JAPAN – Beyond Sushi and Sashimi
The Land of the Rising sun, though briefly above a sea of clouds, is truly amazing from the freezing summit of Mt Fuji. The land with ancient and unique temples with rising tiered pagodas and manicured Zen gardens ; densely populated metropolis where neon light compete with blurry stars ; cosy eateries and complicated menus; ever punctual and speeding bullet trains and the irreplaceable Japan Rail Pass; exquisite cuisine and culinary delights ; beautiful and immaculate “Geisha”; silky kimono clad women and school girls in short skirts ; tidy “Ryokan” and “Minshuku”; mouth- watering and petite sweets ; soothing naked hot baths in “Onsen” ; additive manga; colourful anime and the constant banging sounds of Pachinko machines; the food – “Tempura”, “Sushi”, “Omuraisu”, “Yakatori”, “Okonomiyaki”, “Sashimi”, “Gyoza”, “Bento”, “Agedashidofu”, “Tsukemono” and more. However, the remarkable people – their politeness, work ethics, congeniality, helpfulness, language and beautiful smiles – had been a highlight of this journey. This is extraordinary……… Japan.
Japan had intrigued me since school where I had to memorise the economic and historical facts, from the Shogunate to the then modern and industrial Japan. My interests were the ancient capitals of Kyōto and Nara – their array of temples with expansive grounds and towering pagodas, manicured Zen and gravel gardens. Then, there were the Samurai, Ninja and “Ultraman”. The Geisha and women in Kimono with dainty feet were all etched in my mind. Finally, with my family in tow, the long-awaited journey had come to frutation. There was a plan to see and do – climb, walk, taste and reflect. This, early fall in September, is our family’s foray into modern and ancient Japan.