Japan Pictures

Well, Im in Japan now, its absolutely fantastic and I'm uploading pics as fast as I can to the blog. Some of the scenery and places are like nothing I've seen before, quickly changing from high-tech urban sprawl to coastal views to snowy mountains within a few hundred miles.

As said before, its less expensive than it seems, I am getting in-town accommodation near the stations for about 20-40 quid a night, and there is plenty of different foodstuffs for different pallettes so the squeamish dont need to worry about starving to death. And dont worry about getting accommodation either - JTB and JNTO offices are sprinkled liberally about Japan in most if not all cities so its easy to call into one and arrange something (of course, availability is down to the seasons, so the popular months of May/June may require more pre-booking but there are very useful sites out there to help with that as well).

Anyway, can't stop. Niigata and the northern coast of Honshu beckons.

Ja ne,

Flying Free

If you like parrots as I do then you'll like this a lot. Youtube has all sorts of crap for all tastes, but this guy is one of my favourite visits at the moment. He breeds Parrots and Parakeets of all shapes and sizes, and rather than clip their wings, brings them up in a loving, trusting environment where they want to return whenever they fly. Some great shots of them in the American outback squawking their heads off and flying at the camera, plus the 'dollar bill trick' which I'm guessing pays for the feed ;)


Some Grand Canyon Pics

Just to get the hang of this image hosting/blog thingy I've posted up pictures of my time at the Grand Canyon from 2005. Credit going to a guy called Nick as he took most of the pictures.

They can be seen here.

My Japan Holiday

Something that I'll be doing soon is jetting off to Japan for 3 weeks. Its what I've always wanted to do and finally its time to do it. It's the reason I signed up for the blog so I got some nice image hosting space.

Rather than a simple package deal, I decided to take a risk and choose my own way around the country. Me, a backpack and a train ticket, and little else. I will be starting off in Tokyo, then doing a circuit of Hokkaido based in Sapporo, then down to Nagano in the mountains, through Nagoya to Kyoto, Hiroshima to Matsuyama, Tokushima to Osaka, then finally back to Tokyo via Mt Fuji and the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka.

It might sound pricy, but I should be able to get all that done for about £1500, including flights, travel, accommodation, food and souvineers.

Japan has a bad reputation for high prices but it's not completely deserved. One way for visitors to get around on a very low budget is the Japan Rail Pass, a basic one for 3 weeks costs about £280, which is about the price of 2 return trips from Leeds to London in cattle class. In Japan however, that gets you aboard most of the super-efficient train services, including the Shinkansen (bullet train), and their idea of standard class over there differs wildly from the stained, graffiti'd social dumping ground we call trains over here.

Flights too are pretty good. I started off expecting something along the £800 mark, but managed to get one using KLM/Air France from Manchester to Tokyo Narita for a shade under £500. Accomodation in flash places obviously costs a bomb, but stick to the local hotels, youth hostels and rakuen (posh b+b's) and you can easily get away with £20 or less per night.

Those worrying about the language barrier will be relieved to hear that a lot of english is understood (at least if not spoken fluently) in Japan, and train and road signs have English translations as well. Even if you do get lost, the culture of the people there is said to be such that they will bend over backwards to help someone in need.

I've had a lot of fun planning and learning about the details of my upcoming trip, and already know lots more than I did about this wonderful place before I even get there, because instead of getting a pricy package deal (don't expect change out of £3000 for a 3 week trip) I opted to plan manually. It's cheaper, more enjoyable, and I get to choose what I do.

I will be posting up details on this blog and my picasa site as I go (most hotels seem to have high speed internet as standard) so keep coming for updates!


First Post!!!!111111!!

And all that internetty nonsense.

If anyone can see this, you're looking at my blog, so welcome.

I live in Yorkshire, Englandland. For any Americans out there: no, I do not know Gordon Brown personally, so don't ask. I work a decaying job in IT, and in my free time I go cycling, jogging, walks and trekking, play a bit of snooker, do whatever DIY my house requires at the time, plus I watch various movies, particularly at film festivals and am moving ever further into the world cinema/anime sector due to the increasingly brainless durge that we get released in the cinema and the telly these days. Perhaps I'll rant about that sometime as it sounds therapeutic.

I'll try to think on and post the odd thing here now and then. Until then, feel free to look at the sparse minimalist decor around this page.