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Category: SJ2017

  • Out of the fridge and into the frying pan

    We’ve arrived home and it’s hotter than a Japanese hotel room. The scary thing is that it’s not even that hot for Sydney this summer and is forecast to be 38 degrees Celsius in a couple of days. It was a typical final day in Japan, which is to say a bit miserable and a… Read more

  • Driving cars and the Miraikan

    Our last morning in Japan for this trip and I’m feeling anxious about the flight back. I hate these final days, again wishing that yesterday’s Tokyo Teleport station was true to its name. If the flight home is less bumpy than yesterday’s visit to Odaiba then I will be happy indeed. We were early to… Read more

  • Rotten eggs and ropeways

    Ah, the fresh mountain air! It smells so, well, smelly. Alright, who farted? Even in the little mountain train ride up we could smell the scent of hydrogen sulphide, aka rotten egg gas. But here we were on the high slopes of Mount Iwakudani where great clouds of steam and gas rose out of the… Read more

  • Seafood, Shinkansens and Shinjuku

    One of the nicest things about being back in Tokyo is not needing to tread carefully to avoid slipping on ice. It’s more about treading carefully to avoid stepping on other people, but here in Shinjuku the legs are on automatic, so familiar is it to them. With the arrival of a sunny day and… Read more

  • Slipping round the back to Hakodate

    JR Hakodate says it can’t afford to maintain much of its rail system anymore and that many sections will close. They include the most northerly and easterly of stations in Japan. Naturally I want to ride on all of these lines before they close, but that will have to be a trip for another day… Read more

  • Asahiyama Zoo

    The cold record has been broken. Today the thermometer read -11.5 degrees centigrade at the zoo. In fact I saw it read -12.9 in central Asahigawa as we rode past in the bus. Look, I know Russians, Canadians and Antarcticans will laugh at such puny numbers, but you have to remember that we aren’t prepared… Read more

  • Takino Snow World

    It once got down to minus 5.4 degrees in Canberra. I ran up the nearest hill dressed only in shorts and t-shirt as tiny flecks of snow fell around me. By the time I returned to the house my hands were almost too numb to open the door. On another day in Canberra it got… Read more

  • Streetcars, Shinkansens and Sapporo

    Up until late last year the Seikan tunnel and 23.3 kilometres long and about 100 metres below the sea between Honshu and Hokkaido was the world’s longest and deepest mainline railway tunnel. Then the Swiss beat it with the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Also last year marked the first time that Shinkansens began using the tunnel.… Read more

  • Riding the Akita Nairiku line

    Such is the web of Japanese Railways that there are many ways to travel between Kakunodate and Hirosaki by train. The fastest is to use Shinkansens. But I am a fan of the slow route, the unpopular line at risk of closure, the local train for a declining number of locals. The Akita Nairiku line.… Read more

  • Samurai streets in the snow

    It stands alone at the edge of the street, snow piled high against the sidewalk in front, concrete walls a spider’s web of cracks. The sign atop reads Sharp, as in the ever troubled Japanese electronics manufacturer. At the window stands an ancient cathode ray television, petrol scooters and miscellaneous other items. It could be… Read more