2019 – Week 52

A pretty stiff and sore week, with stitches in my side keeping movement pretty restricted. Spent a bit of time working on picking up bits and pieces for New Years Eve plans.

A wounded end to a pretty up and down sort of year.

2019 – Week 51

Had a core sample taken out of me to be biopsied this week. So I’ve been pretty immobile, with stitches and feeling pretty uncomfortable.

2019 – Week 48

A week of general round the house stuff, and catching up with folks. Saw a play in Brisbane – Die Hard, The Movie, The Play – which was pretty amazing, and wonderfully meta.

Attended an Xmas party for a game development studio, which had a very high (non refundable) bar tab, ad only around half the number of attendees originally predicted. A lot of top shelf drinks and cocktails were consumed.

2019 – Week 46

A week of decompressing, and trying to sort out some bad glasses I had made before I went away. Also, some work on modifying my workstation’s cooling.

Processing the 2000+ images I shot n Japan continues, and once they’re all done, I’ll have some more extensive travel diaries ready to go.

2019 – Week 45

An admin week, unwinding from Japan. Lots of time spent processing photos, while Noosa burns with fires on the other side of the river, and the next suburb is evacuated.

Everywhere, the smell of smoke, even in a closed up house running airconditioning.

2019 – Week 44

Japan Trip week 3!

Monday we travelled from Himejo to Tokyo, with a stop for lunch with a view of Mt Fuji. I ordered what I thought was miss-spelled ramen, to receive a bowl of cold noodle soup, with slices of apple, and ice cubes in it. Weird.

We wandered around Ginza that night, but the weather closed in a bit again.

Next day, we had all day to kill before catching the train to the airport, so we went for a wander to a large park, again in the rain, but on the way back a completely accidental spot down the road – the Nakagin Capsule Tower. I’ve read about it so many times, but forgot to make t an itinerary pilgrimage item. Absolutely the best bookend or a trip so filled with amazing sights.

That evening, we headed to the airport, and chilled in the Qantas lounge – where the loudest voices were Baby Boomers from Noosa talking about their property development, and rental yields. *facepalm* really was a good preparation for the culture shock of getting back to see how insane everything in Australia is, where we kill a 50 year old tree, to protect a 5 year old pavement.

I had a few days in Noosa, before heading back down to Brisbane for the weekend, to see the new Australian horror comedy Two Heads Creek, which was brilliant, and The Sisters of Mercy play live, which was not brilliant.

2019 – Week 43

Japan part 2!

Monday was a trip to the Osamu Tezuka museum in Takarazuka, a suburb of Osaka (I think). It was an easy trip, and upon exiting the train station, we were accosted, in the nicest possible way, by an old lady who seemed to be dressed entirely in the same type of patterned fabric. She was very keen to know who we were and why we were there, and proceeded to tell us that she had been a singer, piano player, and (some stringed instrument, possibly Shamisen) player, for the Takarazuka Review – the old theatre that has been the standout cultural thing for the suburb.

Tezuka himself, used to work with them in his youth.

Anyway, we were given a guided tour all the way to the museum, which included an offer to buy us lunch, all the while with a running commentary, that had occasional English words, but was mostly Japanese.

We may have met someone incredibly famous, it’s hard to know.

The museum was interesting, though not a gallery of his work by any stretch – basically there was no original art on display. Instead, it’s an interactive museum to the man, his life story, and his work. It makes me appreciate how amazing the opportunity was to be involved with the touring exhibition in 2007, where we actually had the original pages of all his major works there to experience in person.

Tuesday, we travelled to Kyoto, arriving in the afternoon to check into out air b&b apartment (after a 20 minute wait at the station for an English language taxi), and then a walk amongst the narrow streets on the side of the river, which as night fell, has dozens of micro-bats flying over it. We ended up in a tiny little second-story bar, whose stairs were st steep, you had to duck your head and lean forward to avoid hitting the lintel. There I tried another fantastic Japanese whiskey, and we chatted to the general manager of a travel agency’s office in Guam – apparently a super-popular tourist destination fo the Japanese.

I tried to describe my love of how overgrown so much of Japan is, the fences covered in vines, weeds sprouting from pavements – it’s hard to describe without sounding like “ you don’t maintain things”, but it feels like there’s a deeper force at work – I get the feeling the Japanese would rather let a fence be overgrown, fall over, and then be replaced, to begin the process again, so that I the meantime, they have a beautiful, wild, overgrown fence. In Australia, we’d poison all the vines, to save a few bucks on maintenance or replacement of the fence.

Wednesday, we did the Philosophers’ Walk – a route along a canal in the hills at e edge of Kyoto city, including visiting an amazing temple, where everything was overgrown with moss. We had Korean for dinner that night, and called it an early one, both being footsore from the long day’s walk.

Thursday was supposed to be a quiet day, instead we ended up walking to the top of the Fushimi-Inari temple complex – so many stairs. Ended the day exhausted, and went out to try the great tradition of ordering McDonalds in a foreign country. The only Australian common burger was the Big Mac, which I’ve never eaten, however they were sold out. Sold out? Seriously? What’s there to sell out of?

We went to Mossburger instead – a Japanese fast food chain. Honestly, it was a lot worse than McDonalds.

Friday, a trip to Arashiyama bamboo grove, the one you’ve seen a zillion times on the internet. It’s a great example of expectation – a tranquil deserted place with majestic nature, and reality – wall to wall tourists snapping selfies.

Had dinner in a little Udon noodle place, before shooting some night photos.

Saturday was travel to Himeji, taking a Shinkansen from Kyoto station, to Himeji station, with a short walk to the hotel. First night we photographed the outside of the castle, and ate amazing burgers at a place called Johnson’s Burgers.

Sunday, the big event for Himeji Taiyo Park – a mad and wonderful gift from a philanthropist, who built a theme park with recreations of some of the world’s most wondrous cultural artefacts, for an assisted living and intellectually disabled care facility next door. After the full day, we spent a bit of time walking the streets of Himeji, stopping in at different food joints, and drinking beers.