Japan
Genji Yama

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    • Day 61

      Kamakura

      October 31, 2022 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

      Zu Beginn der Woche unternehmen wir einen Tagesausflug mit dem Zug in die Küstenstadt Kamakura. Den Tipp haben wir direkt am Flughafen von einem freundlichen älteren Japaner bekommen, der sogar auf Deutsch zu uns meinte, dass Kamakura bei keinem Japan Besuch fehlen darf. Das lassen wir uns nicht zwei mal sagen. Unser erstes Ziel ist ein zauberhafter Bambusgarten, in welchem wir unsere erste Teezeremonie genießen. Lecker Matcha! Der grüne Tee schmeckt doch um einiges intensiver als zu Hause. Und weil das so lecker ist, gibt es gleich im Anschluss auch noch ein Matcha Eis. Gutes Stichwort, neben unzähligen Tempeln und Schreinen, haben wir nicht einmal in Tokio soooo viele Süßigkeiten gesehen wie in Kamakura! Ein Schlemmerparadies bzw. Stimmungsbooster um bis zum großen Buddha Daibutsu zu laufen. Dieser gilt übrigens als zweitgrößter Bronze-Buddha Japans (der größte steht in Nara) und ist allein wegen seiner Höhe von 13 Metern mega beeindruckend. Der Tag geht mit vielen herbstlichen Eindrücken und einem Sonnenuntergang am Meer zu Ende. Wir essen in einem typischen Okonomiyaki und grillen unser Essen unter Anleitung der unendlich lieben japanischen Bedienung direkt selbst am Tisch. Ich freue mich riiiesig, dass Andy auch nach 2 Monaten Reiserei noch "kochen" kann. Zurück in Tokio treffen wir Chica, eine Freundin von Andy - 10 Jahre nicht gesehen, 0 verändert. Zeit ist eben doch relativ. Kanpei!!! (Prost auf Japanisch)Read more

    • Day 8

      Kamakura & Enoshima

      June 26, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 28 °C

      Kamakura und Enoshima ist ein beliebter Tagestrip für Japaner aus Tokyo. Mit dem Nahverkehr fahre ich problemlos bis nach Fujisawa und steige dort um in die Enoden Electric Railway, welche oft als Motiv für Artworks und Animes verwendet wird. In Kamakura wird mir schnell klar, dass ich zu spät bin und hier scheinbar vor allem chinesische Touristen unterwegs sind. Generell fällt mir folgendes auf: Chinesische Touristen reisen fast immer in Gruppen über 5 Leuten, Amerikaner und Südamerikaner sieht man nur als Familie oder in jungen Gruppen, Spanier meistens ältere Paare und deutsche einzeln oder Paare, alle anderen sind unterrepräsentiert.
      Da Kamakura mehr abseits vom Schuss ist, sind die Tempel und Schreine hier von Natur umringt, insbesondere gefällt mir der Zeniarai-Schrein, den man durch einen kleinen Tunnel betreten muss, der in einen Berg gehauen wurde. In einem der anderen Tempel musste man seine Schuhe ausziehen, dieser war der einzige der nicht überlaufen war. Anschließend wollte ich auf dem Daibutsu Hiking Trail wieder bergab wandern nach Hasē, da dieser aber nicht in allzu gutem Zustand war, hat es länger gedauert als gedacht und ich bin fast zu spät zu der großen Buddhastatue gekommen, die das Markenzeichen von Kamakura ist (Tempel/Schreine machen oft um 16-17 Uhr zu). Auf dem Weg zurück nach Fujisawa habe ich noch einen kurzen Zwischenstopp in Enoshima gemacht. Enoshima ist besonders bekannt für Enoshima Island, die Insel, die man zu Fuß betreten kann und auf der ebenfalls einige Schreine zu sehen sind, sowie die Enoshima Sea Candle. Von Fujisawa aus fahre ich wieder zurück und esse noch was bevor ich früh schlafen gehe, morgen muss ich meine Sachen packen und auschecken.
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    • Day 8

