Happy Japanniversary to me (reflections on five years in Japan, part one)

This month marks my first big Japanniversary, five years since I first set off from Heathrow, working holiday visa stamped in passport, green-stickered vegetarian meal ordered, and absolutely no idea what to expect.

I was thinking of writing a ‘things I’ve learned about Japan’ type post, but when it comes to this country, it really has been “the more I know…”.  So, instead, I’m going with simply looking back on half a decade spent living half a world away, beginning at the beginning, when my photography was shabby and my Japanese shabbier. Welcome to 2007…

I can still feel the excitement of that first (of many) airport limousine* journeys from Narita to Tokyo, the energy – only found in a city so totally crammed with life – palpable even from behind glass. Tokyo was like nowhere else I’d ever been, and in those first months it really did feel a little like living in another world. Everything was so new, so exciting, so foreign. I barely left Tokyo that first year – we took day trips to Nikko and Kamakura and I climbed Mount Fuji, which still seems highly unlikely – but for the most part it was TokyoTokyoTokyo and it was wonderful.

Out of Tokyo…

Stone lanterns, Nikko

Daibutsu (Great Buddha), Kamakura

Climbing Mount Fuji

And in…

The next few are from Yoyogi Park, site of so very many Sunday afternoons (and so very much fun)…

Next time: 2008 – festivals, Kyoto, and a different view of Fuji.

*not actually a limousine, somewhat disappointingly, but a bus.


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