So I wrote this piece for a travel writing competition. The task was to describe a local connection in seven hundred words. My essay didn’t win, and after reading the choices of the judges, I’m reluctantly minded to agree. It doesn’t distill a moment: it’s more of a jumble of thoughts, as my writing tends to be. Having said that, it was a jumble I enjoyed writing, and it peoples a quiet moment in last summer’s travelogue. So I thought I’d share it with y’all instead. Continue reading “Last September”
The steam rises, gently caressing the edges of the bamboo-pattern tiles. A pipe (real bamboo this time) brings bubbling, warm water from a hot spring. A group of friends in their twenties chat animatedly as they get ready for the plunge. An older man sinks deep into the water, eyes closed, world outside invisible. Continue reading “Hell or Hot Water”
In my more cynical moments, I’ve grumbled that all Japanese cities look the same, an endless expanse of YouMe malls, flat pack apartments and telegraph wires. Well, bollocks to that. In the first four days of my journey, I visited three cities, each with its own vibe, its own look, and its own experiences to share. Future blogs might be more about the people I meet and the events that unfold on my travels, but this one’s all about the places, three Japanese cityscapes. In lieu of more waffling, here’s part one of my travelogue. Continue reading “Darth Vader Drinks Plum Wine (Travelogue Part 1: Yokohama- Nagano- Matsumoto)”
People travel to find themselves, don’t they? Well, I get the feeling I quite like being lost. I’m gearing up to travel before Japan before long, and I’m in a weird transitory phase at the moment. Having trouble focussing on anything, having trouble relaxing, having trouble kicking back and enjoying life as it is. I’m sure this too will pass.
Anyway, in my turmoil, having finished at NOVA, I thought I’d set sail across the sea to Shikoku. The smallest and by far the least travelled of Japan’s four islands, Shikoku is nonetheless a centre of Buddhist pilgrimage, and Matsuyama is its largest city. Continue reading “Zest and Hot Water (A Trip to Matsuyama)”
This week, I took a short trip to Shimane Prefecture. I stayed for two nights and planned to document it all in a single blog. But then I went to an original, sengoku-era Japanese castle, and there’s no way I’m summing that up in a couple of paragraphs1. Therefore, I’ve taken the unspeakably decadent step of splitting my travelogue into two parts. So here it is- my first double album. (Apologies for the filler: Keith insisted we put his track with the stupid clarinet solo on there.) Continue reading “The Far Coast, Part 1: Izumo”