“…amazes me to think that you can learn so much about someone from talking with them, even for just a little bit.”
In this post, I was originally going to start from where I left off in Part I (Japan: The Land of The Rising Culture). Even though there was a large cap in between the releasing of parts, I thought I would read over my journal (that I kept while I was over there) to help jog my memory into writing up this second part.
It was very quickly apparent that trying to recollect the movements from 2015 would be somewhat difficult. However, reading though the pages I began to release that some of the mentality, strength, wisdom and attitudes written were actually quite profound. In saying this, I would like to share those special journal entries with you…
PS. Please mind the bad grammar and punctuation of the entries, they’re typed up as they are written.
Last full day in Shinjuku, Tokyo before I head down to Gotemba near Mt Fuji. And, I have to say that I am glad… I’m over it.
I went to Tokyo city earlier to see the Imperial Palace (which was unfortunately closed due to renovations, which was sort of a disappointment). But, the walk through the park was nice.
If I had gotten something to eat before I got there, the loop around wouldn’t have been so intense for me. (Which resulted in me eating crap).
The park was very nice though, with some lovely bridges & cherry blossoms. And, Tokyo City was lovely too, not full of lights, sounds & people everywhere, just nice and spread out. It was a little like what I expected it to be in all honesty.
It does not help that my hotel room is smaller than a shoe box, although I shouldn’t complain, there is a bathtub. And, it feels good to be able to have a hot bath.
I am not completely over this trip, it’s had good moments. Just over the busyness of the inner city. And, I kind of miss home, being in my surroundings, having space, my bike… I am actually feeling slightly lonely. But, I am sure I will probably grow past that eventually after I leave Tokyo.
The journey to Gotemba was easy enough, just one express train via the Romancecar. And, as expected, it’s more countryside than Tokyo. Not a huge amount to see and do, but still enough to keep me out of my seedy hotel room for a day.
I like the fact that it is a bigger room than the last one, but the minute I walked into the elevator and the hallway towards my room I regret not booking a better hotel. I had to open up my window right up to make an attempt to let out the stale smoke/ mould smell out of my room. Kind of makes me think they probably smoke while cleaning these rooms. And, there is stuff all over the place, not what I expected. Walk into my room to find tacky wallpaper & a mouldy bathroom that I would rather not take a bath in let alone spend very much time in altogether.
It’s a place to stay none the less. It’s nice though, quiet & extremely close to Mt Fuji, which makes it all the worthwhile.
It kind of reminds me of downtown surburbia. A bit more of a poorer part of Japan. It feels slightly seedy walking back to my hotel room after the sun has gone down, with the foreigner guys being ruckus in the quiet streets looking for bars.
It’ll be good to get out & around to see the parks & shrines. Weather reports say there will be rain the whole time I am here, I just hope it’s not heavy.
NOTE TO SELF: Next time I book a holiday overseas, make sure I read the hotel reviews before booking.
A very windy, foggy, cold day today in Gotemba. Tried to figure out how to get a bus up to Peace Park this morning, but gave up & got the bus to Gotemba Premium Outlets, which was ok, nothing overly exciting. Just a bunch of brand shops with expensive things. I bought a bit of chocolate and candy. And, as of now, it has all been finished.
Had a bit of an afternoon nap when I got back, this is after knocking off a bag and a half of candy. It was really a bit of miserable day.
I woke up and talked myself into going for a bit of a walk around to the area. It’s a really big contrast to what Tokyo is, not as busy and ritzy looking. Instead, it’s old, run down and rust looking.
Also, on my little walk around I bumped into the lady from the Information Centre, Chiaki, and her beautiful golden retriever, Bell. Chiaki is an extremely lovely lady, I had a nice little talk with her, even added her on facebook.
She was born in Fukuyama, which is on the very south island of Japan, she visits once a year to see her daughter who lives there. She also has a son, who has a French girlfriend who is from Lyon, France. Chiaki has lived in Gotemba for 20 years, she is trying to learn English & is currently taking lessons.
Even just reflecting on the small conversation I had with her today, amazes me to think that you can learn so much about someone from talking with them, even for just a little bit. I would like to tell her more about where I am from and what it is like. She said she lived in America for a little bit too. I would like to know more about her and her lifestyle, why does she want to learn English?
I think it’s very brave of her to put herself out there and communicate with people in a language other than her own.
Other than that, some American guys made some small talk with me on the bus back from the Gotemba Premium Outlets. They’ve been in Gotemba for about 4 or 5 days and were thinking about going up to Tokyo. But, they’re not sure if it’s worth it or not, as they’ve asked me what’s good to do up there as it’s to do up there. And, there is plenty to do up there as it’s so busy and lots going on.
Although, I am missing home and would love to be back on my home land, I am interested to see how the rest of this trip pans out.
…‘you can tell a wolf’s story by its howl.’
I’m counting down the days until I am back in my own bed, but I’ve an interesting experience today.
