Friday, 13 March 2015

Japan: 2014 and 2016

Last Sunday, I finished laying out the final pages of my ‘Five Thousand Miles’ Japan 2014 travel journal – the book version (of this). I am now in the process of checking over a full PDF and marking up any amends/additions to the text, plus any photos that require a little tweaking in Photoshop – mostly making images lighter.

This process looks a little like this…

Please note: I’m not doing a proper job of the mark-up (like we do at work!), just doing what is quick for me.

I started work on the book version of Five Thousand Miles just after Christmas and have spent many Sunday afternoons on it since then. It hasn’t been a quick process – there are more than 1000 photos in the book and it spans 196 pages – but I’m pleased that I will soon have a printed copy in my mits. I intend to get these text and image tweaks done in the next week or so. Then hand a new PDF over to my wonderful friend and colleague Kat (editorial and production pro) to have a look over it, as well. I wouldn’t want anything to slip past me – because I’ve looked at it so much and may be blind to the obvious!

When I’m content that the book is finished, I will be sending it off to Blurb to be printed. All hopefully before the 11th April – a year on from when I set off on my trip to Japan. Although, if it ends up being any date after that but before the 27th (when I finished my trip last year) that’ll be okay too. I also intend to eat my remaining green tea kit kat that I’ve been reserving for the anniversary, as I look through the book!

As well as my original travel journal, featured on the website version, I have written a little something extra for the past few pages of the book. I figured I may as well share it here, ahead of finishing the book.

What next?

In the process of designing and laying out the pages of this book I have, unsurprisingly, begun to think about my next trip to Japan. Although, as you’ve seen in the pages of this book, I did pack a lot into my April 2014 first-time trip to Japan, there is so much more that I want to see and do in Japan!

I would really like to visit Hiroshima next time around, including the Miyajima shrine – as recommended by the member of staff at my ryokan in Hakone – and the peace park. Plus, the peace pagoda at Mt Futaba-yama, commemorating peace since the atomic bombs of World War II. Peace pagodas, in particular, interest me as my hometown of Milton Keynes is home to the first peace pagoda in the Western world. I have yet to see my first peace pagoda in the East, but hopefully it will be in Hiroshima.

I’d also like to visit Nagasaki, for similar reasons. But also because many of the books I have read (historical fiction) feature Nagasaki – as it is the port that many Dutch, Portuguese and English trading ships first docked at upon ‘discovering’ Japan. However, I realise that Nagasaki is quite a bit further west than some of the other place in Japan that I would be likely to visit – it’s actually on another island (Kyushu, rather than Honshu). This means that it may prove a bit more difficult, and certainly take a bit longer, to get to.

As I discovered on my first trip to Japan, I have a huge love for Japanese castles. I was lucky to be able to visit five in a single trip – well, three actual castles (Matsumoto, Osaka and Odawara), one set of castle remains (Kanazawa) and one castle that wasn’t really much of a castle (Nijo in Kyoto). Himeji castle is reputedly the most magnificent of all of Japan’s castles. Conveniently, it has been undergoing a lot of renovation work over the past few years, with the work coming to an end in March 2015. So, although it wouldn’t have been viewable in it’s full glory for my 2014 trip to Japan, it will be for my next trip.

I would very much like to visit Hakone again, perhaps for a couple of days rather than just one. I would really like to see Mt Fuji with my own eyes, too! I intend to spend several days each in both Tokyo and Kyoto again, as both cities have so, so much more to see. There’s more of the modern and technology-fueled side of Tokyo to explore and I must make it to the bamboo forest of Arashiyama, just outside Kyoto this time!

Lastly, I hope that for Japan trip two I won’t be travelling alone. My potential Japan travel buddy is well aware of this, and as long as he gets to see the giant Godzilla outside a hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo, he seems pretty open to seeing all of the above and more!

I really can’t wait for March/April 2016 for Japan trip number two!!

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