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Battleship Island

Posted by on Nov 25, 2011 in Nagasaki, Travel Volunteer Journey | 4 Comments
Battleship Island

Hashima – or Battleship Island – lying just outside the bay of Nagasaki was, for almost 90 years, a bustling coal mining community. The entire place was owned by the Mitsubishi company, who used every scrap of land to house employees, offices and mining facilities in a concrete fortress in the middle of the sea. ...

Time to Gamble… YOUR LIFE

Posted by on Nov 24, 2011 in Nagasaki, Travel Volunteer Journey | No Comments
Time to Gamble… YOUR LIFE

Today we felt like a break from all the museums and the history and the real world, so we decided to duck into the cinema. As there will be on screens around the world, American movies dominated the bill here in Nagasaki, but we didn’t fancy any of that, so we opted for a Japanese ...

China Town

Posted by on Nov 23, 2011 in Saga, Travel Volunteer Journey | One Comment
China Town

If you’re going to go for something, don’t hold back. Take a leaf out Arita’s book. Four hundred years ago, it became a porcelain hub and now, well the entire place is beautifully breakable. There are porcelain fittings for light switches, porcelain dolls to mark out the ladies and gents bathrooms, odd chunks of broken ...

Something Old, Something New

Posted by on Nov 22, 2011 in Saga, Travel Volunteer Journey | One Comment
Something Old, Something New

It’s gives a person perspective, does the Travel Volunteer Project. Perspective with which to look across the country and decide what you do and don’t like; what you do and don’t find impressive. For example, having been in Matsumoto, Kochi and Matsuyama castles – one quarter of Japan’s remaining original castles – I can say ...

Al Fresco Fukuoka

Posted by on Nov 21, 2011 in Fukuoka, Travel Volunteer Journey | 4 Comments
Al Fresco Fukuoka

For over a thousand years, Fukuoka has had dealing with its Asian cousins. Though it used to be a perilous trip across the Japan Sea – just ask the would-be invaders from Mongolia – today it’s a mere three hours by hydrofoil to the Korean peninsula. China? For Fukuoka, Shanghai and Tokyo are equidistant. With ...

The Fat and the Furious

Posted by on Nov 20, 2011 in Fukuoka, Travel Volunteer Journey | One Comment
The Fat and the Furious

In Europe, we’ve got our own sport for the big lads. Yes, there are some rugby players, who are much larger than average, but they’re only suited to certain positions. But I’m referring to darts, which allows a person to be as obese as they like, so long as they still have the strength in ...

Come Rain or Shrine

Come Rain or Shrine

In general the weather in Japan has been amazing for us. It feels like 90% of the days have been gloriously sunny, temperate and wonderful for pictures. Today was not one of those days – and I think it felt all the more dreich because the rest have been so good. Yesterday, the gloomy weather ...

There is a Light and it Never Goes Out

There is a Light and it Never Goes Out

My grandfather was in it from the very start – he lied about his age so he could join up. His first missions came on the notorious North Atlantic convoys, when British ships would navigate icy North Sea to sneak past German forces and deliver supplies to the Soviets. My grandfather was 15 years old, ...

Five, Seven, Five

Posted by on Nov 17, 2011 in Ehime, Travel Volunteer Journey | 9 Comments
Five, Seven, Five

My home town of Ayr isn’t known for much, although, over the years, we’ve had one or two famous denizens. The bloke who invented tarmac, for one; a tan-and-white cow for another. By far and away the most famous, though, is Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet. Ring any bells? Maybe not, but if nothing else, ...

On Yer Bike!

Posted by on Nov 16, 2011 in Ehime, Travel Volunteer Journey | 2 Comments
On Yer Bike!

There isn’t too much we’d change about Japanese society, but we’d definitely have more hand driers in public toilets. We’d improve the woeful lack of bins too: we’ve walked around for hours at a time desperately searching for somewhere to dump our litter (although that at least has some mitigating circumstances). Natto would go, obviously. ...