      Spaziergang nach Shichirigahama Beach

      June 14, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

      Vom Bambuswald aus ging’s dann noch mal über den Shintoschrein (bei der mir eine sehr liebe Gruppe Vorschulkinder entgegen kam, die mich auf englisch interviewten und mir etwas über ihre Heimatstadt erzählten) in Richtung Shichirigahama Beach quer durch Kamakura.
      Ich hab zum ersten Mal einen echten Eukalyptusbaum gesehen und bin maximal beeindruckt wie die Hortensien hier blühen.
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    • Day 10

      Kamakura day trip

      February 26 in Japan ⋅ 🌬 12 °C

      We had an easy start to the day and introduced mum to the combini breakfast.

      After this, we set off to Kamakura. We walked up the old shopping street, tasting some goodies along the way, such as curry bread, awesome fresh Taiyaki, and an amazing chicken curry croquette. We walked up to the temple and the back down the main street, stopping at stores along the way.

      We then stopped in at Saizariya for a sit-down lunch. After this, we caught the bus to Daibutsu, the giant Budda. Mum wanted to see this as her father, my grandfather, had photos here from after the war. We also paid the 50yen extra and went inside.

      From here, we walked down to Hase station to Enoshima and then caught the Shonan monorail back up to Ofuna, and from here, the train back to Yokohama.

      At Yokohama, we visited the showroom of Nissan world headquarters. Jason and I got to sit in a GTR, Dale and Oscar got to have a go at driving a simulator. Then we went to Suraguya and the kids had a ball spending money on lots of cheap stuff. Namely, a giant goat stuffy from Disney wish for 300yen. After we managed to drag the kids out of the store we went and had dinner at Wendy's - teriyaki burgers were nice.

      It was late and we rode trains bavk to Oshiage (skytree) where we were staying.
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    • Day 91

      Kamakura

      December 30, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 8 °C

      יום אחרון החלטנו לצאת לעיר קאמקורה שליד טוקיו.
      עיר בירה עתיקה של יפן עם מלא מקדשים בכמות שהיו הרבה שעברנו לידם ולא נכנסנו. היה גם בודהה גדול מפורסם.
      את כל העיר עשינו רגלית ואפילו הספקנו מסלול בטבע באמצע שראינו בו המון סנאים חמודים מנשנשים אגוזים.
      סיימנו את המסלול שלנו על חוף הים בשקיעה ושוב ראינו באופק את החבר שלנו לפעם האחרונה פוג'י! תחפשו בתמונה.
      היה יום מאוד טעים וכיפי מלא ביפנים נחמדים וכלבים בעגלות כמובן.
      חזרנו ישר להוסטל לארוז והשלמות, אציראן אחרון (כן שוב ראמן) וסיימנו את היום בלוז הרגיל שהוא מוצ'י תות מוצלח ביותר.
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    • Day 5

      FFFB Sondereintrag: Sicherheitswarnung

      March 25, 2018 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

      Liebe FFFB-Fans,
      es meldet sich der Co-Author dieses Blogs mit einer dringlichen Angelegenheit! Solltet ihr euch an den Strand von Kamakura begeben oder eines der nachfolgenden Schilder lesen, ist höchste Vorsicht geboten. Hinterlistige Vögel haben es auf euer teuer verdientes Essen abgesehen. Wir wurden selber Zeuge, wie einem armen Japaner das Essen aus der Hand geklaut wurde!Read more

