Many tourists, when they visit Japan, have Shirakawa-go on their list. This is nested between Kanazawa and Nagoya and typically tours go that way.

I was lucky enough to get a visit to Gokayama in May, less famous than Shirakawa go and therefore much quieter and peaceful. I had a blast, honestly and truly.

this is so authentic, people still live there in houses, this is also World Heritage. An easy way to visit is to hop on the World Heritage bus at Takaoka Station

The whole place looks like a postcard!!

The gassho houses reflect the way of life in ancient Japan (traces from the 16th century) and there are only 200 of those left (from 1900 at the end world war II),


Tokyo 2020 – prepwork

Did you know that Tozai metro line “enjoys” a 200% occupancy during peak hours in Tokyo each morning. I usually take the Ginza line on Thursdays and Fridays and it is a squeeze in game with white gloves young platform employees “helping” to fit in.

so, Tokyo is thinking about how to address the matter during the Olympics next year, in a country where homework is not even considered, this is a challenging move!! and there is a lot of convincing, lobbying and educating to complete in the next 12 months



Super ageing country #2

Japan has a record low population, even lower than expected , now under 125M Japanese, the country expects to go as low as 88M in 2050

New York Times published an analysis last week on the topic saying that China is following this pattern and Europe is watching this without any prospect of solution


Leprosy in Japan

There is a book I really loved that talks about this – an, sweet bean, that made a movie in 2015 – the book is written by Durian Sukegawa

Hansen disease can now be cured and in the last century, there were cases in Japan, that created segregation, people were transferred, isolated from their families, enclosed in houses and could not integrate the society, get married, find a job etc, Last week, a court case in Kumamoto recognised this and charged government with compensation to some of the victim relatives

In a different region (Crete this time), Victoria Hislop also published the Island, in 2005 and that is equally a great novel that I highly recommend

Cost of life in Tokyo

I get asked a lot about the cost of life in Japan. It is not cheap but did you know

  • Norway is by far way more expensive on a daily basis, food, restaurants, transports
  • Tokyo is “only” the #10 most expensive city in rent, places like Hong Kong, Boston, New York, Paris or London are way more expensive

I find energy and utilities to be very expensive, mobile phone is outrageous and the government is actually addressing this as the major networks have abusing for years

Food is actually ok-ish!

Metro is ok too, trains are expensive so as trains (similar system to mobile, they make the most of their monopoly)

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