Japan: Prologue

09:51 Paul Robinson 0 Comments

I began 2013 by hitting the ground running, with a trip to my number one destination, Japan. Admittedly, it isn’t your stereotypical dream destination like the Riviera or the Caribbean but I’ve always been drawn to the Far East.

From an early age I was exposed to Japanese influence, through my Akido instructing Granddad and Karate blackbelt wielding Father, Uncle and Auntie. I tried karate but it wasn’t for me, I was much happier playing Resident Evil and Metal Gear Solid on my Sony Playstation. As I grew up, I became aware of Manga and of J-horror – which was purported to be genuinely scary, unlike the formulaic Hollywood efforts.

My Dad was forever encouraging me to read Shogun, a fictionalisation of a feudal warrior in Japan. Eventually I gave in to his persuasion and read the book. I was hooked. I began to read everything I could about Japan. I read Murakami and Mishima alongside western authors such as David Peace who based their novels in Japan. I found Japan’s history to be compelling, its cuisine delicious and its culture fascinating. All except for J-pop, which does my head in.

All this time, I should have been learning to drive. After my dad had convinced me to read Shogun, his new incessant proposal was for me to pass my driving test. It wasn’t until I was 24 years old that I decided to take lessons and predictably, my first car was Japanese, a geriatric Mitsubishi Colt. When I was studying at University, where did I work? Muji. I love so many aspects of Japnese culture. I love their design, Wabi Sabi is a great philosophy and Bushido is a badass way to live your life.

At the airport before my flight, I was feeling a little sick. What if Japan wasn’t all that? I’d built it up to be so special in my mind. What if it was better than I could have imagined and I’m left forever longing to return? My stomach churned. However, thinking about it for a moment, the sick feeling in my stomach was probably due to my previous sleepless night. Like a little kid on Christmas Eve, I was too excited to sleep.
The Red Peril. My first car.

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