16 - 20191217 - The same real holiday and the same brother

19 december 2019 - Utrecht, Nederland

I am going to start this blog with a couple of endings. So now, the start of writing this blog, I am sitting at Narita Airport in Tokyo. My flight home will depart in a couple of hours and than this will all just be a memory (and a lot of blogs).

At the beginning of this last week it was time to travel again. Our artistic adventure has come to an end, for now. The plan is to have a rest day and just travel to the next stop, which is Osaka, and only get out for a quick sight seeing at Himeji castle. The day starts with some coffee with the owner. We arranged a meeting at eight in the morning, so we got a text at seven saying he is ready to receive us. We both get a cup for the coffee. Now here a lesson can be learned about Japanese culture and their philosophy of life. This actually became apparant two night before, when he invited us for some beer. In Japan, the glass is neither half full or half empty. It is constantly full. In general a good concept for drinks without alcohol and caffeine. I would say. I don't drink coffee so much, so after one cup I am high on caffeine. His grandmother walks in. A lively lady, whom is 87 years old and owns tne clothing shops. She knows a thing or two about fashion. The clothes she sells comes from Italy and Spain and it shows. She is well dressed. She also has a strong opinion about her grandsons outfit. After four cups I shake down the stairs. To the train? No, we must see a park in Okayama first. Well oke, lets go there first than. Fishes are spotted, imitation game is on again. Who do you think does the best fish imitation?

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And here is a picture with three species of animals on it.

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And here is a horizontal tree for you.

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Oke, so we did the park. Is it now time for some relaxing? Yes, a train travel to Himeji, which takes around an hour or so. We get out and put our lugage in a locker on the station and start walking to the castle. This castle is so beautiful, its great, its amazing. They even put a wall around it, a wall for which the king itself did not pay. This guy is example.

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This castle is even more beautifull than Osaka castle. Also the guide is completely in English for once, great stuff. I don't know all the names anymore, but the whole history of the castle is explained. As all castles it starts rather small, as a token of power in the region. As time goes on, different emperors take housing in the castle. Power shifts, leaders get killed, castles taken over. When a new power is established, this means most of the time a bigger conglomerate of Damyo's, so more resources are available. The first thing to do is show of. So the castle started small, got increased in size, more ground was added to the castleground, which implies more walls and also a more profound market area directly surrounding the castle. This market area had tax-exemption to increase commercial activity. The wall was like a very long hallway inside. Hundreds of soldiers were located inside with sleeping compartements along the whole inner inside of the wall. The outer inside of the wall had small holes to fire arrows from and also holes in the floor to throw rocks of hot oil towards the enemy. Also, strike 2.

Now I am feeling this different hairstyles thing. I want more of this. However, more variance is desired, so this time I went for a more traditional judge look.

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The journey continues to Osaka. A trainride which takes a bit longer than an hour and a bit shorter than two. We arrive in Osaka and got hit by crowdedness. People everywhere, sound everywhere, input everywhere. I have got new airphones with active noise cancellation, which is a true revelation for situations like these. We go to the hotel and although I had have a lot of work done on my hair, Jori cannot say this about himself. He is jealous and also wants his head worked on. He looks up a barber and goes there. In the meantime I am writing the provious blog, I think, or I am doing something else. I am waiting for him to send a text that he is done and we'll go somewhere for diner. I receive a text: " Loek, can you come over here? I need to pay by card and I think I don't have the money." Also he sends a location. I jump up and drop whatever I was doing. I need to save my brother! Lets go, lets gooo! I get dressed for the outside and load a route to the location he send me. During this walk I pass a convienience store and take money from an ATM, he needed some he said. I walk to the location which takes about 30-40 minutes. He also send the name of the barber. I start walking around the mark, but for the love of someone, I just not find this barber. I start asking people if they know, but no-one does. A lady is nice enough to look up the location and apparently I need to walk north for half an hour. Ah oke, thanks. Wait, I need to walk an hour northward? Pfffffff, oke, lets get a moving on. After this journey, I find the barber. Here I walk in to a strange view. Jori lays with his head in a headbathtub. The barber is standing over him, it looks like he is puking over Jori's head while having severe stomach cramps.

