Steve’s Top 10 Japanese-tastic Things, in some semblance of an order.
10 – Kyoto- Kyoto’s great, but so are all the other places so easily accessed from it- Koshien, Nara, Osaka and Kobe
9 – Crazy Gameshows and Owarai- check out Sekainabeatsu, Fujisaki Market, Kojima Yoshio and Okamoto 99 for a start.
8 – Nomihodie- of course we have all you can drink in the UK. And even when it isn’t on offer, there’s always the option of, well, drinking all that you can. But Japan takes the all-you-can-drink option and turns it into an institution.
7- The Inland Sea- is beautiful. And it has so much. Visit- Okunoshima, Naoshima, Shodoshima, Washuzan Highlands, Takamatsu, and cross the Seto-Ohashi Hashi.
6- Love Hotels- Yes, it has be said, Japanese Love Hotels rule. From giant jaccuzzis to giant TVs with free Playstation rentel to, err, rotating beds, Japanese Love Hotels aren’t only amazingly fun but are also amazingly cheap for what they are. For the same price as a homogenous business hotel a group of friends could crash here with karaoke, Playstation games and massive rooms all included.
5- Trains!- I Love Trains! I’d never have said that before coming to Japan, but living here makes a train nerd of anyone. Not only are they always on time, they also have catchy theme tunes to accompany their arrival and departure, while the Shinkansen is
4- Food!- What amazed me most about Japanese food was not the tastiness, but the sheer variety there is on offer. Tonkatsu, ramen, sushi,
3- Hokkaido- a shock entry at number 3! Yes, despite the almost compulsory entry of Kyoto at 10, and the upcoming entry of Tokyo, Hokkaido was the genuine suprise of Japan. Of all the places I visited in my two years, only Hokkaido left me speechless with its stark natural beauty and vastness.
2- Tokyo- is just so shiny! Watch Lost in Translation, and feel the Tokyo vibe. Asakusa, Akihabara, Harajuku, Ebisu, and of course the crowning jewels of Shibuya and Shinjuku- not all like it, but I damn well do.
1- Karaoke- Karaoke wins first place! Its such a simply idea, so poorly utilised in the UK, yet in Japan its a passtime revelation! Learn to sing- Rokko Oroshi, the Hanshin Tigers theme tune!