pm215: (dragon)
[personal profile] pm215

I don't go to Japan very often, but when I do I like to make the stay as long as I can get away with -- it's nice to feel able to have few do-nothing days in a holiday without it seeming somehow wasteful that you haven't gone out to Do Something. I just got back from three weeks out there (which burnt almost all my holiday for this year). February isn't the ideal time to visit, as it's still a bit cold and grey, but the timing was fixed because I tacked them onto the end of a work conference that was on that side of the world. As it turned out there were only a few rainy days, and even a fair amount of sun.

Some photos: Gunkanjima, also known as Battleship Island. This desolate lump of rock turned out to have a big seam of coal under it, so it was heavily built up with everything the miners needed to live -- until the mine became uneconomic in the seventies, at which point Mitsubishi shut it down, and everybody left within a couple of months. (Summary of the history for those interested.)

Kitakyuushuu Railway Museum (only a few photos, as it was a small place I stopped off at on my way somewhere else).

Marugame, Matsuyama and Kouchi, a trio of original (ie surviving from the Edo-period) Japanese castles on Shikoku. There are only 12 originals left, so it's easy to get completionist about the remaining ones. Matsuyama in particular is on an impressively huge scale, and I had good weather and the plum blossoms were just coming out...

Konpira-san, a hilltop temple complex which I visited on a day where it was pouring with rain in an atmospheric but not very easily photographed way...

Oigawa Railway, which was probably the best day of the holiday for me -- a scenic steam train ride up into a beautiful steep river valley, and then some light hiking at the top.

Not pictured: Nagasaki (the contrast between the reconstructions of the buildings where the Dutch lived in Dejima in the 18th century and the fine mansions built on the hill by westerners in the second half of the 19th century is a demonstration in architecture of the shift in power in the relationship between Japan and the Western countries who were trading with her). A weekend catching up with a good friend of mine who I hadn't seen for a few years. Yokohama. Akihabara. Large pile of books and manga to add to the to-read pile...

I also impulse-bought a reproduction map, which I'd like to hang up somewhere, but at 175x65cm it's pretty big. Any suggestions for good ways to display it that won't cost vastly more in framing than the 15 quid I paid for the map itself?

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