The end of the first stop, see you soon Japan


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Asia » Japan » Nara
June 9th 2011
Published: June 9th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

Spent my last few days of japan in the mountain in the middle of nowhere! Took us about 6hrs to get down there but so worth it to get out the cities and thought we might actually be able to get somewhere without getting lost.. no, not quite! But there were rivers, mountains, waterfalls and onsens round every corner. We were staying with an American who was living in this village and teaching English in a lot of the schools. His pad was on the school grounds which was pretty cool because we got our fill of kids we’d been missing! All we had to do was leave the front door and have them all waving and shouting anything they knew in English at us! And the ‘couch’ this time was wiked.. big futon, duvet, pillows! When our host Chris knocked off work we drove out to a waterfall, and the clouds weren’t guna stop me swimming.. was Spent my last few days of japan in the mountain in the middle of nowhere! Took us about 6hrs to get down there but so worth it to get out the cities and thought we might actually be able to get somewhere without getting lost.. no, not quite! But there were rivers, mountains, waterfalls and onsens round every corner. We were staying with an American who was living in this village and teaching English in a lot of the schools. His pad was on the school grounds which was pretty cool because we got our fill of kids we’d been missing! All we had to do was leave the front door and have them all waving and shouting anything they knew in English at us! And the ‘couch’ this time was wiked.. big futon, duvet, pillows! When our host Chris knocked off work we drove out to a waterfall, and the clouds weren’t guna stop me swimming.. was freezing! Straight off the top of the mountain but so refreshing and most probably needed! Grabbed some dinner in one off the only places in the village open, it was only 7pm!! Great food and warmed our feet in an onsen before hitting the sack.
Went into the school to do an English class and never seen such a quiet group of kids, they were scared to talk and probably only spoke to about 3 of them! But still cool to go get involved.
Had a pilgrimage to the peak of one of the mountains nearby which is still on a pilgrimage route that is still being used, saw a couple of old timers round the top. The scenery was great, even being slightly over cast you could see mountains for miles and the shop owner on top was great, throwing us food and info as we collapsed haha. The shrine up there according to him is from BC so more than 2000 years old, made of wood with crazy looking lions and dragons everywhere! Very impressive.
Thankfully Chris picked us up from near the top and we went off to a secret swimming hole so secret we got lost trying to find it and basically had to fall down the side of a cliff to get to it. Well worth the hassle though, the water although still freezing was beautiful, bright turquoise, had a little waterfall and mad little red lizards everywhere! Bit of cliff diving into the impact zone and swimming out as fast as possible to stop from freezing solid!! Hung there til the sun dropped and headed out for dinner with some very nice local twins!!
Spent most our last day in Totsukawa just enjoying the peace and quiet of the country life, by sleeping in all day wheey!! Did go down to the river and I don’t know if its from spending too long in all these temples but had some sort of Buddhist monk moment ha.. was standing in the river and closed my eyes, all senses seemed to double and this is what was going on. I could really feel the stones between my toes and the cold water running round my ankles, it was silent other than the trickle of water and the occasional feint shouting of the kids doing their kendo training in the distance, and could smell the fresh cut grass and muddy river banks. Must have been standing there, not moving, eyes closed for about 15mins and when I looked around I couldn’t help but laugh at were life has lead me! The only foreigner in the biggest village in Japan, well off the beaten track, standing in an amazing little river surrounded by mountains and locals, ah and this random Dutch guy that seems to be following me haha! This is what its all about!!!!
Cooked up a 3 course meal that night but not quite a Japanese dinner. Beer battered onion rings, yellow Thai curry and carrot cake. With beer! Was a great end to the mountains and a top drawer feast!! Left the next day but couldn’t be doing with busses and trains so hitched to our next stop! Only took 2 lifts and did the 4hours from door to door for free so wasn’t to bad.
Went to check out Nara, which was full of school kids, culture and deer. There was a massive Temple to see, the biggest wood building in the world with one of the biggest Buddha’s sitting inside, pretty impressive. Truck fulls of kids go to the main tourist attractions to practice speaking English with tourists and the kids weren’t so shy here, we must have been ‘interviewed’ about 8 times but was all good fun!
Failed to find a couch for the night so crashed in the park and had a very surprisingly good sleep surrounded by wild deer!! Back to Osaka and Chinese Visa ACCEPTED woooooyeaah!! So meeting a girl I worked the carnival with in perth for dinner and a couch tonight then all that's separating me from the start of my China excursion is a 48hr ferry!!
Japan you’ve been unbelievable!! Such a different place to anywhere I've been before, very busy and too built up but you can see their history is still alive throughout the country. The culture is great, people are so nice and the food is incredible. Finally for all those serious business men and women though, chill out and enjoy yourselves once in a while because the country is lacking children for a reason!! Japan.. Arigato and don’t touch my moustache x

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