Decided to skip the buffet breakfast and get a cheap one (and, not to mention incredibly unhealthy) from the 7/11 before doing a bit of walking around to see what else I could find. I found a temple and a shrine before doing a bit of a hike up to the Memorial Park. I also found some interesting landscapes along the way of rusty tin buildings, trashy alley ways and things that do not fit the majority of people’s views of a very clean, pristine and busy Japan. Along the way, I stopped into a newsagent to have a look for some fine liner pens and the gentleman behind the count asked me where I was from. And, we spoke about Japan and Australia, when are the best seasons. He owns the little store with his wife, I think, as she came after our short conversation to swap with him so he can take the dog.
I was both taken back and impressed about his courage to talk to me, as well as his English being so good. And, it felt great to be able to converse with someone else & trade wisdom (if you will). This gentleman (and, I call him this because I feel bad for just calling him ‘this guy’) had lived in Gotemba his whole life, he has been up to North Japan where his sister lives. He mentioned that he will be going to Kyoto next week for a day, I don’t know what for, didn’t ask. I probably should have.
I wonder where he learned to speak such good English. From tourists, family or friends who know how to speak it? Perhaps, he takes English lessons at the same place that Chiaki goes?
Gotemba is an interesting place, not a lot happening, but a lot to learn.
Hung around the Memorial Park for a bit taking photos, seeing paths, but they didn’t lead to anywhere exciting, but the park was beautiful with its flora.
By the time I was done and leaving I was so hungry, so I stopped by the Family Mart for yet another unhealthy meal, that I called my lunch. I would’ve walked all the way back to my hotel, but by then I was really tired and could not be bothered with too much more walking. Got to the interchange and got the shuttle bus back to the outlets in hope to source some decent Wi-Fi connection. After attempting to source the connection that I needed and only getting limited access, I gave up and got the shuttle bus back to the station so I could go back to my room for a nap.
When I woke up, I laid in bed for a while because it was cold and I had the window open to let more fresh air into this stale room.
Had a bit of a craving for ramen and some decent Wi-Fi connection. So, I walked back to the main bit for the search of Wi-Fi and proper food. Pretty much everything was closed til 5pm or 6pm, so I was wondering around the streets (as well as dropping by 7/11 to buy more chocolate) trying to kill a bit of time before the ramen place was open at 5pm. It was great ramen, but so very big and I had gyoza with it. I felt bad for not being able to finish it all. But, it did help kill a good 50 minutes before I would head off to the cute little bar with decent Wi-Fi connection and craft beer on tap. I still got there 10 minutes early though so I was standing by at the corner using the Wi-Fi. I could have stood there and just used the connection and not have gone in, but this place has American soldiers crawling through it once the sun goes down and it feels kind of weird (in not the good way.) So, I went in to have what I was hoping to be a quiet beer updating my Instagram while listening to reggae tunes that the girl behind the bar was playing, but a group of the soldiers walked in.
It was interesting though, they seemed nice enough to talk too, but some I could see right though. But, it was a good experience to be able to meet new people and trade stories.
There was Jairo (which I could tell was one of the ones to be careful of) the Hispanic American who was left by mum when he was 2 years old to live with his grandma in the Dominican Republic until he was 7 and he could move over to America. His mum left him so she could work in the states to get the money and papers together so that he could move over there to live. He resented his mother for quite some time until he was 17 or 18 where he begun to understand and appreciate what she did for him. He then made a promise to her never to do that again (be resentful of her), even til the last breathe he takes alive. He showed me his tattoo that has this story behind it. He wrote the poem, the tattoo had a lot of reds, blacks and whites. It was a wolf against the moon. He believes that wolves hold huge spiritual significance, ‘you can tell a wolf’s story by its howl.’
He was nice, but made me laugh when he kept on trying to crack on to me. What made me laugh more on the inside was when he got his phone out, he had a photo of him kissing what I think was his girlfriend. But, yeah, nice, but full of it.
Then, there was Dhillion who likes metal music because it relaxes him when he feels rage, but he also likes country music. He had a bit more of a softer feel to him, a little gentler. We compared which bands we’ve seen live, he said the metal scene in America is underground like you can look at someone and not tell that they’re into metal.
He was telling me about his family owning a whiskey distillery back home, it was called Moonshine. It had been around since the prohibition in the 1920s – 1930s and his grandfather or great grandfather had been one of the runners during this time. They’ve had this recipe for whiskey since then, apparently they use fruits like pineapples and apples in the brewing/ distilling process and they can make an apple pie flavoured whiskey with apple and cinnamon.
His dad was also in the military, so he was born into the army. His dad met his wife in the town that she was teaching at, she was not a part of the military.
Dhillion had his heartbroken by a girl who was into Nirvana so he can’t really get into them without being reminded of her.
There was another guy whose name I didn’t catch, but Jario called him his brother. I didn’t really get to talk to him much because he was taken back by Nikolum (the lady working behind the bar). He seemed like an OK guy from what I gathered.
.. To be continued ..