My odyssey to Japan

Asia | | May 4, 2011 at 12:40 am




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The time was October 2007 and the wind was really chilling in Fukuoka airport, for an Indian like me. It was not hard to distinguish me out of the rest as I was the only mutant with dusky skin color and eyes, a littler bigger than the rest of the passengers. I went to Japan to visit an old friend of mine who lives in Shimonoseki, at the southern part of Honshu Island. As a first trip abroad I was thrilled to the hilt and refused to blink in the fear of losing some of the magnificent scenes of the dreamland. Usually when people go for a trip to a foreign land they prefer staying at a place where foreigners folk, and preferably it is a city. But I went to meet a friend of mine who was staying in the countryside. Hence my temporary adobe was countryside in Japan.

Upon landing at the airport I met my friend, who adhered strictly to the Japanese culture of high sense of punctuality and reached on time. Soon we were on the bullet train terminal to catch our trip to Shimonoseki. The train was furnished with luxurious sofa seats and had ornate compartments for the passengers to look at. The train started at the prescribed time and quickly took a momentous speed that made my ears block. The Shinkansen, moved with a monstrous speed without making any noise. It was not too long when I reached my destination station and came out of the tunnel of Shinkansen to see the daylight again.

The countryside of Japan offered the typical pictures f Japan that we often witness in the laminated pages of costly table calendars. Once I saw I realized that those pictures are not frames and have rather framed the actual scenery. On my way to my friend’s home, green patches of land appeared by the street side occasionally and the houses were traditionally built of paper and wood. The roof of almost every house resembles the typical Pagodas we see in pictures.

My lunch was a hearty fare; however, it was hearty only for Japanese. I was served Sushi, the world famous fish delicacy of Japan. Visually it was stunning but by taste it was abominable for me. Raw pieces of fish, marinated in vinegar, were soft enough, but I required a lot of effort to push them down my esophagus. It was served with a sweetened omelet and raw fish eggs.

Typically a countryside, Shimonoseki harbored many old heritage houses of Japan and plenty of temples. A few kilometers away, from my friend’s place was Akio Shido plateau. The plateau had a long cave within that was a matter of display for both locales and foreigners. The hefty limestone structures within the caves grew in their whim to form mystic natural murals.

After two days I left for Tokyo, a city which is at par with the developed cities in the world like New York. The prices of goods and gifts were higher that Tokyo Tower and getting souvenirs for family and folks needed a lot of scour. Finally, “100 Yen Shop” a store 5 kms away from Tokyo airport helped me grab some of the gifts. I took a trip of the Tokyo tower and look at the ground beneath from atop was a marvelous experience. The snowcapped Mt. Fuji from Tokyo tower looked like an obedient child whose innocent looks cannot dredge up the lurid eruptions it has shown in past. Te land beneath was a mystifying conglomeration of modern and traditional world. While the roads and shopping malls gave the flavor of West, huge pagoda and Buddhist temples nurtured the traditional culture within its boundaries without a hitch.

All the Japanese wonders and the sights of cute little kids were constantly captured within my camera. After finishing 5 reels of films I regretted again on my return flight, for not taking a few more snaps there. I was returning from the land of sun where people are filled brightly with courtesy and hospitality. The language, though unknown to me, never sounded a noise and played a mellifluous tone whenever I heard them.

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