Monday, 27 August 2007

Of Large wooden nostrils and love hotels...

Been researching like crazy about our Japan trip.

Tried for FIVE hours to book cheap flights with ANA. Manage to book 2 out of the 3 flights we wanted. So the third I guess we'll have to buy at the regular (higher) price or use Mike's frequent flyer points (hopefully the latter).

I loved everything Japanese when I was a kid. I had a friend who was Japanese and I was so jealous of her cute little Polly pocket style toys, little figurines in little miniature doll houses that folded away and packed flat. I love all that pink and red plastic.

Then, about ten years later when I was studying Japanese for my final high school exams I became fascinated with the 'coolness' all over again. I distinctly remember reading about a device like a pen which, when you waved it over some text in a book stores the information inside. It was so ridiculously hi-tech for the early-mid 1990s!!

After a while I started to not like Japanese and Japanese culture. First of all I thought it was 'weird' that they 'borrowed' the kanji characters writing system from the Chinese. But not only that, the annoying thing is that kanji can be read differently depending on what other words it is teamed with. Eg the character for island 島 can be read 'shima' or 'jima.' I had heard so many stories that it really put me off Japan for a few years. The pervertedness (the - ahem - vending machines selling certain objects??), the sexist society, the workaholic-ness, the racism, the thing about not telling the truth about WWII in history text books, etc, etc...

Anyway, since planning this trip I have started to fall in love all over again. The weird and wacky things that come out of this country have made me (almost) forget about all the negative stuff. Not to mention the sheer beauty of the country.

For example, in Nara there is a temple called Todaiji which has a wooden pillar and a hole cut through it. It is said if you can climb through this hole you will reach enlightenment, have good health and all this kind of stuff. The width of the hole is the same of the giant Buddha statue's nostril. I fully intend to have a crack at this if we go to Nara!

You can read more about it here and even see a Youtube video on it.

The second weird and wacky thing I have discovered is 'love hotels'. At first I thought they sounded dirty and seedy but upon close inspection (reading, rather) I discovered that they were kinda fun and cool. The rooms have all different themes and some even have jacuzzis inside the room and even more wacky stuff like carousel horses, pianos and dodgem cars?!

You can read all about it here.

I am hoping to find one that is camel/desert themed since I really like camels. I have already found an S&M Hello Kitty one! haha. :D ;)

Well I could write more about the weird stuff I have discovered but I think I'll leave it at that!

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