    • Day 62

      Kamakura

      November 5, 2018 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

      Habe die letzte Nacht im Ushio Guest House in Kamakura verbracht, 2 Gehminuten vom Strand entfernt! Kamakura ist ca. 2 Stunden von Inage entfernt, also auch um ein bisschen Abstand vom internationalen Trubel zu bekommen, war es mir das wert, nicht nur einen Tagesausflug dorthin zu machen. Und wenn man sich wie ich wieder die abgelegeneren Teehäuser mit Zen-Gärten ausspäht, erfährt man buchstäblich das Gegenteil von Trubel!
      Heute im Jomyoji-Tempel Matcha-Tee mit Moji genossen und wieder bewusst nicht fotografiert, so perfekt war es! Der Tee ultra dickflüssig, fast ein Sirup und saftig grün mit etwas hellerem grünen Schaum, der Miniblasen wirft, wie eine Art Crema beim Espresso. In einem großen Becher, den man mit beiden Händen nicht umschließen kann, aus sehr grober terracottafarbener Keramik mit weißer Glasur. Es ist da normal nur ein Bodensatz Tee drin, reicht aber auch. Man muss den Mund bisschen weiter aufmachen, so dick ist die henkellose Tasse! Und deren heißer Boden wärmt die Hände. Der Schaum knistert auf der Zunge und der Tee ist bitter... Deshalb gibt es dazu auf einer quadratischen Schale (außen schwarz, innen rot) zwei lilane Moji mit grünem marzipanähnlichem Topping. Sie sind ebenfalls viereckig und ca. 2 x 2 x 2 cm, glitzernd in Zucker gerollt. Diese beiden heute waren innen aus Reisteig und außen die süßliche Bohnenpaste, konventionell ist das hier immer andersrum.
      Und ich sitze nur da, kaum Besucher, betrachte den Steingarten vom Engawa aus, fühle die Tatami-Matte, rieche den Nebel und höre aus dem Bambusrohr das Tropfen von Wasser auf Stein.
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    • Day 47

      Kamakura, Enoshima, Japon

      October 15, 2016 in Japan ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

      Alors Kamakura. Comment vous expliquer ça simplement. Hmm. Bouddha. Les temples. L'océan Pacifique. Mais surtout les temples. Et le Grand Bouddha de Kamakura. Et puis les temples aussi.
      Cette ville c'est un peu la Boulogne sur mer des Tokyoïtes, mais c'est surtout une des anciennes capitales politiques du Japon (de 1185 à 1333 parce que j'ai bien appris mes cours de première année). Mais si, rappelez-vous, de l'époque où les Japonais s'amusaient à déplacer la capitale à chaque fois qu'ils changeaient d'Empereur. Alors imaginez-vous une petite bourgade fort sympathique au demeurant (qu'on a visitée par un temps splendide en plus, pour ne rien gâcher) qui se dresse au bord de la mer, pas bien loin du Mont Fuji et qui défie l'horizon dans une audace tranquille. C'est précisément cette tranquillité qu'on a décidé d'aller perturber un peu Jess, Ben, Sophie et moi. Alors on est arrivés vers 10h sur place et comme on n'avait aucun plan d'action (comme souvent en fait) on a appliqué une stratégie ancestrale qui a maintes fois fait ses preuves : "suivez la foule", ce qui nous a naturellement amenés tout droit sur l'attraction principale du lieu, le Grand Bouddha de Kamakura. 13 mètres de haut, 121 tonnes. Ça fait depuis 1252 qu'il médite, mais à la base il était abrité dans un temple, le Kotoku-in, sauf que ce temple a été emporté par un tsunami au 15ème siècle et que les tentatives de reconstruction ont échoué à cause d'autres catastrophes naturelles. Du coup ben, finalement les Japonais ont décidé qu'il prendrait l'air et que ça lui ferait pas de mal. Enfin, ça lui a juste fait perdre sa couleur dorée. Après avoir suivi l'exemple de notre guide spirituel local et acheté de nouvelles tongues pour Sophie, nous avons mis le cap sur le temple Hasedera, fondé en 736. En fait, selon la légende (enfin, d'après ce que j'ai compris), en 721 un moine a découvert un grand camphrier dans la forêt près du village de Hase. Et là il s'est dit "c'est tu bin grand c't affaire, faque j'pourrais en faire deux statues de Kannon à huit têtes !" Une réaction somme toute assez commune quoi. Du coup c'est exactement ce qu'il a fait, la première de ces statues a été placée au temple Hasedera à Sakurai, et puis l'autre ben, elle a été jetée à la mer (YOLO) une prière faisant voeu que la statue réapparaisse pour venir en aide au peuple. Et v'là-t'y-pas que quinze ans après, en 736 donc, cette statue s'est échouée près de Kamakura. Du coup elle s'est retrouvée dans le second temple Hasedera où elle est toujours vénérée aujourd'hui. Elle mesure 9 mètres et est totalement recouverte de feuille d'or. C'était quand même un peu dommage de juste la balancer à l'eau. Bon, on a fait le tour du temple et des jardins, l'atmosphère était incroyablement ressourçante, calme et les terrasses du temple offraient une superbe vue sur l'océan. Après ça, on a décidé d'aller pratiquer le yoga de l'estomac dans un restaurant traditionnel à deux pas du temple, on s'est offert des okonomiyaki que l'on a d'ailleurs préparés nous-mêmes et c'était dé-li-cieux ! Et puis ensuite on s'est tout doucement dirigés vers la gare afin de reprendre un train pour aller à Enoshima retrouver d'autres potes, profiter de l'ambiance des derniers festivals d'été, du coucher de soleil depuis la plage et surtout des feux d'artifices. Beaucoup, beaucoup, beaucoup, BEAUCOUP, beaucoup de monde avait fait le déplacement. D'ailleurs, une fois les festivités terminées, ça a été bien l'fun pour réussir à retourner à la gare haha. Là pour le coup on n'a pas eu trop de mal à appliquer notre stratégie initiale de "suivez la foule" parce que même si on avait voulu faire semblant d'avoir une personnalité et des idées avant-gardistes, ce soir-là, on n'aurait pas réussi. Je n'ai aucune idée de combien on était mais ça m'a rappelé les feux d'artifices du 14 juillet à Paris. Notre groupe s'est retrouvé complètement éclaté et l'on s'est tous plus ou moins perdus dans la foule. Mais par un coup de pouce de Kannon à huit têtes sans doute, on s'est tous retrouvés dans la même rame pour rentrer à Tokyo ! Et on a fini la soirée au karaoke !Read more

