I had the chance to spend a couple of weeks in Japan, got back a week ago. I thought I'd post a few pics, although I'm nothing like as good as Neko-san at documenting my travels.
The smooth Century oozes around central Tokyo. A government minister, or Yakuza?
Tokyo police, fighting crime while caring for the environment
Obligatory random shot from the Wadakura fountain park just outside the Imperial Palace
The Skytree, dominating the cityscape
View from the Skytree showing the rivers of traffic that flow through Tokyo
I also had a chance to attend the D1GP in Odaiba. Was good to see that this event still draws a crowd, I'd slightly feared that it might be a fad whose time had passed, but there were still a good number of people there.
This didn't end well
Technically a JNC ;-)
Lone Hachiroku in a sea of S-bodies, running crazy scrub radius up front. Sadly didn't have the oomph to drift with the big boys.
The other S13, which won the event, hassling the 'smoke machine' Chaser.
We also had a chance to visit Shikoku. This was inspired by a mention (possibly here?) of Alex Kerr's book Lost Japan, aka 'Last Glimpse of Beautiful Japan'. He's an American who travelled to the secluded Iya valley, fell in love with the area, and bought a traditional thatched house, which he then fell into huge debt to get re-thatched. Iya isn't even like the rest of Japan, the land isn't suitable for rice farming and it's always maintained a distinct culture.
'Kouyou', Autumn leaves
Hold on tight! These suspension bridges were traditionally made of vines woven together, ready to be cut to prevent one's enemies following across the steep river gorge. (Nowadays steel cables are incorporated to better support visiting tourists).
For conveying goods, this 'monkey' cabin can be used. You sit in it and pull on the rope to cross the river. Perhaps surprisingly, it's less scary than walking over a vine bridge.
Shikoku is separated from Honshu (the main island) by the Seto inland sea. However there are various chains of islands between, which have now been linked up by huge bridges to bring the expressway to Shikoku. (There are three routes across).
Alex Kerr's house, now maintained by the Chiiori Trust
The open-air onsen at our hotel
A more famous onsen, this one was the basis for the bathhouse in Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro).