had an unexpected window between freelance projects and made
the spur-of-the-moment decision to book a ticket to Japan to visit
my sister, just a week before I was due to fly.
A controlled chaos seems to permeate every facet of Japanese
life, from the cramped rush hour crush to the dizzying pachinko
arcades – though it’s a madness which is governed by a dedication
to politeness and order. Splashes of bright colours and alien
characters compete for your attention in a country of visual
excess, though in some way they simultaneously co-exist in total
In contrast to this chaos, Arashiyama in the outskirts of Kyoto
is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. At dusk, a
soft-pink light illuminates the bamboo forest, with mountains
peacefully dominating the horizon and the never-ending wooden
bridge traversing the Katsura river.
The magic that inspired the animated Studio Ghibli films is
certainly palpable in Tokyo, and as soon as I left I found myself
wondering about all the weird and wonderful things which are still
waiting for me to discover them.