, it begins to bucket down. After taking a few steps back to towards the hostel a car stopped and an elderly Japanese Man ushered me into the car asking me where I was going. The Japanese people really are some of the most beautiful people on earth! Once at the ferry terminal the guy purchased and paid for my ticket back to Takamatsu and sat with me chatting until the ferry arrived. One thing I have found strange since arriving in Japan is that I do believe I have met more older people that can speak English than the younger generations. The return journey found me inside the ferry eating my huge bowl of Udon Noodles. Once back in Takamatsu I found the train station and was soon back on the Shinkansen speeding my way back towards Ancient Nara City. After a few local train changes I was back at the Nara-Ken Seishonen Youth Hostel. The Hostel Staff were surprisingly happy to see me hobbling my way through the door and grabbed my pack and took it to a room. I thought the hostel was full and thought nothing more of it. After paying for a few nights and catching up on where I had been and why I was walking in a strange way I hobbled my way into the sitting room to read for awhile. Soon after the Happy Japanese owner came running in to tell me my friend had returned to see if I had arrived yet. I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. 'Like the phone company' he kept saying. I replied with my usual reply to anything I don't understand, a simple..HUH..always does the job! He was so excited and almost jumping around and just as he was about to run out the door in ran Anna from Sweden who had found my pack in her room. She had lost my email address and had guessed and followed my name to each hostel along the trail we had talking about following depending on where we were to meet up next. She even went to Awa Ikeda and we both began yelling excitingly about the train journey there and onwards. But she didn't stay the night at the 'Men's Only 'The Big One' in Kochie she said with a laugh after I questioned her and explained what it was. The man at Awa Ikeda had told her about my feet and the first place she thought of was Nara as we were both supposed to come here together after meeting up prior. What a pity, Shodoshima would have been the perfect place to have met up again. Bugger! First thing was first...my feet! She helped me hobble down the street and after finding a Chemist who was eager to help me we sat to try to explain the problem. He then asked me to take off my shoes. NNNOOOO! I said with a hand waving around my nose and then grabbing my throat pretending to chock to death. Laughing he went to get some spry and soon my boots were off, sprayed and put aside. He then took one look at my feet and in a Japanese way said WOW! After examining them he got some alcohol wipes and began wiping the huge holes in the skin webbing between my toes. WAHOOO! Didn't that hurt! WAHOOO! There goes the other foot! But that I was soon to find was baby pain compared to what was about to come. He then grabbed two little tubes and after taking the caps off both put the nosal of each one at the big splits in both my big toes and without a word squeezed both at the same time. HOLIFARK! Was what came out of my mouth within a hundredth of a second. It took a few seconds for the burning sensation to even begin to die. He was soon pointing the nosals at two more splits and after Anna had almost jumped on my shoulders to hold me down he squeezed both tubes again. HOLIFARK! Was what came out of my mouth for a second time within a hundredth of a second. I grabbed the box and read the Japanese/English. It was called Arti-Skin (artificial skin) and as you can probably guess, it was a type of artificial skin that when applied burnt itself to your real skin to mend cuts as quickly as possible. I then had to sit for a short time before he allowed me to leave. I also needed to buy several more tubes and some cream and spray for my feet and boots. I then took Anna for a short hobble around the city and we sat and threw food at the deer for them to eat from far away so they didn&#129;ft come and knock us over requesting more. After finding a beautiful little restaurant and sharing a nice meal and a few 'happy to see you beers' we headed to the beautiful Todaiji Temple to watch what is known as the O-Mizutori (the Water Drawing Festival) before heading home to catch up on what we had both been up to since we last parted ways. Happy Happy Happy! *****I won't explain the O-Mizutori Festival in my own words as I'll past in a description from the Nara Web-site at the bottom of this email. What I can say is that it really was breathtaking to watch and be part of. The crowd was full of Ohh's and Argh's etc. Awesome! Poor Anna had to half carry me home and then tend to my feet as the arti-skin had also split. Make sure you take care of your feet kids, they really are important especially when you are pakkinit around many countries! <u>HERE IT IS:</u> </b> Shunie, March Ritual of Nigatsudo - Hall </b>[/i] The grounds around Todaiji Temple's Nigatsudo - Hall, which in winter are frequently sunk in still silence, with the coming of March spring suddenly to life again. Each evening at seven, huge torches are lit and carried one by one up a long flight of steps to appear out over the railing of the Hall's balcony. Below, worshippers swallow their breaths as they watch the torches, balls of flame, and forgetting themselves for a time, cry out at the beauty of the rising flames and falling, dancing sparks. [/i][/i] [/i] This is the start of the night time ceremonies of Nigatsudo's Shunie ritual, known commonly as O-Mizutori , the Water-Drawing Festival.[/i] [/i] Todaiji Temple has a long history, and in the 4th year of Jisho (1180), in an attack led by Tairano Shigehira, and again in the 10th year of Eiroku (1567), in the Miyoshi-Matsunaga battle, not just once but twice, battle fire reduced the greater part of her compound to ashes. Yet the Shunie ritual alone, as the &#129;gUndeviating Disciple was held even in these times when Todaiji's very existence was at stake. It has been passed along year by year for over 1200 years to this day without a single interruption. [/i] [/i] In this sense, it can be considered a great treasure trove for reminding us of traditional Buddhist rituals in use from the times of the Nara Period. But that is not all. From its very purpose, to pray for the peace of the nation and the welfare of the people of each current age, we can also say that its rites are constantly alive in the hearts of the Japanese people of any given time. [/i] Origin and Aims [/i]</b> The Shuni-e Ceremony at the Nigatsu-do was begun in 752 by Jitchu, the chief disciple of Roben who founded Todai-ji, the ceremony is formally a rite of repentance to Eleven-headed Kannon in which penitence for one's misdeeds is sought in front of an image of Eleven-headed Kannon. [/i] [/i] According to the teachings of Buddhism, due to the Three Poisons - covetousness, anger and ignorance that are the true nature of humans we commit myriad offenses which accumulate as contaminants of the spirit; as a result, we become unable to see the truth and we also become ill. [/i] [/i][/i] [/i] Through the ceremony one can repent one's misdeeds and attain a pure mind and body, do away with the misfortune and woes that are the retribution for one's evil deeds, and obtain well-being. Although the Shuni-e is a rite of repentance, it is important to remember that when it was begun it was a ritual performed on behalf of the state. Natural disasters, epidemics and rebellions were all seen as illnesses of the state and the ritual was performed in order to cure such illnesses, to gain a fruitful harvest of the Five Crops, and to achieve peace under heaven, in other words to guarantee the welfare of the people.[/i][/i] Beers N Cheers toya....shane Accommodation: & ; ;nbs p; Nara - Ken Seishonen Youth Hostel 72-7 Ikenoue Handa Hileaki - Chu NARA JAPAN _________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was DJ Seb Fontaine The album was 'Prototype 4' Awesome!

