• 28 . 12 . 04
  • Getting ready to travel down south, while Asia is rocked by yet more natural disasters.

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Best Laid Plans…

Work has finally finished for the year, which means that tomorrow is the start of my holiday and the chance to do a bit of travelling. Having purchased a discount rail ticket, I should now be able to take the majority of trains to any destination in Japan on five different days in January. Starting early tomorrow, me and a couple of teachers are hoping to visit Himeji, the site of the famous castle used inThe Last Samurai and then arrive in Hiroshima by evening. After spending the next day there, we’re going to come back by train again, stopping off in a different town for the afternoon, before celebrating New Year somewhere around here.

On January 2nd, four of us are going up to Hakuba, a mountain town in Nagano prefecture, for a couple of days of snowboarding, skiing and, probably, bruises. It seems like snow has finally started to fall there, so I should be able to get in at least one day. I’m not sure why I’m quite so keen to ski again after seriously injuring my knee the last time I tried… But anyway, there are always the onsen to relax in and mountains to look at, instead of being stuck inside all day.

Tragically, Asia has been hit by another huge earthquake, with 23,000 deaths in various countries in the area. Some friends of mine are in Thailand at the moment, and I haven’t heard from them but hopefully they were still in the north of the country as they planned when the tsunami struck. I had been trying to take a holiday to the Thai southern islands this holiday and count myself lucky that the costs were too high for me to manage it. Apparently Niigata in the north of Japan has also been hit by another earthquake, just 1 month after the last one in the same place. It’s a strange position to find myself in that, while I feel totally safe from theft and violence, I’m now beginning to question my safety from the land itself. At least with crime you can attempt to diminish the possibility or mitigate the effects, but with nature you don’t really have much say.

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