Miscellaneous Travel

Britain

“How are you doing?”, I asked the receptionist at “Macdonald Hotel”. Bemused at first, he eventually answered “I’m good”. Apparently, my American manners were just that, and this was London. I dragged my suitcase up the narrow and worn stairway, to get to my room, which was reasonably priced, in part because of this being the third of January. It was already time to go to bed. Day 2 Portobello Market, dealing mostly in antiquities,…

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Japan

Tokyo, revisited

Japan day 17 I paid the “Tokyo Photography museum” a visit, which had a decent collection of old and new photos by some of the big names. There was also a large special exhibition on birds, which I found somewhat less interesting as that’s not really my thing.  Next I visited a nearby cat café, with over a dozen cats lounging about in a quite small room. they were pretty cute, though only one of…

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Japan

Fujisan

Japan day 16 Slept remarkably well in my cabin, but got up at half past two in the night to start hiking up Mount Fuji. It was pitch black except for city lights far below thinly veiled by clouds and the stars above. Soon some lights far up the mountain came into view, which apparently were stations/huts. There you could take shelter in inclement weather, stay for the night and/or stack up on snacks and…

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Japan

Matsumoto

Japan day 15 The low/midrange hotel that I stayed at served breakfast at the tenth floor, which meant a nice view if the comparatively low-rise Matsumoto and all if the surrounding mountains. Amongst others there was natto for breakfast, which is fermented soybeans, and I guess very much an acquired taste. Somewhat like tempeh, but with the bitterness turned up to eleven. There was also something like the takoyaki balls but sweet and with pieces…

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Japan

Kamikochi

Japan day 14 Slept badly in the communal sleeping room, though that hasn’t really been a major problem for me before. Got probably four hours before I got up to watch a magnificent sunrise from the mountain ridge. In the far distant i saw a completely triangular shape but with the tip removed . It looked like a cardboard cutout, but a female hiker confirmed that it was in fact Mount Fuji.  Right after that,…

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Japan

Yarigatake

Japan day 13 Half past five I set off with little faith in getting where I wanted, which in general is on top of things, this time literally.  In particular on top of Yarigatake a.k.a. Mount yari.  I had caught a cold and wasn’t feeling that well. Also, thunderstorms were predicted from before noon. I could always turn around, though.  It started off with a winding gravel/forest road, which later turned into a quite jumbled…

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Japan

An onsen in the mountains

Japan day 12 The majority of the day was spent in various forms of public transport. It hadn’t been that easy to figure out as Google Maps were missing important busses and various operators driving in the remote Northern Japanese Alps, where I was heading.  It mostly worked out, but when I finally made it to somewhere in the midst of the Alps with only a few buildings around, and the bus had already left.…

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Japan

Gold and humbleness

Japan day 11 Back in Kyoto, where I had slept, I first set out for Kinkaku-ji. A three-storied Buddhist temple located near a pond and surrounded by a finely cultivated Japanese garden. The name literally means “The Golden Pavilion” and that’s not exaggerating as the to upper stories were covered in gold leaf. It was incredibly shiny and it seemed almost supernatural with so much gold. The building itself wasn’t open for visitors, though, but…

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Japan

Oh deer!

Japan day 10 A tram and a train brought me the twenty-ish miles to Nara, and a bit of walking brought me the remainder of the way to the central park, Nara-koen.  Said park was home to innumerable docile deer that that hung out near the small booths selling special crackers for tourists to buy and hand them.  The deer were mostly cute, but also pooped a lot, and let me just say that I…

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Japan

Vermilion gates and stone foxes

Japan day 9 After grabbing breakfast and a train I soon stood in front of a seemingly infinite stretch of red torii-gates. This was Fushimi-Inari, a Shinto shrine, and probably Kyoto’s best known landmark.  It was on the foot of a small mountain, so of course I wanted to get to the top of it.  The forecast said 38 degrees Celsius and that it felt like 45 due to the humidity, so I was soon…

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