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Or in different terminology, he is getting a headrub. It looks amazing and I want one too. We need to pay. He asks for the credit card. Credit card? I brought cash man. O shit, we're in trouble. Everywhere but here you pay in cash. He tries his cards. They don't work. I try my regular bank card. Does not work. Jori starts shaking and sweating profusely. SHIT WHAT IS HAPPENING? Eventually the barber says it is oke for Jori to pay in cash. In the meantime a couple of meters of sweat have piled up and we swim out of the door.

The next day I showed him around the neighbourhood I lived for 3 months. We come past the dorm, where the front doru to the main lounge is open, as always, so we can walk in an I show him around. We also go to the university and sit in ochabeya (tea-room). We meet almost all of my colleagues, who walk in and out of the room. Very nice to have the time to talk with them and see how my brother interacts with these peoples.

Afterwards we go back to the hotel, fresh up and get ready for a gyoza party. I invited my friends from the dorm and my colleagues to join us at Dotonbori (here a last in-the-dark impression)

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To eat gyoza.

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And go to Round One for Round Last. It is a hectic night, getting a group inside the restaurant, let them order food and the same for Round One. It takes some time, but it workoed out. At Round One there is some new insight. There is not one floor, but there are in fact three floors full of playable games. Eventually all of us end up on a soccer cage with big balloons. The ones where you get into and than you can just run into everyone. This stuf is hilarious.

The day after Round Last we just want to sleep in. However, everyone who asked if Jori has been to Kyoto, demanded that he goes there before leaving. So we wake up at 8 in the morning and move towards Kyoto. The planning is to go to a bamboo forrest and the Kiyomizu-dera temple. Which is an odd name for a temple, because dera also means temple, so the name of the temple is Kiyomizu-temple temple. Well oke. We arrive at Kyoto and see on god-maps that we still need to go for more train to go to the baboo forrest. We get in one, which drives mostly through mountaintunnels. Sometimes we get out of a tunnel, to go into one again. Jori thinks he knows where we need to get out, so we get out there. This is actually not where we need to get out, but! The trainstation is just a bridge, between two mountain tunnels.

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But the view, I think this station is made just so you can enjoy the view.

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Oke, so back in a train the other way again and lets get out at the bamboo park. I expected to be able to walk through this forrest as one can walk in a normal forrest. Sadly this was not the case. Fences were put up and you could only see the bamboo from afar. This is also the first time I come in an area which is filled with tourists.

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Oke, not so interesting, so after not to long we take the train back to Kyoto main station to take another train in the direction of the temple temple. Maybe it should be granted the name temple temple temple, because it will make our hattrick complete. We walk up to mountain, for me to remember that I have been here before. However, back than we were tired and did not really wanted to go into the temple temple temple, because the temple temple temple was under construction. What about this time Loek?! Was it any different? Well, this time we were tired and temple temple temple was under construction. So, again, not again, we went in. But before going in, I was a bit ashamed of my hair, so I change it up again.

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And now we have been to all touristic stuff which was under construction, Gate in de water, Himeji castle and Temple temple temple.

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This place was also completely full of people. Man, I get so anoyed by tourists.

We go home, slepping most of the way to Osaka. Just to wake up and remember the day is not over. In the evening we're meeting Hamed to go to a karaoke-gay-bar. Have a chat, drink and sing. Which turned out to mostly singing.

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A group of three of Japanese people comes in. One of them wants to sing. He wants to sing badly. 5 times. All the same song.

This evening takes us to the late night hours. But the next day is only a Shinkansen travel to Tokyo. And as we all know, our travel days are completely filled with resting. So no worries about the time. Destroyed we pack our bags and move towards Shin-Osaka to get into a bullet train. These trains are so incredibly comfortable, it is unbelievable. No shakiness, good sound-isolation from the outside, fast WiFi. Dutch trains can learn a thing or three from them.

So before going to Japan, I really wanted to climb Mt. Fuji. This could only be done until the tenth of september. Initially the plan was to go the 9th of august, but it turned out I went the 28th of august. No time to visit the mountain anymore, which bummed me out initially. However, this bullet train is on a track to salvation. We have a fantastic view of the mountain from inside the train.

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After arriving in Tokyo we leave the station.

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We move towards our last hotel. Next to our hotel there is a bridge, the skytree and something that resembles a golden sperm cell.

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The next day we go to TeamLab. A industrial building, filled with lights.

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There was also a room with led-string hanging from the ceiling. Like 5 meters high and there were hundreds of strings.

