The Pages of Japan: The Land of The Rising Culture Part 3 (JOURNAL EXTRACTS)

August 14, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

“I said to explore, but to be truthful I haven’t figured that answer out yet.”


DAY 8 (Continued)

Me and Jario were talking about piercings at one point and this guy told us about the time he got his left ear pierced by his girlfriend at the time using an ice block, safety pin and a piece if apple. He got behind the bar and made his first pizza (a margarita) with the help of Nikolum, which was shared around with all the boys and myself. Rather nice for a first pizza. He even did the dishes afterwards.

Then, there was a couple of other quieter dudes that stayed at the other side of the bar and did not quite say too much.

It was more Jario becoming a little drunk and a bit more of an obnoxious along with it.

Then there was the girl behind the bar, Nikolum (I think her name was.) She did not speak very much English but she was very lovely. Once the boys had left, she resumed back to giving it a go, talking to me (which I found very brave of her.) Even though verbally talking fluently was hard, we still got by talking using translation applications on our phones.
She has friends going to Australia on a working visa in May or June, they might even be coming to Melbourne. And, she said some staff from the bar are also there now on a working visa. She has never been out of Japan as she is scared of flying because the airplane might crash, she feels it is too dangerous for her. She has never been on an airplane before.
She said that I looked amazing and asked what brought me to Japan. I said to explore, but to be truthful I haven’t figured that answer out yet.

I would have stayed for one more drink and to listen to some reggae tunes if another group of American soldiers did not walk in. Disappointed!

I have one full day left here Gotemba tomorrow before I leave on Saturday for Nagoya. Not sure what I am going to do, keep walking the streets to see what other landscapes I can find? Try and find my way to Peace Park? Chill out and stay in bed for most of it? Don’t know!

I will be meeting with Chiaki around 6pm for dinner, which will be a lovely way to get to know her a little more as well as say goodbye and thank you. I am thinking of drawing her a picture with a ‘thank you’ message on it.

Looking back on the past two days, I am a little bit excited about going to Nagoya. Not just about the sightseeing, but the people I may meet and the stories I may hear.


Extremely cold and wet day today in Gotemba. Spend most of it in my hotel room spilling grape juice all over myself (resulting in another bathroom sink laundry service), eating another stupid amount of chocolate while drawing Chiaki a ‘thank you’ picture and writing a love letter for a friend when they leave for overseas shortly after I arrive back home. And, of course I slept a bit before dinner.

“I am very glad to have met Chiaki on this trip and create a friendship with her. I am going to try my best to keep in contact with her.”

When I was napping, I had this really intense anxiety dream. When I woke up it was like I could not breather.
I dreamed of being in a really busy environment and I was trying to organize something. Next thing I remember I was being held down by an unknown force and having small robots attack my legs and giving them cuts. When this distorted voice was screaming ‘it’s all your fault’… it was pretty stressful, took me a while to come out of that anxious, breathless feeling.

Chiaki picked me from my hotel and we went out for dinner. We went to a place that does deep fried pork with cheese, it was delicious. Chiaki is so very kind, she said that dinner was a treat to me and when she comes to Melbourne I can show her some places around and take her to some cafes.
I got to know her a bit more, which was great. She started learning English when she was in middle school and she continued to study it because her husband works for the Kirin brewing company and because of his work they had to move to California, United States of America (USA), to live for a while. He travels to other places in the world including Australia (Perth, Sydney and Melbourne) to learn about the other partner companies of Kirin.
She has two children, a son who is 25 years old and a daughter who is 21 years old. Her son met his French girlfriend when she became an exchange student at the university he was attending. She is now living in Tokyo to become a journalist, and they have been together for 2 years. Her father does not like Chiaki’s son very much, because he cannot speak French.

Chiaki’s daughter is starting university this year and she is a beautiful girl.

I am very glad to have met Chiaki on this trip and create a friendship with her. I am going to try my best to keep in contact with her. She really likes my art and is very grateful for my drawing. She is even going to frame it.

After dinner Chiaki took me to an art supplies shop, we got there 15 minutes before closing time. I was so happy and yes, I did go a little bit crazy with buying supplies. I purchased a fine liner pen, a pencil sharpener, a new paint palette, a 4-pen that has a rubber (better than using white out) and some watercolour paints. She was very kind and smart to show me this shop, I was having some difficulty trying to find art supply shops here.

This is my last night in Gotemba, then I check out tomorrow morning to head off on my next adventure in Nagoya and Osaka. Despite my tacky hotel room experience, I have enjoyed my stay here in Gotemba and am beginning to understand why people love travelling. I am beginning to find my own groove and my own way. It is all starting to come together a little more.

DAY 10

When you get comfortable and you find your bearings to get together, you then have to pack your shit up and go somewhere else. I guess this is what travelling is like.

I am glad to be out of that tacky death trap of a hotel in Gotemba, now I am in the red light district, where my hotel seems to be conveniently located. About half an hour walk from the Nagoya train station and city centre.

What stories does Nagoya have for me?
7:30pm on the night of the Blood Red Luna Eclipse, I still in my shoebox hotel room listening to this new dub I downloaded off iTune when I was downstairs waiting to check in. Saturday night! Probably should go for a cruise with my camera to see what I can find. Or I can have an early night with a passage either from ‘The Teaching of Buddha’ or ‘The New Testament’. I have heard good things about them both, I am sure either would provide me with the comfort that I am currently in search of.

