Nicholas Quirke was returning to Kyoto on 27 February 2020, not just because he had not completed his itinerary on his previous visit but because his friend Lyusaku, one of his fellow travellers on his Trans Siberian journey, had returned to his home in Nagoya, after spending a few weeks in Florence at a art studio studying with master sculptors, and they were going to meet somewhere in between both cities and Kyoto seemed the best option. He was really looking forward to the reunion particularly as he had left the train at Ulan-Bator and didn’t to get to the end of their journey with them. He knew there were some stories about their trip into China and he wanted to hear it all. The journey was very easy and once again he felt remarkably comfortable with the rush hour crowds particularly now he was so familiar with the station and local streets. It was wonderful tho see his friend, who compared to the style of the traveller on the train, looked very dapper, and one of the bonuses was that he knew exactly what Nicholas could eat In a normal restaurant Though they did find a Vegan restaurant in the Mall they met in and had a bowl of Raman before setting off on a sightseeing expedition, It was a beautiful summer day and they checked out the nearest and most colourful. It made a difference having someone with him who could explain what each of the separate temples and shrines were. He discovered that there were shrines dedicated to people in love , or finding love, for people who wanted good health and there was even one for bad backs and legs, which was actually shut but Nicholas sneaked in and had his own little ritual. The First temple they went to, Kiyomizu Temple was an astonishing construction and spread Across the mountain side and they followed a path which took them to a very secluded series of shrines which they climbed the steep streps to a nod discovered a space which clearly hadn’t been trod for a long time. It was very magical and all the while they covered many topics. Nicholas was treated to some Udon Noodles with Fried Tofu at a traditional bar which was delicious and made him feel like he was getting the full Japanese experience. They walked to a couple more temples which were closed but finished the day at a temple which snaked up through the mountain side in a series of orange wooden arches which had been donated by individuals and business throughout the temples long history. It was an exhausting climb and they managed to almost reach the summit but by the penultimate station they view of the city was spectacular and the murmuration of crows at dusk was noisy, and amazing and reminded him of the swallows in Brighton. It had been quite a cardio vascular workout for both of them and as night fell it was time to return to their cities. With talks of a Trans Siberian reunion, Manchuria to Moscow, it the last time they saw each other or their fellow travellers. Nicholas needed to get back as he was going to check into his new hotel, Oyado Haru’s capsule hotel. Ever since he had seen a documentary about Japan and some of its whackier ideas he had been fascinated by the capsule hotels. Here was his opportunity to try one, it was close to the station which Was convenient for the morning to as he needed to get to the station. The Capsule hotel was excellent. In reality it was a glorified bunk bed which was really cosy. The pace was larger than he expected and it had a television and power points. The hotel also boasted a sauna which he enjoyed, showers, washroom, and a lounge where he could eat or work in. when it came to sleep, there was a blind to pull down to shut out the other residents. He was excited by the stay and it was a wonderful way for him to close the Japan chapter of his tour. Beijing bound with a stopover in Seoul he was saying goodbye but this would not be the end of his connection with Japan, the visit had given him a taste for the Far East and he Would now make sure he took advantage of his proximity to this intriguing, fascinating and beautiful country. He was spending the next 2 days travelling to and from airports and after over 50 consecutive days of writing, photographs and short filmmaking he was going to take a 2 day rest, to revive once he had arrived back in China.
Japan has been my favourite so far. Glad to see you had some company and I absolutely loved the ‘David Attenborough’ talk at the end of the video! You really do look so well, you were obviously destined to travel xxx
I actually feel at my happiest when. Travelling and seeing things. Even a road trip in Uk made me happy.
Pleased to see you looking so well! All the best for the next leg..