Categories
Japan Travel

FROM THE MOUNTAIN TO THE SEA

My friends live in a small and quiet town, and go to work by bike, the house is surrounded by rice paddies. Odawara is a city in Kanagawa Prefecture with 200,000 people west of Tokyo.

As it was Sunday, he was off duty so we went to Lake Ashi by car. There we took a boat across and headed to a mountainous and touristic region called Hakone, famous for the sulfurous hot springs. Due to the sulfur, the smell of rotten egg dominated the environment, we took a cable car to the top. The only view I had from Mount Fuji was from here, a little far away, but at least I could go back and tell everyone I saw the mountain. One ritual of tourists was buying eggs cooked in the hot springs and eat on the spot, due to the sulfur the shell was black and the egg tasted like even eggier. They were not very cheap – half a dozen eggs cost $5!

The traffic was very bad, single lane and steep, it was a parade of cars. There were many big and beautiful cars for a country so lacking in space.

We had western food on the way to the beach and went to Enoshima, an islet between Odawara and Tokyo, 4 km in circumference. The place is beautiful and pleasant to ride, with some surfers on the beach. We crossed on foot the 600 meters long bridge to the islet full of shops and typical foods and climbed a tower. There was a temple on the islet and a procession with about 50 people, probably Shinto.

That day wasn’t as hot as yesterday. After we dropped another friend off near her house on the way to Odawara, we stopped to eat noodles at a local restaurant. “Ramen-house” is very abundant here and the food here is better than the Japanese food in Brazil.

Categories
Japan

Japan – A Brief Introduction

Capital: TOKYO

Political System: Constitutional Monarchy

Economy: 2nd largest economic power in GDP

Population: 126,5 million, 10th most populous country in the world

Religions: Shinto, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity and others

Facts and curiosities:

Japan (this is the entire name of the country), “Nippon” or “Nihon” in Japanese, means “Land of the Rising Sun”, has more than three thousand islands, is one of the richest and most developed countries on the planet, land of technology and people super educated, but bad in English, was the target of two atomic bombs. The largest islands are Honshu (the largest and main), Hokkaido (to the north), Kyushu (to the south) and Shikoku (also to the south), and is divided into 8 regions and 47 prefectures (also called provinces). Situated east of Russia, Korea and China between the East China Sea and the Okhotsk Sea in the Pacific Ocean. Before developing two other writing systems (Hiragana and Katagana), he adopted Chinese ideograms, and currently merges the three writing systems, when he does not use Latinized writing, the “Romandi”.

The Portuguese arrived here in the 16th century, but did not establish a colony. With the restoration of the Meiji Era in the 19th century, imperial Japan underwent profound changes in politics and launched the country into the industrial era, with the end of the Shogunate of the Tokugawa clan in 1867, becoming a major power in Asia and beginning Japanese expansionism throughout Asia. Japan is what it is today, due to this history, the destruction of Japan in World War II only slowed the modernization process.

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