    • Day 7

      Kamakura-eleon ; We Come and Go

      May 17, 2019 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

      Today we said goodbye to the shit-hole that was and, barring immediate refurbishment subsequent to our departure, is the Tokyo House Inn.

      This isn't quite the damning dismissal it might appear to be. Shit-holes, most particularly the plumbed-in variety, are an utterly essential facility in homes and business establishments, with their absence considered a puzzling quirk at best and, at worst, a flagrant breach of The Workplace (Health, Safety, and Welfare) Regulations 1992.They serve a purpose and are indisposable in the field of bodily waste disposal.

      Similarly, the Tokyo House Inn served a purpose. It's just a shame that purpose didn't encompass the provision of rudimentary rest-house services.

      Whilst I genuinely appreciated the attempt at providing a power-socket terminal for each bed, on mine the USB ports were broken. Worse, on the beds where they were functional, their operation entailed the permanent illumination of a blue LED which is the absolute worst light output possible for science/heath reasons I don't understand but will proclaim as irrefutable fact regardless. As a simple annoyance, however, this persistent twinkle was completely overshadowed by the absence of shadow being cast by our dorm-room door. A simple frame encasing a large, frosted-glass panel, its translucence became prominently problematic at night time as it permitted the passage of light from the hallway outside, which we were able to switch off but that would be shortly afterward switched back on again by another Inn guest as our hallway was a key thoroughfare between bunks and bathroom. Oh, and breakfast was a complete joke; the punchline being that it took about twenty minutes to mildly singe a slice of bread in a table-top toaster oven of which there were precisely two for a hostel holding upwards of fifty people, eighteen-or-so of whom would be breakfasting at around the same time every day.

      I’m informed that the female and couple dorms (in the building next-door) were better, but even if true this would be sexist/couple-ist so would still count against them. Overall, I’d give the Tokyo House Inn two-out-of-five stars ; one for location (one minute walk from a Family-Mart, mitigating the breakfast situation) and one because one-star reviews are generally discarded out of hand as being whiny and reactive and I’d hate for my considered, structured views to be pigeon-holed as such. Also any place calling itself an ‘Inn’ should serve beer and they didn’t. One-and-a-half stars.

