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Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Greetings! This is the first blog reloaded! Scribed back in October 2010 below is my first blog entry.  Even though i wrote it, reading back now is still enjoyable and gives a snapshot into how things were and what i was thinking way back then! Before reading on, my girlfriend and her workmates are running the British 10K for the small steps school for Parents Charidee. Small Steps, provides vital assistance for children with special needs aged 0-5 years. It teaches parents of children with cerebral palsy, and other forms of motor and sensory impairment, how to help their child develop basic skills - looking, listening, sitting and walking. If you feel like donating a few spare pennies and pounds click this link here

First post Reloaded!
First of all, welcome, Akwaaba, Irasshaimase, Bienvenue to Only D Brave dot JP!  On here you will gain access into the mind, feelings, viewpoints and see what I see as I encounter a year in and about Japan!

The Journey
If there was ever a sign that this Japan adventure needed to be done, it was found at the airport departure gate.  Only my Lancaster Uni crew will appreciate the significance of this departure board pic, 1425 Dubai flight.

First journey was from London to Dubai on Emirates.Flown with emirates before so i knew what to expect. Nice service, decent food, very comfy seats and big entertainment selection.  My only issue was the guy sitting next to me and his lack of understanding of the concept "personal space."  Normal airplane etiquette dictates that when you and a stranger arms touch but you have enough space for this not to happen, that one or both retreat to their own zone.  This oaf was going past the neutral armrest zone and encroaching into my area, not once but on many occasions.  This lead to a lot of armrest shoulder barging.
After a 3hr stopover in Dubai where i encountered McTasty McDonald burger(mmh tasty) and some free wifi for fb update and words with friends playing it was time for an 8 hr flight to Osaka!  This was a more pleasurable experience.  Had a three-seater to myself and made the most this excess space and lack of territorial barging dispute.

Enter the Osaka!
Arrived in Osaka 5.30pm local time! Took a shuttle to the main part of the airport and made my way through immigration.  Pretty straight forward, asked a couple of questions, they took my photo and  index fingerprints (standard procedure at Osaka airport) and stamped my 1 year Visa and I'm good to go!  Got out the airport about 615pm and got the train to Osaka Namba.  There was an option of the express train or normal train -I chose the normal and 1 Hr 30mins later i arrived at my destination.  Next time when carrying 42 Kilos of luggage im going for the express option!!
Had to get the subway when i got to Namba and met my first good Samaritan.  I was there looking lost and confused and this guy called Mine or Mene directed me to the subway and even helped carry my 29 kilo suitcase down the steps (which he regretted when he realised how heavy it was)  One stop on the metro and 5 minutes walk from the station was my accommodation the Hearton Hotel! Hotel room was nice clean and compact. No wifi but free internet with network cable. Toilet has a bidet button and clean your bottom button!!

A quick shower and I went out to explore the nightlife of Osaka. It was a nice 20 degrees so i was fine walking about in just a hoodie no coat!  One glaring difference between Osaka and London is the size of roads and buildings. Osaka main roads and buildings are huge compared to London.  It is very akin to roads in the states and you get a kinda spacious feeling when walking along the main street.  However when going down side roads or entering buildings you get the opposite feeling since space is at a premium. One building i went into had 4 different businesses in it whereas if the same building was in the UK it would only house the 1.

First night in Japan, had to eat a Japanese meal.  Found a lil place not far from the hotel and ordered the meal at the bottom left corner of the menu.  They didnt have a English menu so i had to resort to pointing.  I guess that is going to be a popular method for me in the short term.   Food was fast, well cooked and extremely tasty.  Service was efficient and very polite, from their welcoming greeting at the beginning to there thank you for coming when you leave. Its gonna take me a while to get used to all this good customer service!!

After the meal I just walked about Namba just taking random pictures of the city. Im trying to work on my night time photography(needs a lot more practice) and this year will give me the perfect opportunity to do so!  Took pictures for about 20 mins and then I went back to the Hotel for a good sleep!

