3 Weeks Japan – Prologue

May 11, 2010

For this new big project I started translating the travel notes I gathered while traveling Japan last month. It’s my way to reflect and reminisce on my adventures in het land of the rising sun. A bunch of stories and pictures about a land full of opposites and contrasts. Views on history and technology, strange habits and uniformity, fashion and temples, gyaru and otaku. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Arrival 21/03

10 pm, I lay down on my futon and start realising I’m in Japan. I look around in the large 3-person-room that will be our oasis while exploring Tokyo. Our empty cups of the welcoming green tea are standing on the low table in the sitting area, our shoes are properly left behind at the step by the front door and the television is on: the first of many strange japanese entertainment shows. My biological clock is still set at 2 pm after a night flying from Belgium. Bart is showcasing a medical miracle by falling asleep on arrival, maybe he doesn’t have a bio clock. His feet are still on the sitting pillow next to the table, his head made it to the bed. Not so impressive in japan where you live, eat and sleep on the same floor. The length of the floor mattresses is just right for me, the bathroom door isn’t. It’s about 1m80, I better watch my head this vacation.

I have lousy taste in socks.

Our ryokan is situated in Asakusa, a district in the north-east of Tokyo, more traditional then most of the city, with a busy yet cosy ambiance. Finding food won’t be a problem; on our way here we passed a multitude of small restaurants and drink vending machines are everywhere. Earlier we chose one of those restaurants for dinner, a friendly familiar place run by husband and wife. I ended up with a beef & vegetable dish, which looked exactly like the picture I pointed to on the menu. There was only room for about 8 customers side by side eating at the bar while watching the chef at work. But it was definitely a great place, and the food was cheap and delicious.

Eating at the bar and the personal sake bottles of the regulars.

I’m excited and can’t wait to explore some more of the neighbourhood. My internal clock is however not so reliable either and tiredness starts kicking in. Time to take off my yukata and start a detailed examination of the comfort level of japanese futons. Oyasumi Nasai!



  1. And don’t forget to mention that impressive little ‘wall’ of bottles all lining up in the restaurant Pieter! Regular clients save their bottles of alcohol for later on. Some with charming looking messages. Too bad they were written in japanese!

    • Yes, it’s an interesting habit. It keeps the customers coming back for their bottles and it adds an extra familiar touch. I did mention it tho 😉

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