“You’ve just got to push through, right?”  

It’s good to have a decent (but very small) bathroom once again. After doing my very much needed laundry and grabbing of a bite to eat with a couple of beers, I was happy to come back to have a hot bath, wash and shave.

I leave for home next Saturday, not that I am counting. I don’t know how I feel about this trip. I still would like to be back in my own surroundings, go for a nice long bike ride with Carmen (my bike), sleep in my own bed and see my friends to share the tales of this journey. Go back to work, save more money, figure out where I want to go next and do WHAT I WANT TO DO!

Went for a tiny little walk in the streets and it has come alive with club goers and boys looking for a good time. Went back to Family Mart to get tomorrow’s breakfast and more white chocolate.

Tomorrow I’ll get going on wondering adventures. Nagoya Castle, the cat café and few shrines and temples in there. Hopefully I get to meet some more interesting people.

DAY 11

Another wet one over here in Nagoya today, but I braved it to have a wonder. Tried giving the waterproof case that Len gave me a crack. It was a bit difficult with my 50mm lens. So, I passed by a Lawsons store and picked up an umbrella that did the trick.

I didn’t go that far really, I didn’t make it to Nagoya Castle, might leave that for tomorrow’s adventure. However, I did make it to the Nagoya City Science Museum, which was extremely cool. Hard to read all the information as it was in Japanese, but I got the ideas and had plenty of fun taking photos. I easily spent a good 3 hours in there. (I kind of felt like a little kid again, going to ScienceWorks).

 Nagoya is not as hectic as Tokyo, which is good. And, where I’m staying is in a little grid of streets so it is a little easier to figure out where I am going.

Had a little look around at the streets and the park surrounding the Science Museum, taking some interesting photos, before resorting back to the ramen restaurant across the road from my hotel room for lunch.
I was going to charge up my phone and head straight back out to find some shrines and temples. But, ended up having another read of ‘The Teachings of Buddha’, followed by me falling asleep. When I woke up I made my daily trip to Family Mart to pick up my dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast. While I was there I found some bananas, almost hesitated but got them anyway as my diet has been bullshit and I needed to get more real food in me than I have been currently getting. Polished off yet another packet of chocolate, doing wonders for my body.

DAY 12

“Things happen for a reason!”

Had a bit of a sleep in this morning only because I was up until 1am. Had my Family Mart breakfast (man, I am getting overt not eating right) and got ready to venture out to Nagoya Castle, with a coffee stop off first.

Walking through the parks to get to the Castle was very dreamlike with Cherry Blossom flakes caking everything and falling through the air like snow. Quite magical really!
(I took quite a number of photos today, that if I was going to stay here any longer I would have to buy yet ANOTHER memory card).

I had a good look around Nagoya Castle and the surrounding gardens, very beautiful.

When I was having a look inside Nagoya Castle and gallery, an elderly man came up to me. He started asking me where I was from and talking about the art on the Samurai swords. From that, he walked me around the first floor showing me things that were on display.
He said that I was nice and friendly. He had been studying English for 20 years and he wanted to practice speaking it. He wanted to learn because he wants to travel to English speaking countries someday. He used to be a dentist but he has retired now, and has plenty of free time (hence leaning English). I told him about Indigenous Australian art and how I thought a spotted art on a sword cover reminded me of it.
He was a lovely man and very kind to show me around as well as tell me about some of the things on display. And, again hats off to this gentleman for braving it and communicating with me in English, giving it a go, making the effort and his English was very good too!

Nagoya Castle was pretty amazing. However, I was extremely disappointed by the poor monkey out the front that had a rope tied around its neck, wearing a silly shirt, given stilts and made to jump over hurdles (let alone hurt himself) to entertain a crowd. Everyone was laughing and clapping, but I sure wasn’t. And, after venturing off to a different part of the gardens, I walked past again when the show had stopped and the crowd mainly gone, to find the entertainer slapping the monkey over the head and telling him off repeatedly while yanking on the rope around its neck. I can see in his face that he didn’t like it.
I wanted to untie the rope, undo the collar, take the silly shirt off him and set him free in a forest somewhere.

After spending a few hours at Nagoya Castle, I ventured off to find some food and to charge my phone. Was a bit of a hike, but found some food and a couple of beers, but no charge. They wouldn’t allow it. Still the food was nice.
Once I left to find my hotel room, I ended up finding the cat café here in Nagoya. YAY! (And, he let me charge up my phone).

“The cat café was great, that’s all I can say!”

Last night here before I check out tomorrow to head to the second last city, Osaka. I might do a detour through Kyoto on my way so I can enjoy the only full day I have in Osaka before heading home.

DAY 13
In Osaka now, another hectic city. Passed through Kyoto on my way, wasn’t feeling it too much today to be honest. Had a lot of anxiety. Plus to properly do Kyoto you’d need more than a day. I bumped into one of my travel buddies in Kyoto and ended up trekking it to Osaka with them so we could meet up with the others.
Was going to plan to have dinner with them all tonight, but I was feeling both tired and anxious.

Extremely lucky to have such a nice hotel room and bathroom. Had a bath AND a shower tonight.
When I was in the bath, I was telling myself that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself and make sacrifices in my life to comfort or please other. After all, I am only human!!

DAY 16

I’m glad to be finally heading home to my space, bike and friends.

Yesterday was pretty cool, checked out the Umenda Sky Building with one of the crew & had a beer.

By Tjanatja Cavenett


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