Into the mountains… and into the past

Shinkyo bridge
One of the joys of the trip was the 1 ½ weeks I spent alone in the Japanese Alps. I had been really excited going to onsen (Japanese spa) towns for a soak among the mountains and forests, away from the overwhelming cities, and I was not disappointed.

After three culture-shocked days in Tokyo I headed out to the cool hills of Nikko, a small town north of Tokyo that was famous for its shrines as well for its scenery. While most people came on day trips, I stayed for two nights at the lovely Annex Turtle Inn. It was set by the river and had a magnificent bathroom!

What a way to end the day

Post-tour, I also headed out to the mountains, this time north-west of Nagoya. The Kiso Valley is surrounded by steep mountains, and the towns of Tsumago and Magome are lovingly preserved.


There weren’t any telephone or electricity poles in the towns to marr the view, and the effect was truly as if I had stepped back 100 or so years ago.

On the Nakasendo

There was also a path, once the old post road (the Nakasendo) between Kyoto and Tokyo, between the two villages.

Odaki waterfall

I spent a very peaceful Sunday morning walking the 7 or so kilometres between them. You can almost believe that a samurai will come walking down the path at any minute!

A spring at a shrine along the way

TV Mayhem

I have always known that Japanese TV was rather, well, unusual. Over the years I have seen glimpses of this in the Iron Chef and zany game shows and pranks that have that have a particular emphasis on pain endurance as well as humiliation, but these shows are truly unique!

Firstly, this little show takes corporal punishment to new levels.

But eclipsing all of this is Razor Ramon Hard Gay.

Razor Ramon Hard Gay

No pain on this show, but something altogether more disturbing… OK, somehow I don’t think he’ll get a show in Australia, but it is nevertheless compulsive viewing and had me in stitches!

Sushi Breakfast

Just to prove that this is not only a Mr Hottie blog, I will change the subject completely and focus on Japan, my most recent holiday destination.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with gazillion snaps or an endless slideshow (though it could be arranged), but on some of the more amusing (or omoshiroi as the Japanese say) aspects of the trip.

First up, the food. I’m not a tour kind of girl as most people know, but I wanted to see a more meaningful Japan, and when I found out about a gourmet tour, well, I signed up there and then.

Japanese food does tend to polarise people. Some people squirm and some people are completely addicted to it. I’m closer to the latter, and from the range of food available in Sydney (or Shidonii in Japanese), I know it’s more than just sushi. There are fab noodles in broth, Japanese adaptations of international dishes like schnitzel, curry, and battered food, and then the endless rows of vending machines selling every type of beverage imaginable. But in the end, the most memorable Japanese food moment did involve sushi.

On the first night of the tour, Darron, our very amusing leader, told us on a previous trip a girl had ordered a ‘dancing prawn sushi’, dancing because it was still twitching. Well, we ended up having a dancing prawn moment of our own when we had a sushi breakfast in Tokyo.

Let's go fishing!

Let’s go fishing!

A beheading

A beheading.



The finished product

The finished product.

It's still twitching!

It’s still twitching!