People always say that you should never run away from your problems, and this is true, however sometimes what you do need is space. Space to be alone, space to think and space to forget. Shortly after being diagnosed with depression I spent a few weeks back at my parents house in the country trying to work out what to do with my life. Despite many discussions and countless plans nothing seemed to click, every time I thought I had come up with a way to move forward something took the ground out from right under my feet.
It wasn’t until I was sat on my bed with my best friend that I realised space was what I needed. We spent all night debating every location under the sun from Malawi to Mongolia and Brazil to Burma but the moment Japan was mentioned nothing else stood a chance. So that night we booked our flights to Japan; 2 months, no plan, no aim and (as far as many of our friends were concerned) no reason.
Japan has always held a mysterious and powerful appeal for me, a nation with a long and proud history. It’s a country that isolated itself for almost two centuries, a country as famous for its military prowess as it is for its wartime tragedies. So when we were deciding where to go there was only really one option…Nippon, the Land of the Rising Sun.
We are travelling the entire length of the country from Hokkaido in the North all the way to tropical Okinawa in the South, taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of everything in between.
Japan is about as unique as cultures get, the combination of an isolationist foreign policy and its location on the far eastern coast of Asia has meant that for much of Japan’s history it saw little contact with the outside world. Instead what brief glimpses of foreign culture did reach these far-flung islands were quickly adopted and transformed beyond recognition.
Despite its prominence in the technological and economic developments of the 20th and 21st Centuries this country remains an enigma for many. From the outside it appears to be a place where honour and shame play a key role in the everyday life of its citizens, a place that at first glance seems to be a futuristic, neon-fuelled melting pot of innovation and invention. However I hope to prove that Japan is so much more than this, that once you leave the bright lights of Tokyo or Osaka there is a land that remains very much bound to its ancient roots.
This is the land of the Samurai and the Geisha, the backdrop for Akira Kurosawa’s epic ‘Ran’ and the birthplace of Nintendo, Pokémon and instant noodles!
It is this unique and strange culture along with the exquisite cuisine and breath-taking scenery that draws me to Japan. During the trip my friend will be filming our adventures while I document them on here, this is truly a trip of discovery and as far as planning goes we are leaving a lot of it up to chance, seeing what happens and tackling this immense country head-on.
We will be posting the blog every 3-4 days…unless something drastic happens. So please stay tuned for what will hopefully be an eventful, insightful and enlightening trip for us as well as you!
See you soon…