      Before departing we all posed for a picture outside, genuinely chuffed to have the place literally behind us. Somewhat notably, this was the first time we’d all convened with our baggage ready to start actually ‘travelling’ together. I was surprised to see some people had brought suitcases instead of rucksacks, but also at how compact some peoples’ luggage was compared to my own. Still, I don’t workout multiple times a week to not bring as heavy a bag as my airline would permit. Additionally, I’d resolved to bring sufficient clothing to wear something different nearly every day without having to do laundry; a decision that (spoilers!), once I witnessed the consequent distress and trauma of those who eventually did undertake to do laundry when the opportunity arose, I felt entirely reassured by.

      I don’t much recall the specifics of the journey we took (broadly, following Yukko through and on several excellent, on-time and well-maintained public transit vehicles), but we eventually ended up in Kamakura; a coastal town south of Tokyo where we’d be spending the day and night. Today’s hostel, the ‘Webase Hostel’, was a short walk from the station and was every bit the cheese to the Tokyo House Inn’s chalk, with extensive on-site amenities, fully operational facilities and sleeping quarters encased in opacity. We couldn’t check-in immediately so we dropped our bags in a holding room and we headed out for lunch.

      A short walk down the coast-line we found a couple of small restaurants, with the majority of us opting for the Thai café. The size of our group clearly overwhelmed the kitchen and some peoples’ orders took quite a while to materialise, I noted smugly whilst devouring my speedily-delivered bowl of red curry & rice.

      Once everybody had eaten we wandered further down the coast then ventured in-land through the quant streets of this tourist-town, spying and sampling some of the various shopping establishments. In one shop, Ruth discovered the existence of and developed a quick passion for Japanese puzzle-boxes ; delicately-crafted wooden constructs with convoluted methods for opening and priced by size and complexity. Whilst none available here piqued her interest sufficiently to prompt a purchase, Ruth’s mission to find a suitable souvenir puzzle-box is a worthy enough B-story to warrant mention and follow-up. To be continued…

      We soon-after arrived at our first itinerary-stop of the day; the ‘Daibutsu’ at the Kotoku-In Temple. ‘Daibutsu’ is an informally-used Japanese term for giant Buddha statues, with this usage proven formally accurate in this case. The bronze-cast statue, dating back to the thirteenth century, was indeed large; the second-largest in Japan I was told but most definitely the largest we’d be witnessing on thistrip. It possessed this effect whereby it seemed to grow larger the closer you got to it, which is an ancient Japanese principle known as ‘perspective’. We were able to go inside it, but there wasn’t much there. Aside from excellent acoustics, which enabled me to win the hastily-devised ‘evil laugh’ competition (in doing-so likely offending many of those visiting with religious alignment to the subject matter).

      It was at this point in the day that it was highlighted to me that it looked like I was burning. Whilst I had applied sunscreen earlier in the day, we had both been on the go for longer than the specified protection period stated on the bottle and, as had also been pointed out to me, the sunscreen I was using appeared to have a greater marketing emphasis on its skin-moisturisation properties than UV-resistance, with its apparent effects reflecting these priorities. I’d also not brought any sunscreen with me this day since, as aforementioned in an earlier blog, my travel bag had either the capacity for sunscreen, a water-bottle or an umbrella but no combination of the three. Veronika kindly let me borrow (on a no-returns basis) some of her actually-protective German-branded cream ; kindness I reciprocated by misjudging my grip on the bottle and inadvertently squirting a decent dollop of it over her bag.

