Japan, land of my dreams, with a way of being I could easily adopt and ease into seamlessly. Wandering a landscape not knowing what next will surprise, delight, enchant or even horrify.
Away from the hustle of crowds and buzz, seeing what locals commend in Aomori, Yamagata, Hitchachinaka, Kanazawa, Itoshima, Wakayama, Gamagori, Daisen, Matsue, then in the hustle of Kyoto, Kitakyushu, Hiroshima, Hemiji, Osaka, and Tokyo, let alone know what to fear in those places unmentioned where we’ll also rest. Hopefully that rest is mostly on futonic pillows swaddled in the warmth of woven cotton quilts piled high o’er tatami mat. Ryokans will be by passed, the hospitality of private hosts suffices.
We’ll travel north to south, Aomori for Wa Rasse to Itoshima and seafood, east to west Hitachinaka, for who knows what and to Matsue for arts, intrigued between by the many slow life rural areas. The sleek sexy Shinkansen allows vast distances to be leapt with a single bound allowing nude open air onsen bathing, contemplation of tranquil scenery and intriguing very local delicacies to be savoured in disparate locales.
Onshore there will be no accommodation cost in the 37 days! We’ll be with Couch Surfing hosts experiencing the munificence of ‘paying it forward’. When I first heard of “paying it forward”, I was sceptical. But we’ve enjoyed, learnt and assisted over 230 guests. The references they gave us have stood us in good stead when requesting hosting from folk. In conservative Japan, especially in the rural areas folk are reticent to accept Gajin.
We’re travelling simply, eating locally and staying domestically. In private homes we’ll cook, talk and laugh with friends, learn local customs, and see vistas beyond our imagination. Perhaps we’ll come away with memories of something other than flashing neon lights, temple wooden, endless eating halls, temples ancient, frenetic shopping, temples reconstructed, scrupulously clean up-to-date automobiles, temples lacquered, go kart rides round someplace or other and of course more temples [too many categories to mention]
Several of our hosts like me are aged. The western word is retired, but Japanese I note use a different term, Second Life. Not the western Second Life, that user created 3D universe in which dream realities are built for extravagant living. Not working at paid work, or proudly volunteering or mentoring, they call this their Second Life. One guy has a tea farm, another a ramen shop. I’m hoping to learn from these folk, observe their choices and how I might weave them into my in look and outlook.
And so it is, I’m looking into a USA trip [dunno where to go at all] and/or canal touring in England or France.
I’ve a bee in my bonnet about taking my sceptical worldview to a wider audience.
Is that a slower life?