Japanese trip

November 1995

I went to Japan to see the Nintendo 64 (formerly Ultra 64 or Project Reality) be unveiled at the Makuhari Messe exhibition centre near Tokyo. Fergus went along with me and paid for the trip. After we schmoozed with the gai-jin developers in Tokyo over the weekend, I went on a mini-holiday.

Yamauchi-san Acclaim stand


When I sat down in the plane I made a remark to the guy sitting across the aisle from me, only to find out that he already knew me, and was heading for Shoshinkai too! So with the help of his Japanese colleague 14 hours later we made our way directly from the airport to the exhibition. I managed to get a look at Mario 64 (a very impressive game) before The Speech by Yamauchi-san. His strident oratory made the hesitant female translation coming from our headsets sound not a little surreal.

At the weekend we gai-jins all met up and hit the arcades near Ginza. Dave Perry quite enjoyed the skiing game, but I think his legs were a bit long for the machine.

Ryo-kan hotel Plastic food Vending machines


First, I took the bullet train down to Hiroshima, where I met some charming people from Kemco who showed me around the town. The Peace Museum there shows what devastation resulted from the nuclear bomb attack in 1945. The town has been completely rebuilt, except for the old town hall which has been left as the A-bomb memorial.

I had a traditional Tempura meal (introduced by Portuguese missionaries; you dip skewered morsels into batter and fry it yourself) and stayed the night in a traditional (and cheap!) Ryo-kan hotel.

Miyajima Miyajima Miyajima Miyajima Miyajima Miyajima


The next day, I visited Miyajima Island. This is reputed to be one of the three most beautiful spots in Japan, and I was not disappointed.

Kyoto Kyoto Meko girl


In the afternoon I took the bullet train up to Kyoto. I spent three nights in Kyoto, seeing the sights of the city, watching a tea ceremony performed by a Meko girl (geisha in training), and drinking Sake and Japanese Whisky in Karaoke bars.

Nara Nara Nara


On my last day in Kyoto I took a day trip to Nara, another former capital of Japan. It is packed with temples and shrines, including the biggest wooden building in the world (housing the biggest bronze statue in the world).

Mount Fuji Tokyo Tokyo Tokyo


Finally I took the bullet train back to Tokyo, where I spent my last few nights in a Capsule hotel.

On the long flight back home to London I thought back on what I had seen - a lot of my pre-conceived images of the country were shown to be only true in a limited way, and there were are lot of things there which I had not expected at all. A fascinating, bustling country.

Go HomeGo Home
Copyright © 1996, 1999 Carl Muller (carlmuller@hotmail.com). All Rights Reserved.