Friday, 11 January 2013

Day 22: On to Kyoto, via Okayama.

Day 22 (27 Dec) Preparing to set out in the next stage of this grand adventure. When I've lived in Japan in the past, I've generally taken the opportunity to travel around quite a bit. I've been quite fortunate in that respect. Despite Japan's reputation as a homogenous nation in culture and language that's never been my experience on the ground. You can travel around the different regions and try and come to grips with the different dialects for example. The way people in different regions prepare and eat foods differently is interesting. Even during the Matsuyama stay, it was interesting to see the differences in public bath house rituals compared with my experiences in Tokyo, for example. 

6.12am Readying for the next part of the trip.
Ehime-san's artwork takes the traditional
animal horoscope theme,
and 2013 is the year of the snake. 
In more recent years, my stays have been somewhat shorter and with specific research purposes in mind. My trek to the library and back has becomes my familiar. So it was a bit of a luxury to be setting off on part two of a journey...though my primary aim this morning was to get a hold of the newspaper at the train station to get the details on the new cabinet.  My experience thusfar has been that few people have much faith in the new Abe government and they are fascinated by my interest in it all. Anyway...that's for the other blog. 

At 6.12am (7.12) this morning I'd managed to get up and about with the excuse I hadn't packed yet. So, I was downstairs trying to fit all those trinkets and mementoes into my small carry-on bag. It's quite amazing to think I've been staying on the mezzanine floor of an artist's gallery. It has even inspired me to take up the brush and start calligraphy again (as much as a left-hander can do so anyway). 

Yep, citrus. 
If Shikoku has any fame at all, besides its wonderful history, it is also the place of citrus growing and KitKat Japan has captured this in one of the variations on their theme...citrus-flavoured's a bit of a hobby for some. 

Okayama Castle, with drama unfolding in its shadows
Well, I got my paper finally and hopped on the train. A drop in the number of women in Cabinet, but I guess that was never a strength of the Liberal Democratic Party. A short stopover in Okayama meant we were able to check out Okayama Castle, quite a majestic castle with quite spectacular gardens, even in winter. On the day, police were searching the river for something...ooh, the stuff of detective novels... 

6.12pm, and dinner is on the way.
On to the shinkansen (bullet train) for a quick trip 'up the road' to Kyoto where, at 6.12pm, we'd landed just in time for dinner and we were just awaiting the order of soba noodles, and debating whether or not to leave room for the green tea parfait (we didn't). 

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