Back to Japan

After struggling to maintain regular posts, I have decided to return to an earlier idea. In March I’d planned to share my observations and experiences while travelling in Japan. Because of the Great East Japan Earthquake I abandoned the notion; however, now such vignettes no longer seem inappropriate.

Especially after the announcement the Government of Japan could approve a Japan Tourism Agency proposal to offer free airfare to 10,000 people next spring. The idea is that the recipients will travel in Japan, write reports for the world and help re-brand Japan as a desirable travel destination.

Hmmm. That task might be better left to the finest minds of Madison Avenue. At best, the JTA plan could generate 30 to 50 million USD from what such travellers might spend while in Japan. At worst it might elicit a great deal of substandard writing and charges of propaganda. As is regularly the case world-wide, some journalists have already received all-expenses-paid junkets courtesy of the Japanese Government. But I digress.

Any insight (and every cliché) anyone might wish to glean about Japan already exists in numerous sources: literature, film, guidebooks, blogs and apps. At your fingertips are all things Japanese from sublime to ridiculous. What is left for me to say?

My observations cannot be new, only mine. However, as more than one ancient philosopher has pointed out, a flowing river constantly changes. Likewise, each encounter of place is unique. In my case, travelling at my own expense, what I say is free of any taint other than the limits of my perception and my words.

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