Big in Japan 9

Our last day in Japan was a drizzly, overcast one in Tokyo. We had pretty much avoided rain the whole time we were there, so we couldn’t complain. We set out to see some more of the capital, thinking that indoors might be best. When we were planning the trip, we had thought about visiting… Continue reading Big in Japan 9

Big in Japan 8

We returned to Tokyo for the last few days of our holiday, and determined to see as much as possible. On our first afternoon, we walked up to the Rappongi Hills complex, a huge high-end shopping mall with restaurants, cinemas and a convention centre. It wasn’t much different from those you will see anywhere, though… Continue reading Big in Japan 8

Big in Japan 6

I Kanazawa railway station is quite something. After the Shinkansen glided in, coming to a stop at precisely the correct second, we were soon able to see its bold modern design, dominated by the Tsuzumi-mon gate, shaped like the traditional Japanese drums, but also, we thought, reminiscent of a temple gateway. The main interest in… Continue reading Big in Japan 6

Big in Japan 5

Taxis in Japan, we found, were beautifully clean, retro-sixties style monuments to kitsch, replete with head-rest doilies and cute seat covers. For our day trip from Kyoto to Hiroshima, we needed an early start, and our helpful host arranged a taxi. Our man was waiting as we emerged five minutes before the appointed time from… Continue reading Big in Japan 5

Big in Japan 4

Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, enchants the visitor at every turn. And it’s not just the temples and shrines. The modern buildings, too, command attention, none more so than the railway station, which we saw quite a bit of in our travels. It’s a massive glass-fronted edifice in the centre of the city, and… Continue reading Big in Japan 4

Big in Japan 3

Onto the Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto. Note the position of the apostrophe: we are talking about one philosopher here, Nishida Kitaro, a professor at the university, who walked here daily in the nineteen twenties, and whose work, rather pleasingly, is described as “path-breaking.” Nishida’s best-known philosophical concept is “Absolute Nothingness” but it’s difficult to imagine… Continue reading Big in Japan 3

Big in Japan 2

We took the Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto from Tokyo. These trains are an absolute delight: spacious, smooth, quiet, incredibly fast, and punctual to the second. Mobile phones are banned completely, except in the space between carriages, and even then, you are expected to keep it quiet. The result is a carefree and relaxing journey,… Continue reading Big in Japan 2

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