      Zeniarai Benzaiten Ugafuku Shrine was the next stop listed on the itinerary, which was helpful as there’s no way I’d have been able to transcribe its name from mere audible reference. This entailed a brief, albeit challenging for some, wander through the nearby woodland wherein the less mature amongst us entertained themselves by climbing trees whilst the more mature remarked on the immaturity of this undertaking. The 800 year-old shrine itself was deep in the wooded hills, surrounded by rock walls and could only be reached on-foot via a carved-out tunnel. Upon arrival we were informed of the tradition of entering a cave beside the shrine and washing our money (both coins and notes) in the spring waters with legend stating this would cause the money to multiply. As I’ve been seeking a credit extension for a while now, I gave my Mastercard a quick rinse whilst I was at it.

      Up some steps near the main shrine was a smaller, secondary shrine adorned with a symbol that I instantly recognised as the ‘triforce’ logo from the Legend of Zelda video games. Despite this slightly marring my perception of Nintendo’s creativity, it was pretty cool to see this adorning such a place in such a country and its usage in this context went some way to distilling the aesthetic inspirations for much of Breath of the Wild ; an observation I’d have shared if I’d felt anybody around me would have appreciated it (possibly-Martin, with whom I’d previously discussed the game series with and probably-Christina, his partner/girlfriend/wife, weren’t with us today).

      Before departing the shrine I bought an ice-cream, which was interestingly churned from vending apparatus that required the insertion of flavoured capsules not dissimilar to a Nespresso machine. The resultant product was fairly good, though less interesting than the manner in which it was made insomuch as I distinctly recall and jotted down notes as regards the process but can’t remember what flavour I had. It might have been matcha flavoured, since around 80% of confectionary items in this country appear to be and all of them are distinctly and equally unmemorable.

      We wandered back toward civilisation and to a supermarket, where we were advised there were no evening dinner plans nor much close by to where we werestaying, so to buy some food for dinner and breakfast the next day. The supermarket was pretty upmarket, with concession-style food distributors offering fancily-packed prepared foodstuffs with various samples available to help inform purchases. Mind, I’ve no basis for comparison so this could quite easily have been a downmarket Lidl/Aldi equivalent and a theoretical Waitrose-level grocery-shopping experience exists to be discovered. From my perspective, however, this was at minimum Sainsburys-standard, with Tesco overtures and Asda influences coupled with Co-op conveniences, M&S Food Hall-style amenities and a bit of Booths to balance. Morrisons is also a supermarket.

      I purchased a variety of baked goods, requiring no further preparation or cooking to become edible (my favourite foodstuffs), for both my evening meal and breakfast as well as a bonus, crème-patisserie laden tart for immediate consumption. As the day’s hours waned, we then hurriedly returned to the hostel so as to have daylight time for a promised outing to the nearby beach.

      Beaches, as a general concept, are hardly high on my holiday highlight list. I feel this is likely due to the natural connotation between ‘beaches’ and ‘beach-holidays’, the latter of which I find monstrously dull. Any excess of time spent lounging on a beach is time that might be spent seeing or experiencing something of deeper aesthetic or cultural value than a narrow mass of sand or rocks beside a lapping expanse of water. However, on this occasion, as the afternoon waned and the assurance that this would be the only opportunity during our trip to visit a beach was voiced (a lie, but whatever), the prospect evolved from lazy diversion to that of time-limited challenge. Hurriedly checking-in to the hostel I rushed to my elevated bad-compartment within our group’s sleeping-quarters, quickly changed into appropriate gear, grabbed my microfibre towel, slipped on my slip-on Birkenstocks and wandered the two-minute walk to the seafront.

      Upon arrival at the beach I immediately left the beach, proceeding straight into the water-feature without which the beach would not be a beach but that technically isn’t a part of the beach itself. The sun had receded behind the clouds and the wind was picking-up, rendering the standard crotch-level checkpoint a point of no return; the maintenance of comfortable body-temperature only achievable by continuing to the shoulder-submersion depths.

