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Leeds, United Kingdom
heading east...

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

catch up.

its been far too long since i wrote anything, but we've all been pretty ill. trying to get round to doing anything is an uphill battle in the heat and humidity when you're at 50%. we've had to change a few plans and sacrifice some stuff because of it which blows a little, but it was ultimately unavoidable.

i last wrote when we were in beppu in kyushu, which is southern japan. humid as fuck. i didnt wake up once without a headache because of it. very intense place. we took a 4 hour trip into the deep jungle in the south, to a place called takachiho. the most beautiful place i've ever been to without a doubt. big spiders, bigger trees and bigger gorges than anyway i think i'll ever see. it looks like this:

pretty nice right?

i wish i could upload some of my own pictures but that'll have to wait, i forgot that in japan nowhere has the right card slot for me to upload pictures, and i cant afford to buy a card reader, not on these exchange rates.

from beppu we were supposed to get a ferry up to shikoku and travel through more forest anyway, but we were so unprepared for the day lost being ill that it just wouldnt work.

instead we decided to get back on the bullet train lines and move up to kyoto, which was party/temple central last time we visited, which is a pretty perfect combo for travelling. last time we came we stayed at a place called 'kyoto cheapest inn' which delivers everything you'd expect from that snappy name. possible bedbugs, broken toilets and a stinky 18-bed dorm. its a great, great place. we werent able to get there for our first night in kyoto though, so we booked a place across town that was about 600 yen pricier.

it was pretty luxurious to be fair, and was also the biggest hostel i've ever seen at something like 12 floors. we finally got some washing done after sweating through everything we own, then bought a few baskets of chu-hi (the japanese equivalent to special brew i think, a mix of vodka and lemon at 8%, it seriously knocks you out) and revelled in the magic of kyoto. before we knew it we were getting ruined with a few australian guys, one from canberra, one from melbourne. at about 1am, after pissing off the hostel staff for being rowdy we left to try find a bar, which was surprisingly hard to ask for in a taxi. naturally we got dropped off in the pouring rain on a dark street somewhere. luckily the saving grace of the japanese is their helpfullness, as a couple of guys walked about ten minutes with us to take us to what was apparently a good bar. it turned out to be the biggest club in the city, a place called world. i paid equivalent to twenty pounds to the nice man at the door with a six-inch nail through his nose, taking that as a sign that this was probably an interesting place to go. it turned out to be a house night, with the odd indie coming in every now and again, but it was good. expensive, but good. i can barely remember a thing to be honest, same as everyone else. must've been alright.

after that night we moved across to our favourite hostel, kyoto cheapest inn. i wish i could say that it was a blast but it just wasnt. our first night was quiet as hell, before forty english rugby players from kings college in london turned up on our second night. the last thing i want when i'm travelling japan is forty private-schooled rugby boys with no interest in japan and less common sense. attempting to watch the england game was an absolute nightmare, each one of them reminding me exactly why i dont find england nearly as enjoyable as everywhere else. they were total idiots. pricks. the best part of them being there was aaron hacking into the internet server and changing the name of the internet to connect on to 'yourmumsaslag', which nearly prompted fights:

'what internet do you connect to?'
'your mums a slag'

it passed the time. we intended to change it to something incredibly offensive about rugby before we left but sadly forgot to.

on our last day in kyoto we checked out a great onsen as well, which is like a public bath, except this one had a twist. usually i'm not allowed because of tattoos, but this one seemed fine with it, the only mention of it was from some old man praying to the japanese bosatsu on my arm, which was a little uncomfortable but not really a problem. anyway, the onsen was had an electric current running through it, which was just insane. aaron and i ended up going with a german/australian guy called philip who had told us about it. the feeling was very odd, my hands and arms cramped us as though i was grabbing an electric fence. absolute madness, i'm unsure of its level of safety, but i felt great afterwards for the first time in a week.

after that philip left to go to kyoto and we picked muzz up from his sleep and went across to see some tori gates in the mountains. i hear they were on memoirs of a geisha, but i've never seen it. if its not funny or a romantic comedy i'm clueless. i got bitten to shit by the vicious mosquitos, but we had some good training for fuji, running up thousands of steps in the 85% humidity. definitely needed the practice.

before we left kyoto we did an amazing thing. we had seen at a burger place they had an advert for a 10-burger high burger in the window. it couldnt be real, surely, but we had to try, just to say it had been done. sure enough the gigantic burger existed, 10 cheese slices and 10 burgers high. it was absolutely ridiculous. a heart attack in a bun. it dripped grease, and 3/4 of the way through i was sure i was going to throw it up. i dont think i'll ever eat anything that bad for me again, but we all conquered it at least. we did all sweat meat for the next 48 hours though. my digestive system was screaming.

we were due to get back to tokyo that night for a party but there was a problem. the bar we were going to was usually right near our hostel, but it was all booked up for that night. we were having to be homeless for a night, then check in the day after and catch up some sleep. definitely a very long night, but our only option. to be fair, it saved some dough too.

the party was for gazz, mie and aaron, who had all had birthdays that week, but when i got there i realised that i had also been included even though my birthday isnt for another few weeks. there was piles of cake and kebabs on the bar for it, so much food that we all struggled to get drunk at all. mie gave us all presents and cards which was unexpected and definitely appreciated. i just felt bad that i hadnt got her anything. another classic case of the west taking what it wants and giving nothing back! i'm ashamed, i really am. we tried for karaoke after anyway, but it didnt happen. far too expensive, so at 5am we checked into a cyber cafe for 6 hours to try sleep in a chair. not ideal. it was a rough morning the next day.

we did manage to get across to harajuku and asakusa that hangover morning though, which was a good show, although muzz was definitely struggling. that's all the tourist shit out the way though, presents bought and a hanya mask to hang on my wall. done.

we checked in at 3pm and just crashed. before i knew a thing it was 10:30pm. fantastic, that was my body clock fucked yet again. its no wonder we've been so ill really.

the japan game was on at 11pm anyway so we went to check that out, which was great, before they lost. the japanese are just so happy for there team to be there though, even if they lose. i think english fans could take something from that. theres just zero animosity in the bar.

we ended up in a bar on a corner opposite our hostel until about 5am for some reason. it wasnt our local, but i think the japan loss bummed us all out a bit.

and that brings us up to today. i took myself off on my own for the first time since being away and chilled around ikebukuro, scouring the craft and antique stores for something good (and cheap).

we're having a night in tonght so that we're prepared for tomorrow. the big climb up fuji. we're on a 6:50am train and then its two days up a mountain. i'm shit scared of it at the minute really, but i'm determined to conquer it. next time i write hopefully i will have done! brap brap.

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