Sunday, August 31, 2014

I'm looking forward to leaving Sydney's wet weather behind!

Sakura tours filling fast

Fortunately for me, my cherry blossom tours have been filling fast. The Classic Sakura tour has just one spot remaining for a lucky single joiner, while Sakura Highland, which takes in beautiful mountainous areas such as Matsumoto Castle, has space for six. So if you want to visit Japan for the cherry blossoms, please get in touch.

Places to see: Kurama

Kurama is a temple complex in the mountains north of Kyoto that is special to me. According to Japanese legend, it is the place where Ushiwakamaru was taught how to become a sword master from Sojobo, King of the Tengu, which is a scary red-faced big-nosed mountain god. Kurama is special for me because it’s close to where I grew up, so my family would often visit there together. We could feel like we were away from ordinary life. I will take my fellow travellers there on a day-walk through the forests of Kurama on my Autumn Colours tour in November. Should be wonderful!

Movies to see: Departures

While thinking about my past in Kyoto... When I was a junior high school student,  my mother’s friend used to work at a local eigakan (cinema), and she would let me in for free. I liked going there to see the world outside Japan. One of my favourites was the 1985 film, My life as a Dog, which is a Swedish film about a boy growing up in the countryside. Have you seen it? It taught me that on the other side of the world, people feel the same things… Anyway, if you are interested in Japanese films, I suggest you watch Departures (Okuribito), which is a nice Japanese film about a family with a funeral business. It's a bit like Six Feet Under - one of my favourite box sets.

Late Summer tours ahead

The rest of my 2014 tours have all filled up! In mid-September, I will be meeting up with fellow travellers in Kyoto to start my City Lights & Alpine Trails tour. I’m looking forward to watching the grand finale of the Sumo together, and also visiting Kamikochi in the Japan Alps. And also eating the food! I'll be running this tour twice next year, so why don't you join me?