JAPAN 2015 – 01 Enoshima
In my parents' library there used to be a small book, format "Library of the Galaxy", with the curious title "The Fifteenth Stone from Ryoanji Garden"; I have read it when as so little I remember almost nothing of the facts except for a strange feeling of… unreachability, of alienation, of incomprehensibility.
For the past two weeks, as we roamed the lands of the rising sun, I constantly found myself looking at the people around me with the question "are you really that different inside you, incomprehensibly different ?!"
I recently read somewhere that unlike Western society, which is based on guilt, Japanese society is based on shame.
The road to Japan is long.
Ours passes through Doha and over the boundless Himalayas.
And all the way to our temporary base in the small town of Fujisawa, located 80 km south of Tokyo, almost on the ocean, where we end our long day at the table.
Modern Japan is largely a food wonder.
The central parts of the settlements are dotted with small pubs called izakaya, restaurants, open take-away booths and all sorts of forms of eateries, which spread a special, specific aroma of Japanese cuisine. And no, it's not sushi if you expect it, not that there is no sushi and not that the Japanese do not consume this form of bites of rice, raw fish and seaweed, which are known around the world, but it's like expecting in Bulgaria to serve you a pie at every meal, because we are famous for it.
Japan is the country with the most restaurants per capita, the most watched TV shows, culinary programs, the most discussed topic among the Japanese themselves is eating.
In the morning we head to the nearby coastal town and immediately encounter the transport system of Japan - the trains:
I don't think it's easy to imagine how overcrowded Japan is, even after being there. Roughly speaking, where there is no mountain, there is a city - everything, an endless city. Try to imagine Bulgaria, inhabited by 45 million people. Now provide a small two-storey house for each family. Imagine the Thracian lowlands from Sofia to Burgas, with the whole endless line of houses, spread close to each other from the approaches of the Rhodopes, all the way to the tops of the Balkan Mountains, and there is a chance to visualize the Tokyo-Osaka region.
Even with the most perfect road system, if the Japanese got in a car, the whole country would be block instantly. Therefore, the system does not allow them to own a car. Apart from the fact that the prices of four-wheelers are mind-boggling (150,000 euros!), in order to own a car, you must first prove that you have a parking space for it! and the Japanese do not own, they move on foot, by train and bicycle, if they need a car so much, the towns are dotted with small car rental centers.
And no one can complain about the trains of Japan. Besides being extremely accurate and passing in 5 minutes, their system is so automated that we navigated through their endless tangle, only thanks to Google maps, which not only showed the necessary transfers, the exact time of the train and the platform to which you need to take it, but it also took out the value of the ticket.
And so, here we are
on the Pacific coast.
headed to a small island dotted with temples and other local landmarks.
The place is quite away from the main tourist flow and this line on the bridge are rather Japanese for a walk. Its Saturday.
The islet is home to such birds, not one or two. Apart from humans, Japan is undisturbedly inhabited by many wild animals and birds that somehow manage to coexist successfully with human crowds.
At the end of the bridge, another delicious foods await us, followed by an extremely narrow street leading up to the temples perched on the upper part of the island.
Here and there along the alley there are gates through which paths and alleys can be seen, leading to houses located on the second line.
The place is a series of temples and temples along a winding up and down alley.
At the top of the hill, in a slightly wider area, more children sat on the ground watching a street acrobat.
Walk was followed by a meal (inevitable), which ended with a very curious dessert:
The white thing is ice with a very special consistency in combination with red beans, and it will soon be possible to try it in Sofia, Miyabi restaurant; I personally can't wait.
The alley takes us to the other side of the island, to the shore.
As the group enters a cave inhabited by a dragon, I wander along the shore in the setting sun; most Japanese do the same. The view is magnificent.
Those who came out of the cave posed in front of the sunset, not knowing what awaited them.
(well, I didn't put them in front of the biggest surf though)
I may have gone a little too far with the photos of the sunset behind Fuji, but I have to admit that contemplating it was the first time we had the feeling that we were "in Japan" in that other sense.