Nara Say Nara

Posted by on Oct 31, 2011 in Nara, Travel Volunteer Journey | No Comments
Nara Say Nara

So far as capitial cities go, Nara’s shift as the top dog was pretty brief. For just 74 years from 710AD it was the ruling city of all Japan, including a five year holiday when power was transferred to what is now Osaka. Actually, moving the capital was a standard practice at that time: each ...

Enter The Shadow Warriors

Posted by on Oct 30, 2011 in Mie, Travel Volunteer Journey | 3 Comments
Enter The Shadow Warriors

There’s a legend based in my part of Scotland. It tells the story of Sawney Bean, a cave-dwelling cannibal who, along with his incestuous brood, would rob and eat unfortunate travellers. The Beans, of whom there were said to be several dozen, would overwhelm the innocent passers-by before dragging them off to their dark lair. ...

Gods Help Us!

Posted by on Oct 29, 2011 in Mie, Travel Volunteer Journey | 3 Comments
Gods Help Us!

Last year we met a guy in the Philippines who lost his faith in Catholicism because of Frodo Baggins. It was hard to deny his logic: if Tolkien could create a world so vivid and steeped in history as Middle Earth, then of course the Greatest Story Ever Told, could be just that – especially ...

The Gassho Houses of Gifu

Posted by on Oct 28, 2011 in Gifu, Travel Volunteer Journey | One Comment
The Gassho Houses of Gifu

Despite their obvious good intentions, UNESCO divide opinion. Some people deride their World Heritage List, moaning that it damages the very places it seeks to protect. A bit like an upper class version of the Lonely Planet, the moment UNESCO offer their stamp of approval, the recommended place ceases to be a hidden treasure and ...

Farewell To Autumn

Posted by on Oct 27, 2011 in Gifu, Travel Volunteer Journey | No Comments
Farewell To Autumn

Just a few days ago, we were sweating it out on the coast of Shizuoka. I spent half the day surfing; the other half trying to fend off the humidity. It was so warm that autumn hadn’t really taken hold – the ocean was still perfectly bearable (granted, with a wetsuit) and the leaves hadn’t ...

TwiTrip – Nagoya

Posted by on Oct 26, 2011 in Aichi, Travel Volunteer Journey | 2 Comments
TwiTrip – Nagoya

So for those who missed it, here’s a quick round-up of what we did today on our TwiTrip around Nagoya. All day we darted around the city, checking out suggestions tweeted to us by our Twitter followers. 10am – Made our way over to Nagoya Castle, as suggested by @InsideJapan. It was a brilliantly sunny ...

The Rise of the Machines

Posted by on Oct 25, 2011 in Aichi, Travel Volunteer Journey | 3 Comments
The Rise of the Machines

As the son-in-law-to-be of a mechanic, I suppose I should have more than a passing interest in cars – Katy definitely should. But neither of us are all that excited by them. They go broom-broom and some do it faster than others; generally they feel safer than planes, but less so than trains. We get ...

Training Days

Posted by on Oct 24, 2011 in Shizuoka, Travel Volunteer Journey | 5 Comments
Training Days

Today is our 40th day as travel volunteers: if we were emigrating pets, or Jesus Christ, it’d be time to leave quarantine and come home for a bite to eat and a bit of a cuddle. But we’re neither, so we keep travelling. In fact, for two of those 40 days, we’ve been nothing but ...

Here’s To Waiting

Posted by on Oct 23, 2011 in Shizuoka, Travel Volunteer Journey | No Comments
Here’s To Waiting

When you’re down there, with the waves stampeding over the top of you, your first thought isn’t about breathing – at least it shouldn’t be. No, you should be more worried about the board, a seven-foot long, bladed piece of potential doom that’s floating somewhere above your head. Of course if you’re actually any good ...

A Little Prince, Weird Eggs and a Journey to Another World

Posted by on Oct 22, 2011 in Kanagawa, Travel Volunteer Journey | 5 Comments
A Little Prince, Weird Eggs and a Journey to Another World

The Little Prince (or Le Petit Prince, to give him his original, French name) gets around a bit. He’s the star of what people say is a children’s book, but, like the greatest stories, it’s not exclusively for younger readers. Katy didn’t meet the little wanderer until she was well into her teens. The moment ...