Well, well, well. I have gone and done it again! If you have been following my blogs for some time you will no doubt see that I have a fixation with Japan and Japanese culture. And of course, a big part of this has been my ability to travel there in 2015, 2016 and again in 2017. Then there has been my ongoing blog series all about how exactly I deal with my withdrawals from Japan. An insight into the crushing realisation and reality that I cannot be in Japan 100% of the time and that even my relatively frequent trip there cannot abate my desire to immerse myself in all things Japanese. In more recent blogs in this series, you will have picked up on the theme that I have not been able to afford a trip there this year – 2018. And that is true. Commitments here at home have meant that I have had to make adult decisions about finances, etc. So what changed?
As much as I would like to say that I struck it rich or that I received a random inheritance from a Nigerian prince, the truth is that I have been able to create a new revenue stream for myself. No, I have NOT put this robust hairy body on the market for seductive encounters. Nor have I sold what remaining and functioning organs I have. Oh, and you will be relieved to know that all the children are still here and well. It is a work in progress but I have found an opening in what previously had seemed like a hopeless situation and have found a means to make my lifestyle and financial needs to work more effectively. And by lifestyle I mean feeding the kids, paying the bills and affording a trip to my spiritual happy place work. Plus, I just need to make it work.
Now, this new trip to Tokyo won’t be until the end of May 2019. So you all have some time to endure my musings on what to do and what gear to take and should I revisit past haunts, etc. But to give you all a little bit of a heads-up, I plan to do things a little different this time around. Keep in mind that I have been to Japan three times before. And two of those times were spent entirely in Tokyo. On my first trip in 2015, I landed at Narita airport and took the Narita Express train to Shibuya where my hotel was located. Sounds simple enough. What I didn’t anticipate, and you can read more about that in past blogs, is the sheer volume of humanity that exists in the space that is Shibuya. It was only momentarily a shock before the photographer in me took control and realised that I needed to lose my suitcase and hit the streets with my camera. That first night saw me in bed as the sun rose.
In the upcoming trip, I plan a return to Shibuya at least for a couple of nights. From there, I am looking at travelling by train to some of the more regional areas surrounding Tokyo. At least a couple of hours away by rail. And based on my early research, it does not take much to escape the intensity and scale of the massive city of Tokyo. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tokyo and plan to make the most of my time there, but it will be my third time. So why not explore further afield. Why not get off a train in a more rural setting and absorb all that is on offer. My love of Japan demands that I experience more than just the giant cities does it not?
So that is the plan. Early stages still. Given I only just booked flights yesterday. Nikko, Hakone, Kamakura, Mount Fuji or Shimoda – all within only a few hours of Tokyo and each a unique experience and destination. So between now and then, you get the pleasure of my musings on how to best spend my time whilst in the Kanto region of Japan. What interests you? What have you experienced in your own travels in the area? What would you recommend to someone like me? Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments as I want to make the most of this amazing opportunity to see and do so much more. Of course, my holiday will be fully focused on photographing all that I see and experience. Again I intend to talk about my kit in the lead up to this trip. I want to travel light but we shall see what actually happens. Happy shooting.