Tonight for the first time we ate a Japanese meal without the benefit of any of the following:
– an English menu
– a picture menu
– plastic models of food we could point to when ordering (I don’t know who makes these, but they have them for everything, including non-Japanese food like pizza)
– restaurant staff able to explain our meal to us using verbal communication, written communication, pantomime, interpretive dance or any other means.
Continue reading Gion
We are here in the city which for a large chunk of Japan’s history was the capital: that distinction has only belonged to Tokyo since 1868, while Kyoto was the capital for over 1,000 years prior to that.
Continue reading Kyoto
Here in Fukuoka we’re staying at the Grand Hyatt (strictly in honour of our anniversary; we can’t afford three weeks of it), which adjoins Canal City. Canal City is a shopping mall such as only the Japanese can create: flamboyant, luxurious and bewildering. Instead of an information desk, information robots (infobots?) patrol the centre, automatically stopping and entering info mode if you walk up to them. A series of fountains rising out of the canal (which flows through the centre of the arcade) does a choreographed routine to music every hour on the hour: on our first day we were present entirely by accident when ABBA started playing.
Continue reading Canal City
Today we took photos of the most photographed thing in Japan. We’re such tourists.
Continue reading Miyajima (or Misen: Halfway there and back again)
It’s been an exhausting first full day here. Of course we woke up at about 7am and thought we’d get up and around and not waste the morning – only to realise that we’re staying in an area that doesn’t wake up before noon. I’m psyching myself up to try the Japanese version of breakfast at our hotel: this morning I chickened out with toast, while at the table next to us a man ate rice with raw egg and fermented soy beans. And orange juice; I guess some things are universal.
Continue reading Shinsaibashi
By my calculations, according to our synchronised watches, we’ll be on a plane heading to Japan (aka Nippon) in approximately 36 hours. So I feel the time is ripe to publish my list of…
Top 10 Things I Am And Am Not Looking Forward to About Japan
Continue reading Preparation Phase