I am coming to you, dear readers, from the Shinkansen service destined for Hiroshima*. I am travelling again!
This time I’m going around Japan. I’ve been here for just over a week already, I had a few days in Tokyo on my own before I joined a tour group last Tuesday. I had hoped to get to the Studio Ghibli Museum on my second day in the city, but I managed to get food poisoning.
Harajuku fashion district in Tokyo
I had thought I would be safe in Japan; it’s a highly developed country with an obsession with cleanliness, but maybe I just got lucky. I managed to get through most of India without any issues and ended up having an issue with the food on the airplane to come home!
My impressions of Japan so far are that it is a highly organised and highly regulated society. The rules are well-known and they are strictly adhered to by most. I’m on a package tour which allows me to have a planned itinerary and tour guide available to answer my random questions.
I haven’t yet had any conversations with him about the state of Japan’s drug problems, or societal problems other than the ageing population, which was discussed briefly.
I had a surreal experience at the train station in Kanazawa. The local police were handing out small packets of tissues which had a leaflet inside with mug shots of wanted criminals. The police were so jolly and polite I wasn’t sure what was going on.
The landscapes here are completely different to those back at home. It’s probably the most extreme difference I’ve seen in all the travel that I’ve done. Geologically I suppose that Japan must be relatively young; it’s mountains are all high and steep, and haven’t yet shrunk with the passage of time and the erosion of wind and water.
It’s autumn here and the leaves are turning. While the pines remain evergreen, the maples, plum and cherry trees are putting on a show of colour; red, magenta, orange, yellow. Hillsides covered in this array of colours are breathtaking and remind me that I’m a long way from the uniform grey-green of eucalypts.
Maple tree in the Hida Folk Village, Takayama
I have almost two weeks more here, I will try to get time to put up another post or two, but it will really depend on scheduling and energy. I’ve started doing NaNoWriMo again this year and so far I’m keeping up with the daily word counts. Travel time is particularly useful for making up my word counts! The story is slowly coming together. I went into this year’s novel with less plot development than I’ve had in previous years, but I think it will come together in the end. Probably in the second or third drafting stages.
I’m having a lovely time so far, food-poisoning notwithstanding, and I’m looking forward to my next two weeks and the projects I’ll be coming home to after that.
*The train didn’t have wi-fi, so I’m posting later.