Todai Ji Temple 710AD

Todai Ji Temple 710AD


Todai Ji Temple 710AD (1)

Todai Ji Temple 710AD (1)


Todai Ji Temple 710AD (2)

Todai Ji Temple 710AD (2)

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Bobbing Boats, Dying Feet N Perfect Weather

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, What did I do today? I could have gone to the soy sauce Museum. Yes, not only is Shodoshima famous for is noodles, olives and the movie set for Twenty-Four Eyes, but I now find out it is also very famous for the production of soy sauce. Cool, I guess! I could have gone to the Peacock Farm. I could have hiked. I could have visited one or three of the many temples. But I did none of the above. I simply walked across to my boat bobbing seat and watched my boat bobbing up and down for most of the day. The sun shine was awesome and I aired my dying feet whilst they weren't in a bucket full of salt water. I've decided to head back to Nara tomorrow and go visit a doctor or chemist. I really would have liked to have walked around a lot of the paradise of an island but instead I've spent most of it sitting and watching a boat bobbing up and down. This time I am happy to have done this as it was time for a stop and relax day or two both mentally and physically. I don't want this to happen in South Korea. A new country to visit and wonder. A new culture to immerse myself into. It will be time to begin walking again! Beers N Cheers toya.....shane Accommodation: Shod oshima - Olive Youth Hostel Olive-mura, Uchinomi-cho, Shoz Kagawa 761-4434 Japan Ph: 81-879826161 _________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by one of the music worlds Greatest Gods! The man was David Bowie The album was 'The Best of David Bowie'

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

The Twenty-Four Eyes Movie Set N Boat Bobbing!

