Japan – Prelude

I long harboured the desire to travel to Japan since  the day I was introduced to Japanese Anime by my good friends in college. Good friends indeed, still the same – yet changed in many ways.

Rurouni Kenshin was probably one anime which aroused a lot of interest in me. Set in the time of the Meiji Restoration, it was quite a thought provoking series. I was quite fascinated with the Japan of that era – culture, people, architecture, moral codes, nature and so on.

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Alleyway at the Todaiji Temple complex in Nara

It is strange how things and events of a bygone era in a distant land induce a certain longing in a person – as though one has already been and lived in it. I do not look at it through the eyes of fantasy though, they were times when oppression, violence and killing were commonplace. It calls to me nonetheless.

But I’m sure even then there were people who lived happy lives – simple lives amidst nature- enjoying a meal after a day’s hard labour. Unlike a day spent resting one’s hindside in an uncomfortable overpriced chair staring at multiple panels projecting meaningless pixels on your face.

The Japan I wanted to see no longer exists. It is very different now with bustling hi-tech cities, quite westernised – yet retaining its traditional culture underneath. When I booked my tickets on a whim, when AirAsia newly entered the Indian market, my intention was to experience as much as possible what remains of its past and also nature, the woods and the like.

But why did I go solo? That wasn’t the original plan.

“What were all those dreams we shared
those many years ago?
What were all those plans we made now
left beside the road?
Behind us in the road” – The End, Pearl Jam

Too many times good friends make plans, talk about it for years, but when the time comes to grab a dream that is finally within reach – for many reasons, valid or otherwise, the people you dreamt your dream with back out. What do you do in such a situation? You can either give in and postpone it indefinitely, or take a leap of faith and live the dream yourself.

I chose the latter.

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