Trisha Reloaded

Dedicated to Trisha, as always. Dedicated also to L, my source of inspiration, and the reason why I choose to see the bright side of teaching.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Withdrawal

"I've got Japan withdrawal." I sms-ed my sis-in-law, while on my way to Takashimaya, 4 days after I returned from my holiday in Japan. I needed to breathe in some Japanese air, I had told her. Pseudo or not, it didn't matter. Pathetic, I know, but I can't help but be mesmerized by the Japan I had a glimpse of.

Maybe it's the legendary Japanese service I had read of, and then encountered on my short trip there. How the 8 front desk staff of the small hotel we were staying at had come out in near 0 degree temprature to stand along the sides of the pathway to wave goodbye to us while our tour bus drove off. How the old lady who sold apples in a market had refused the Y200 we wanted to pay her for the small apples she gave my daughter. And how in a crowded shopping street in Osaka, like this one :


cyclists pedalled silently behind you, too polite to ring their bells to tell you to make way for them, and instead waited for you to realise their presence and move aside for them to pass.

Then there were the breath-takingly beautiful foliage on the temple grounds, such as these:






as well as quaint houses and shops:






There was also the memory of the sparkle in my girl's eyes as she saw snow for the first time, and how she adamantly refused any help to build her first snow man:




Then when Mt Fuji loomed majestically behind the rooftops, we squealed with delight. "You are very lucky," our guide told us, "Mt Fuji is only visible 56 days in a year. Most of the time, it's hidden by the clouds." But there it was, right outside our window. We tumbled out of the bus to marvel at the spectacle, a primeval behemoth that made you gasp in wonder. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth!" I wanted to shout, for in the face of unspeakable beauty, there are no other words adequate enough to express my sense of awe.



All too soon, it was time to leave the Land of the Rising Sun. But Japan had cast its spell on me. I was hooked, seduced, captured. And I know I would be back.


10 Comments:

At 7:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

was it a package deal - or did you do on your own? Thinking of going next year, with 3 kids, 1 wife.....ouch - must be quite ex! Any advise?? TC

 
At 7:24 AM, Blogger Ensui said...

Darn. That sure looks like good fun. Wish i could visit Japan too. :)

 
At 11:56 PM, Anonymous thebro said...

Wow, what you say about the cyclist amazes me. Over here, the aunties riding their market bikes act like their grandaddy built the pavements. And the foreign workers who cycle to work every morning past the junction near my place act like they own the road, regardless of the numerous near-accidents I've seen when they run the red light.

 
At 2:19 AM, Blogger trisha said...

Anonymous:
Yes, Japan is an expensive place to visit but the exchange rate is already better compared to a few years ago.
We went on a 7day pkg tour and it costs abt $2k per adult. It would cost you a pile with 3 kids so start saving now! It's definitely worth a visit!

Bro:
Yes I am amazed at the courtesy shown by the Japanese cyclists. Over here, people ring their bells when they're still still quite a distance frm you, to tell you to move off and let them pass. We definitely can learn a thing or two about gracious behaviour from the Japs.

 
At 3:05 AM, Blogger Cool Insider said...

Interesting blog you have here and couple of very insightful posts. I have always enjoyed visiting Japan and have been there 3 times and still wanting to visit again. I recently went to Hokkaido and loved it till death. The withdrawal symptons are really bad I tell you. Check it out at:

http://coolinsights.blogspot.com/2006/12/walking-in-winter-wonderland.html

 
At 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello,
Boy, I lurve Japan, too. And I have really sad withdrawal symptoms because I can't afford to go there anymore... sob sob...

Yeah, the people are just so nice and helpful.

Did you enjoy the food and shopping, too?

Anyway, to the anonymous who is thinking of going to Japan, if you don't intend to do it by package, you can buy season train tickets to travel from place to place.

 
At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is possible to do budget Japan holiday. I have been to Tokyo for 6 days, spent less than S$1.5K, including air ticket, accommodation, food, attending tea ceremony in a hotel and day trip to Mt Fuji...

Language barrier is not an issue if you are going to cities such as Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto...CS

 
At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anony from first post:
I suppose if I am going for first time without tour group - I will probably miss out on the tour guide / tour group chit chat - history etc etc? What do you think? Or would reading up from travel book suffice? Rgds

 
At 12:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonymous 7.09am and 7.02am: try doing your research on the internet, there's a whole lot of travel tips and info on the net, and you learn more about each area you'll be visiting that way.

Here's one for you:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e623.html

And language is not a problem, just be sure to bring a notepad. Most Japanese are shy about speaking English but they're ok with reading and writing.

As for accomodation, there's a chain of budget business hotels across Japan - Toyoko Inn/Hotel. It's about 5000 yen a night. Could be cheaper, depending on exact location and season. And this chain is always found near a train station, so no worries about getting around.

If you want to stay in places that offer futons instead of beds, there are even cheaper places to stay at. Just google it. Lots of budget motels/hotels. In Tokyo you can go as low as 2700 yen a night.

 
At 12:30 AM, Blogger Woof! said...

Am delighted that you had so much fun in Tokyo! It's a place I've never been before, and to which I'd like to visit in 2007...

Hope the first few days of school teaching have been good!

 

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