Category Archives: Japan

wpid-wp-image-1526016050jpg.jpg

Flying to Sapporo with Vanilla Air

I flew with Vanilla Air from Tokyo to Sapporo and back in December 2015

Usually when I travel around Japan I use trains. Shinkansen for longer distances and express or local trains for shorter distances. With a Japan Railpass I can ride the usually expensive Japanese trains as much as I want for a fixed price, and in Japan there is always a train leaving. Add the speed and comfort of the Shinkansen and train journeys become a great way to travel. It was first on my fourth trip to Japan that I had a domestic flight.

Continue reading

wpid-wp-image-1415519343jpg.jpg

Helios Beer in Naha, Japan

I visited Helios Beer in Okinawa in September 2016

I had seen the place during my walk through the city earlier in the day. A little too early for a beer then, there was still much I wanted to see in Naha, but now, a few hours later a beer would be just perfect. And an Okinawan beer as well. I love to check out the local beer when travelling. I had been walking for hours, having my first look at Okinawa and Naha. I was tired, needed a rest. To sit down in a bar with an ice cold Okinawan beer seemed like a nice way to relax, regain my strength.

Continue reading

wpid-wp-image-699713168jpg.jpg

A public market in Naha, Okinawa

I visited a market in Naha, Okinawa in September 2016

These arcade markets are quite normal in Japan, you can find them in almost any city. A few streets closed for traffic, a glass roof built over to keep the elements out. Inside is row after row of tiny shops and stalls. You can find anything in a market like this. Clothes, shoes, souvenirs, dolls, food, art, swords, snacks, beer and fruit. And so much more. In a market like this in Nagoya I saw a store selling crumpled up paper, the kind you use to protect fragile objects in boxes when moving. A whole store sold nothing but that. Continue reading

wpid-wp-image-713255041jpg.jpg

Naminoue Beach in Naha, Japan

I visited Naminoue Beach in Naha in September 2016

Okinawa, the southernmost archipelago in Japan, is known for its tropical weather, sandy beaches, luxurious resorts and clear water. Naha, the biggest city in Okinawa, only has the tropical weather among these. For example the beach in the city, Naminoue beach. It is small, the view is of the port, with its big cranes and industrial building. And now they have even built a bridge over the beach. A big, massive bridge for the motorway. A short cut for the cars ruining it for the beachgoers. The bridge looks horrendous as it towers over the swimmers. A big, massive, concrete slab hovering over us as we try to sunbathe.

Continue reading

wpid-wp-image-1807052252jpg.jpg

When my flight from Taiwan to Japan got cancelled

I flew from Taoyuan Airport in Taiwan to Narita Airport in Japan in September 2016

It was the day after Typhoon Megi, yesterday all flights to and from Taoyuan Airport outside Taipei had been cancelled. Today the typhoon had passed, no more rain, the winds had calmed down. A perfect day for flying. I still anticipated some chaos at the airport. Lot oftravellers, long lines. People who could not fly yesterday looking for a new flight. Planes needed to be redirected, planes not where they should be, having to get to Taiwan before being able to depart from Taoyuan Airport. Things could be slower and more chaotic than usual. I left Taipei with plenty of time, I did not want to be be in a hurry at the airport.

Continue reading

Book Review: Japan Through the Looking Glass

Japan Through the Looking Glass by Alan MacFarlane

I read Japan Through the Looking Glass by Alan MacFarlane in June 2015 and October 2016

Japan Through the Looking Glass is a study of Japan. It’s culture, ideas, way of life, way of thinking. Alan MacFarlane, an anthropologist and historian, holding a professorate at King’s College in Cambridge, is the author of several anthropological and historical books and articles on England, Nepal, China and Japan. His interest in Japan began in 1990 when offered a visiting scholarship to Japan. Since then MacFarlane has visited Japan on multiple occations, and have developed friendships with several colleagues in Japan. The book, published in 2007, is a result of these trips and friendships.

Continue reading

wpid-wp-1476042735569.jpg

Spending the Night at Narita Airport

I spent a night at Narita Airport outside Tokyo in September, 2016

As I arrived at the airport it was just after midnight. I took the escalator up from the platform, left the train station and headed towards Terminal 2. The train had been almost empty the whole way from Keisei Ueno Station in Tokyo. The airport was almost deserted. A few other passengers were here, almost more security guards and police officers. It was still just over eight hours until my flight left, I was going to spend the night at the airport.

Continue reading

wpid-wp-1476042538584.jpg

Onsen and Okonomiyaki. Afterski in Niseko

I visited Niseko in December 2015

Just lying there, all relaxed, not a worry in the world, the 42°C water encompassing you, was so relaxing. Just what my sore muscles needed. After a long day of skiing, having a bath in the onsen at the Hilton Hotel was perfect. We were cold after hours out on the slopes, our muscles were sore, we were tired. We could not wait to sink into the hot water when the skiing was done for the day. I have never enjoyed an Onsen as much as I did in Niseko.

Continue reading