HeyHeyanda Big G'Day toya We all rose early and after fruit and somen noodles for breakfast we boarded a bus and made our way to the Twenty-Four Eyes Movie Village. Here we spent many wonderful hours together visiting each site, riding little peddle carts, feeding s fish that was more like a half fish/half shark 'thing', eating more somen noodles and for me the most memorable part was sitting to watch both the old and the new versions of the film. The night in Awa Ikeda I had no idea what anyone was saying, today I had two translators who translated every sentence for me. It was such a beautiful time! The weather was perfect! In fact everything was perfect! <u>Here is a write up of the movie I found</b> </u> 1954 original [/i] It was a pleasure for me to see 'Nijushi No Hitomi or Twenty Four Eyes'. It is a film I've really wished to see in the last four years but I couldn't do it until today. I heard about this movie when I lived in Japan and visited Shodoshima Island, where "Eiga Mura" (Cinema Village), the place this film was made, can still be visited and the atmosphere of the past can be enjoyed. [/i] [/i] The life of the rural teacher, from the start of her career (in the mid 20's) to the time she retakes her teaching position after having become a widow (in the 40's, after the end of WWII), is an interesting guide to discover the traditional life and mentalities in the small islands of Seto (Japan Inland Sea). [/i] [/i] A good point for this film: it is usually said that this is an "anti-war" film. Well, it is true that the teacher shows a clear position against the wars Japan was involved (the war against China and the later Pacific War against the USA), but this film mustn't be considered as a pacifist pamphlet: the honest position of the teacher against the war is just one more detail in this complete description of how life should be in rural Japan during those difficult prewar, war and postwar years. [/i] [/i] A film that should be shown in every school around the world. [/i] [/i] After our movie village adventure we headed back to the Hostel. They guys grabbed their bikes and I headed back across the road to watch my little boat bobbing up and down. Dinner tonight was spent pretty much the same as last night. We headed out for noodles but added some vegetables and more beer. It really has been a wonderful time meeting the guys. They will take off tomorrow and continue on their ride around Shikoku and I will most probably sit and watch my little bob up and down all day. Beers N Cheers toya.....shane Accommodation: Shodoshima - Olive Youth Hostel Olive-mura, Uchinomi-cho, Shoz Kagawa 761-4434 Japan Ph: 81-879826161 _________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was an album called 'Real World' It's a various artists release but full of beauty and moving World Music. Great to listen to as you ponder what you have watched on the news a few hours prior!

Shidoshima Kusabe Island

Shidoshima Kusabe Island


Shidoshima Kusabe Island (1)

Shidoshima Kusabe Island (1)


Shidoshima Kusabe Island (10)

Shidoshima Kusabe Island (10)


Shidoshima Kusabe Island (11)

Shidoshima Kusabe Island (11)


Shidoshima Kusabe Island (12)

Shidoshima Kusabe Island (12)


Shidoshima Kusabe Island (2)

Shidoshima Kusabe Island (2)


Shidoshima Kusabe Island (3)

Shidoshima Kusabe Island (3)


Shidoshima Kusabe Island (4)

Shidoshima Kusabe Island (4)


Shidoshima Kusabe Island (5)

Shidoshima Kusabe Island (5)


Shidoshima Kusabe Island (6)

Shidoshima Kusabe Island (6)


Shidoshima Kusabe Island (7)

Shidoshima Kusabe Island (7)


Shidoshima Kusabe Island (8)

Shidoshima Kusabe Island (8)


Shidoshima Kusabe Island (9)

Shidoshima Kusabe Island (9)

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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