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And there was a room with a story. The visitors can stand somewhere and the closest light lights up in a specific color. The it evolves in a wavelike pattern. So with more people in the room, you bound to have intersection of light. When this happens the colors mix and these intersection lamps show the mixed color. There is a line before this room. Waiting time? Forty minutes. So you're not allowed to wander for free through the room. We go in in batches and walk like chickens without heads around the room to chekc it out. The story was nonsense. No interaction occured between the visitors and the lamps. A bit of a downer. Nonetheless this Dutchguy was impressed!

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Tokyo is mostly museumtime. We want to do a lot, but energy is scarse, the end is nearing and motivation to explore decreasing. We're in desperate need of some energizer. Some lubricant. So what do we do? Well of course, we go and drink some Toelli.

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Now we have the mental capacity to digest some information again. Today we go the the Mori museum. A museum filled with stuff about the integration of AI and robotics in human society. A remarkable exhibition with a lot of intruiging and disturbing things. We now go to a society where a lot of the living space will be unlivible due to drought and heat, caused by global warming, combined with other catostrophical human activities. Possibly we develop into a society were some people can gene-engineer their kids and also where a diet is developed based on you genes. A world were there is a high risk of having a tremendous gap between rich and poor. What better to celebrate, than by making a city for the rich, above the city of the poor?

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Or by moving to a different planet, because the whole of planet earth went to shit!

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This one was actually pretty cool. They showed a short film of some robots, which would develop a habitat fitted for humans to go there and live on Mars, as well as explaining the necessities for human sustainability on Mars.

Now on Mars, and probably in the near future on earth as well, it can be useful to optimise food, such that it is most efficient, that the most is digested and the least excreted. Here for a machine is developed which produced food cubes. Al the necessities for human food intake are in a cube, or a multitude of cubes.

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And as technology develops, humanities morals and ethics go to shit. We cannot love anymore, show empathy or take care of each other. So love needs to be roboticised as well. Here we see a human creature falling in love with one already. Sorry ladies, this guy is taken.

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From this museum, we had a good view of the city Tokyo. This city is huge. Even more huge than Osaka. Again, buildings as far as one can see.

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As intens as it looks on the big scale, it also can be on the small scale. The busiest pedestrian crossing if located in Shibuya, Tokyo. Also cars and trucks can ride over the intersection. This looks like this.

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But every three minuts or so, the pedestrians can cross the road. This is not in the tens, not in the hundreds, but in the thousands.

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So many people cross the road here, e-ve-ry three minutes. The expectation was, of course, that his place would be extremely hectic. But what is interesting about Japanese people, is they are pretty laid back. You come to the intersection and it is way less noisy than one would think. People just start walking and evade each other. All in all this place is not  to extreme to be honest. *EDIT* So back to the calculation table. This intersection had a peak of around (estimated) 3000 pedestrians for on green light. every three minutes (my estimate) there is a green light. Rotterdam has 624.000 inhabitants. This will be 208 green lights, which will be 624 minutes or 10.4 hour. In less than half a day,  the whole of Rotterdam can have crossed this intersection. And that is without counting the cars. Now it is insane! *EDIT END*

The last, and not in the least unimportant, thing, will ofcourse be a diner. Only gyoza. One of my collegeaus told me about a challange with his friends, to eat as many gyoza as you can. His score? Eightysix. I tried, I really did my best. My score? Nineteen.

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I am going to miss this. But also not so much. It is pretty easy to make. The only thing I need to get right is the miture of spices for the meat. So the next day the gear is packed and I am ready to go back.

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So this is it dear readers. This was my adventure in Japan. Three and a half months of a lot of things. I'm not going to tell how I feel about my experience. If you have read all my blogs, you know. Otherwise? Just read the blogs. I really liked writing the blogs. This helped me a lot to digest, put things in perspective and will help a lot to remember the whole adventure. Thanks for reading and if you commented on my blogs (via this site or by texting me directly), thanks for that as well. Appreciated the positive feedback and hearing you enjoyed reading my stories made me happy.

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1 Reactie

  1. Erik van Gameren:
    19 december 2019
    Dear Loek, after an amazing number of Dutch blogs, in which you described in a funny and personal way your experiences in Japan, this blog does it likewise in English! You are not only a perfect fish imitator, culture absorber and friends maker, but also a polyglot! As a father I am proud that you did this adventure - and finished your Master as well! - but I am happy that you are home again. And today starts a new adventure: you move to Rotterdam to start a working life!
    Love from your father