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Story: I 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 harmony.

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.

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