So I lost Mt. Fuji

Out of pure laziness, I decided to use a blog to document my 3-week trip to Japan. I didn't get nearly enough internet access to be writing at the time. However, here, with the help of freshly developed photographs I can hopefully recapture my day-to-day of Japanese activity, culture and cuisine.

And yes, you will read that one fateful day, we did in fact lose Mt. Fuji.

First Glimpse

You'll have to forgive me, something got the better of me and I didn't get beyond that first post, now it's been a while since my return and I'm not sure what I'll remember. The (unexpectedly) long break in putting together this sequence of Japanese adventures in this blog was for want of a photograph here and there, just to break it up. I've got quite a few films waiting to be developed and even then I'd have to remember to get a CD. Of course, there is a small selection of pictures taken on my phone on my Flickr, but they are mostly, arbitrary snaps of pedaloes and silly sunglasses.

Day 2: The First Outing

The first few days (after our day of rest) were a little bit of a blur in that we were adjusting, mostly to the time difference but also, I think to the fact that we were very much in Tokyo, Japan. I say we, I really am talking for myself, I don't know how my sister was feeling.

My aim for my time in Tokyo was to soak in the hypermodernity; to understand how the far East (geographically) has interpreted the West and to what extent it transcends 'our' technology, 'our' advancement of society into its own outer realm. I perhaps, didn't use these words to my aunt and uncle on our arrival. I think I told them I wanted to see 'lights'. In a lot of ways it really was about the lights, the images of a Tokyo cityscape that had always captured my imagination and desire to see the city. It was the neon kanji which set it apart from other pictures of urban evenings.

The first day out was fairly brief, and I think perhaps it needed to be. I had been racking my brains trying to figure out the area of Tokyo that was supposed to be pretty hip (I'd left my notebook back in England; every scrap of research into Japan's non-guidebook sights were lost). I knew it began with an 'S', it was a fairly long name but it just wasn't recognisable. Any name my aunt said - Shibuya, Harajuku was just not it. As a result, these were pretty much all that we ever saw of Tokyo - it was an incredible yet vast surrounding.

Anyway, thanks to my lack of priority and disorganisation we went to Shinjuku. The nearest main spot to our aunts house and the heart of Tokyo's business district. Forget London's gherkin, Tokyo had built an incredible space-gherkin. I'd explain it better if I could look at the photo. I'd also insert a photograph of one of my first real view of the city. We went up a stomach-turning lift to the top of a public building. In it, alongside a gift shop with a 180 degree view of the city. (I think there's a better, 360 degree building somewhere but alas, we did not go there). We looked out at a cluster of enormous buildings, bigger than I'd ever seen (I've never been to New York or anywhere like that), we looked out on an unfortunately cloudy day but started to get at least a sense of just where we were.

After that little stationary tour of images, we had a little wonder around Harajuku. It might have been on this day we visited our first Shinto Shrine, hidden beyond a maze-like tree-lined pathway. It was a brand new image to us (that was later to become really rather commonplace) with its huge red gate leading to a (usually) restored/reconstructed ode to their historic religious practice. This is where we first learned to wash our hands before entering (insert photo); it is where we first removed our shoes to step into the shrine; where we first watched various people white and Asian tourists or not perform the ritualistic clap and bow, giving a coin or two to their God.

Not much else happened on this day, we had another pleasant evening in watching DVDs of extraordinary Eastern European prog and bizarre Gogol Bordello like comic groups. We drank beer and enjoyed learning just what the fruits of a music-obsessive can be when they have travelled the world so extensively (ie. my uncle).