'Eternal Summer' is a series of articles about the promise and reality of Japan, home of aesthetic. Each article is accompanied by a specially compiled playlist which you can listen to while reading.
As soon as we heard the screech of the landing gear against the runway, we knew we were in for the holiday of a lifetime.
We had booked the trip a year early, saving a lot of money on the package deal we selected. We had done an immense amount of planning - where to go, what to see, things to do; we didn’t want to miss a single opportunity whilst we were there.
Whilst we were there, we discovered two key things about Tokyo.
The first is that the city life is intense, with bright lights around every corner and down every alleyway, loud music and the constant muffle of city noise, and the general hustle and bustle that makes visiting the city just that little bit more thrilling. I remember the awe we experienced when we first stepped out of the stuffy Shinjuku station, with the gentle breeze through our hair, and being surrounded by a neon paradise. Skyscrapers packed together like Tetris, huge neon signs attached to every single one. It was like 100 Times Squares all in one place. The atmosphere was extraordinary.
Another great example of this neon dreamland was in Shibuya. It wasn’t as busy as Shinjuku; when we walked out of the station we could actually stand to stop and admire our surroundings rather than being pushed with the flow of the crowd. By this point, it was our 3rd or 4th day, and we had spent so much time in these areas that every now and then we would have to routinely pinch ourselves to remind us of where we really were. A dazzle of rain accompanied our trip there, and with our umbrellas out, the reflective nature of the lights on the roads and streets was an otherworldly sight, it was as if we were living in these over-exaggerated stock photos you see everywhere, but in fact, it was very real.
By the 5th day, we wanted to see the other side of Japan - the natural beauty of the countryside. After a long and arduous journey changing at least 4 times on the train, and after climbing roughly 400 steps, we reached the Chureito Pagoda near Mt. Fuji.
The view was stunning. Miles upon miles of blissful green landscapes accompanied by the beautiful mountain line in the far mists in the very background. Considering we had spent all of our time in the city, standing atop the observation deck and listening to the tranquillity of the world around us made for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The colours and structure of the Pagoda itself were gorgeous, truly sensational Japanese architecture. The breeze rustling the leaves in the trees, the occasional birdsong echoing through the hills, it was so, so different from the city life, and it was really a breath of fresh air to experience a totally different way of life, despite it being only a couple of hours from Tokyo. But of course we were still in Japan, and despite being halfway up a mountain, there was the luxury of free Wi-Fi.
I can truly say this has been one of the most enjoyable and life-changing holidays I have ever, ever had. It really was the best of both worlds.
The album 'Sparkling Water' by British producer desert sand feels warm at night will be released this August on vinyl for the very first time through Palm '84. – If music didn't exist, the sand wouldn't be warm.
1. Tatsuro Yamashita - Futari
2. t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 - 手放す
3. Alan Tam - 迷痴的心
4. Anri - Stardust Go Home
5. Stumbleine - Mute City
6. Coldplay - The Escapist
7. Sandy Lamb - 把歌談心
8. Noble Oak - Dissolve
9. Secede - Shrine
10. Minako Yoshida - 扉の冬
11. killedmyself - I walked her home, for the first time
12. Momoko Kikuchi - Tomorrow
13. Yumiko Morioka - Komorebi