noticing birds (again)

One of my most distinct memories of Japan (of which there are many) is standing in the above ground train stations – in Kyoto and Hiroshima and maybe a couple of other places, but I don’t remember exactly – and noticing all the little birds flying around. Finches or sparrows or something – I’m not really sure, but they were tiny little things, and flew about energetically and ceaselessly. I was in awe at the presence of so much birdlife in the middle of these big cities.  Continue reading

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a thousand paper cranes

I started learning Japanese when I was in grade five. It was easy to tell that our teacher, Mr M., was rather passionate not only about the Japanese language but also about Japanese culture and everything else to do with Japan. He’d often teach us random tidbits of information that weren’t necessarily relevant/important to us learning the language. (But I suppose you could argue that fostering an interest in Japanese culture would help keep us motivated and enthusiastic about learning the words.)

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Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji & Chion-in Temples

So with my revised blogging schedule, I’ve decided to skip ahead a few days on my Japan trip recount. These, I think, I’ll most likely return to as Thursday Doors posts, or some other random post as I think of them. Today I’d like to share one of my most memorable days from the holiday: Tuesday February 14th, which KF and I spent in Kyoto.

Having travelled there by bullet train the day before, this would be our first full day in Kyoto. Prior to the trip, I did do a little bit of research about places to visit in and around the city, but on the day we arrived, we visited the tourist information centre (helpfully located near the main train station), and a very helpful guide/assistant (who also spoke really good English) gave us a few pointers about getting around town. We left with a map of the bus routes, bus passes, and a better idea of what we’d be doing the next day.  Continue reading

Mt Fuji & Aokigahara

When KF and I were planning our trip to Japan, I asked her if there was anywhere in particular she wanted to go, or anything she really wanted to see/do there. You’d be forgiven for thinking that I’m about to say Mt Fuji was top of the list (or on the list at all) but there was only one place she was set on going to, and that wasn’t it.

Well, not exactly. The place she wanted to visit is actually on Mt Fuji, so it inadvertently ended up at the top of the list. Continue reading

Thursday Doors – Otaru (part 3)

So I know I’ve already gone back to Tokyo in my post earlier this week, but I’ve got unfinished business in Otaru, so we’re heading back to Japan’s north island for this instalment of Thursday Doors. Actually just a quick post this time because, between my never-ending struggle to improve my sleeping habits (i.e. to sleep earlier) and my other writing commitments, I’m gonna have to pare down my blogging time a little. Just a little.

If you’ve been following my Japan posts, or even just my TD posts about doors in Japan, you’ll probably know that I really like snow. With that in mind, here are some doors + snow:  Continue reading