      After some brief wave-jumping with various members of the group, Veronika splashed into the ocean to join the fun. The two of us somehow ended up a fair distance down the coast from the rest of the group, possibly a result of currents or potentially a reactionary defence mechanism instigated by my ego to ensure I was outside of direct-comparison range of the buff muscularity that Craig had got goin' on. I’m pretty comfortable in both my skin and with the developed fibrous tissues beneath stretching and forming said skin, but even a top-tier BMW doesn’t want to share a showroom with a Bentley. I’d already made a mental note (because of course I had) of Veronika’s stated affinity for the ‘good-looking men’ of the Marvel movies, and I doubt she was referring to Happy Hogan. Personally, even I wouldn’t kick Chris Pratt out of bed; though almost entirely out of fear of him kicking back.

      I continue to enjoy Veronika’s company, both within our established sub-group and during occasional, fleeting one-on-one moments such as this. I was also quite taken with her choice of swimwear, which I might elaborate on were I not an anointed gentleman of the British realm. That said, I still can’t be sure whether she and Flo are an item. They don’t outwardly express affection in excess of ‘friendly’, but then perhaps that’s par-for-the-course for German couples. I don’t know; I do care, but I can’t figure out a way to enquire that wouldn’t overtly outlay some ulterior aspiration. Speaking of Flo, he had neglected to bring any swimwear with him so had remained on the beach, but soon grew envious of the jollity on display so ventured into the sea in his underwear; a brave fashion choice that placed him in the highest echelons of body-confidence.

      After the beach, a bunch of us went once again for a group-soak in the hostel’s bath-house. As before, this entailed sex-segregation and obligatory full nudity, guaranteeing the inevitable movie adaptation of this blog will need significant edits to achieve a family-friendly classification rating. But this wasn’t a problem; any mild reticence from our first-time alleviated by a sense of habituality. With this repeated mention and undeniable thematic recurrence of male form and body-image you’d think I’d have something profound to say about the modern-day societal pressures imposed on men, the prevalence of gender-norm expectations and the inescapable, harmful impact toxic masculinity has on the world at large. But I don’t.

      In the evening hours we all congregated in the hostel’s common area, cooked (or simply ate) our pre-purchased food and just generally co-existed together with the generic socialising and conversation so frequently associated with such gatherings. As most people peeled off to bed, a group of us remained up until the late/early hours, with the main conversation topic seemingly being the attempted explanation of British humour to the Germans, by way of listing and detailing the premises of popular comedy shows from the last fifty-or-so-years.

      There was concurrence on the amusement value of Monty Python, though upon mention of the ‘Fliegender Zirkus’ special shows the troupe had produced specifically for the German audience I was surprised to find that they preferred the German-dubbed, original English production. I’m told that the Lumberjack song in particular is far more amusing in the German translation as opposed to the Michael Palin reciting-phonetically-transcribed-German version. Despite the Python link, they hadn’t heard of Fawlty Towers so we attempted in earnest to convey both Torquay and the particular hilarity of the ‘Germans’ episode, though I don’t think we sufficiently sold it. Whilst, somewhat ironically, this description of describing classic comedy is rather flat, as a topic on which I feel fairly schooled I found this evening to be a tremendously enjoyable cultural exchange. Although I stopped short of mentioning ‘Allo Allo’, which is questionable in terms of its portrayal of Germans but, more importantly, really isn’t very funny or well written and as such any endorsement by myself would tarnish my established taste in terms of all things comedic.

      I mean, I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it…
       
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    • Day 4

      Wiedersehen Nr. 2

      March 24, 2017 in Japan ⋅ 🌙 8 °C

      We found each other easily. They suggested to spend the day in Kamakura. So we took the train and went to see different shrines and temples as well as a big buddha. We had a delicious lunch in a traditional japanese restaurant. I was again in food heaven. The language we had during our conversation was a mix of English, German, French and Italian. He is a Professor in European History of Economics and lived in Amsterdam and Torino in the late sixties and seventies. Actually we figured out that we met in 2007. He then just finished the pilgrim to Santiago de Compostela. What a lovely couple they are, I am grateful and humbled that I was able to spend some time with them. Now I will head home and hopefully find the flat of Etsuko, since I will be on my own tonight before heading to Osaka tomorrow. I'm already in love with this country and the people living in.Read more

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Genji Yama, げんじやま

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