Friday, November 16, 2012

The Land of the Rising Sun Vol. 1

Oh Japan, I have loved you since my youth. When my cousin and her daughter leave on a jet plane to Tokyo to live and work there for four years I set aside all my feelings for you. Out of my  foolish envy I presume. So I forgot about my Japanophile self by moving on with something else. Then I fell in love with France and I'd exclaimed to the world about my being a Francophile (oh France I still love you, you know I always do, because you had me at hello and my soul belongs to you). But sometimes, even lovers needs a time away. So I took off my French hat, said a momentary adieu to Canal Saint Martin and fly straight back to your heart, Japan.

Obviously, all these are hypothetical, because I've never stepped foot to Japan before and I have no means to travel there at the present time. I love East Asia, it is a culture so varied from mine, after all I came from the South East. The East have South Korea (I like even the grayish gloom of the North), China (although I'm pissed off with them because of their ongoing island dispute with the Philippines), and of course Japan, the land of the rising sun.

I would be posting videos and photographs from different sources online focusing on places, spots, culture and food that took my fancy. If I cannot travel there physically I would not deter my mind from running wild imaginatively.

My first take for volume one is the beautifully preserved old town of Takayama, located in the Gifu prefecture; the place is a cocooned of quaint little shops, coffee houses, sake breweries and street houses. I discovered this place through an anime I just finished two days ago titled, "Hyōka", where the author based the story from. Whenever I discover a place I always look it up on YouTube to see how it looks like with people moving and phasing around it . The video is nevertheless perfect as it shows us the Takayama through the videographer's eye as he rides, explores, captures even the most intricate little nooks of the old town with his bicycle and handy camera. Judging by the look of it, Takayama is such a clean and tidy haven worthy of travel time.

The second location that captured me on the get-go is the Chaya districts (teahouse) in Kanazawa. I've been researching about Kanazawa for more than a month now. The one that led me to this majestic place was the anime "Hanasaku Iroha" since the series got me interested on Japanese Ryokan. One thing leads to another, I came across Chaya through Japan Guide while reading about Kanazawa. The place is made up of wooden buildings and paved streets that would surely take you back into the Edo period. If you want to see a real life geisha -- perform a song and dance number -- this is the perfect place to visit.

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