Japan

Tokyo
October | When I first came to Tokyo in 2011 to visit my then girlfriend I wasn’t too impressed with the city. I was shocked how utterly replaceable people were. Everyone was wearing dark suits, white shirts and the same shoes in probably the same size. All were literally collapsing on the trains after another life draining day at work. […]
In 2017 I’m still not in love with Tokyo at all. While I truly enjoy parts of the city, the incredible friendliness of the people, the bold architecture and of course the food, in general I find it a rather depressing place to be, mainly for its street life that is lacking anything that would resemble life.


Chiba
October | Inside the crazy world of a Vipassana Meditation Retreat.
Deep in the Japanese countryside, surrounded by nothing but peace and calm, harmony and greenery lies the ground of a Vipassana Meditation retreat that I have recently joined. You need to be a bit lucky to get on one of these 10-day, “noble silence” courses. Noble silence means you are not supposed to speak, interact, or make eye contact with other participants during the course. You are supposed to approach this as if you were alone.
Just you, your meditation, your thoughts and your teacher.


Fujikawaguchiko
November | We spent a couple of days in Fujikawaguchiko. The name is an amalgamation of Mount Fuji and lake Kawaguchi. The town, which has a population of 25,742, isn’t the most exciting town there ever was, but Mount Fuji makes a glorious backdrop. Lake Kawaguchi, that is one of 5 lakes in the area, made us forget we are in Japan. We might as well have been in Switzerland, Austria or in the Bavarian hinterland.


Hitch-hike to Osaka [A guest commentary by Eva]
November | Ever since I’ve read Hokkaido Highway Blues by Will Ferguson – the only book ever during which I laughed out loud while reading – I wanted to hitch-hike in Japan. Ferguson describes the behaviour of the overly polite Japanese people in such a cute way, you just want to hug them all.


Osaka
November | It feels like I wasted Osaka. Being one of the cities I was really looking forward to visiting again, having sweet, sunny memories from my last visit, Osaka didn’t really deliver for me this time. When the young college couple we hitch-hiked with dropped Eva and me off at a subway station so we could take the train to go to our Airbnb, all was still fine. It was night time but the streets seemed lively enough compared to Tokyo and people even dared to make some human noise, such as laughing. I was still excited then being back and all. But autumn turned the city cold, bland, grey and wet. The stunning autumn colours we had witnessed in Fujikawaguchiko were nowhere to be seen and I wasn’t really motivated to leave the house. I’m sure had we come in summer, Osaka would have been a whole different story.


Vietnam
December | We are currently in Vietnam.

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