Well there you have it my first blog entry!  Apologies if it seems long or random, im still working on the format layout and all that!  Thank you for taking time out to read, take care and till the next update!
P.S.  I'm having problems uploading hence only one pic at the moment, this will be corrected as soon as possible.
P.P.S.  I gonna add to each blog ending a Japanese word of the day, a new one which will aid me and maybe help you learn a couple of Japanese words!  Word of the day today is Toriniku= Chicken!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Okayama prefecture Part deux!

The month is May, the year is 2012 and this is another entry from from Only D Brave. Yes I know another long gap since the last entry- procrastination is not a good thing!  I know I've said this before but i am going to try and make a concerted effort to update this blog more regularly.  I have sooo much of my tales of adventures to share and i realise the longer I take to the share, the more new stuff happens in my life that I want to disclose and so continues the vicious circle!

Current situation 

Getting set for summer in the UK.  Its going to be a a feast of sport and celebrations including the Queens Jubilee, Euro 2012, Wimbledon and the Olympics and Paralympics.  After the adventures of last year, I'm  looking forward to a summer in the British isles!  Accompanying this new blog update is the new look below - lets see how this last for

Bound for the bound bound for da reload

I realise that my blogs are a bit haphazard in continuity and conformity and so from next week I'm doing a Only D Brave reboot!  This means that I will start posting my adventures which took place in October 2010 again - adding extra bits of info and pictures.  For existing subscribers its going to be a revision of what you read before with a little bit information.  For newbies you will get the to read the tales of my adventures from the start.  For everybody events will be now in a linear time order! But before that happens let me finish the final instalment of Okayama  ( which will be reloaded further down the line)

Okayama part 2

As mentioned earlier I was stating in Kurashiki, a city in the Okayama prefecture.  Kurashiki was a 15 min train journey from the centre of Okayama so I decided to take a day trip to see the highly recommended castle and Gardens,   I wasn't disappointed

When I arrived at Okayama station I instantly was reminded of the big cities of Japan that I was used to.Massive new looking station containing lots of shops, the hustle and bustle of big city life, very different to what I had been accustomed to in Kurashiki!  Outside the station was a map which showed the spots i wanted to visit.  Directions were straight forward enough, with a tally ho away i went!

While enroute to the my first destination, Okayama castle, I marvelled at the design of the city.  Statues, flowers, water features decorated my path and adding  to the fact it was Sakura season, it defintiely was pleasing to the eye!  Then I hit Ujo-Michi walk and for the first time (but not the last time that day)  I was blown away by the natural beauty of the landscape. For me it was the kind of beauty that for a small fraction of time makes you forget the toil and burdens that you can encounter in everyday life and you become lost in the magical moment.  I took 10 minutes just to take it all in and then continued tomake my way to Okayama castle!

 Okayama castle

As I got to the entrance, a Japanese guide came up to me and started telling me a brief history of the castle as well as asking questions about where i was from  and my reasons for visiting Japan.  To the questions I tried to give all my answers in Japanese to which I got "your Japanese is really good!"  The fact is my Japanese is not good at all but as long as you can give a couple of responses back in Japanese the locals are very impressed!

Okayama castle is one of the top recommended castles to see in Japan and I could see the reason why.  The castle is predominatly black, which makes it unusal to the majority of castles found in Japan.   It was originally built in 1597 but was destroyed in the 2nd World War.

 Like the majority of castles in Japan, it has been reconstructed. I made my way to the top of the castle and then worked my way down.  Right at the top you have an excellent view of the city.  The next floor down you are given a brief history of the castle and shown orignal artifacts. The floor below you are given a brief history of the top recommended castles in Japan as well as seals and crests of Okayama castle.  The floor after were the swords!  I happily snapped away before i saw the sign no photography allowed.  I sheepishly put my lens cover back on and .

The second floor had a part where you could dress up free of charge.  Recalling the fun I had when I did this in Hiroshima, I jumped at the chance to do it again and I was not disappointed!

Japanese word of the day - Zaseki - seat