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I started reading the book “Riding the trains in Japan” today, but to be honest gave up about 30 pages in as it was all a bit deep thinking for me.

However, in those thirty or so pages it did make the very interesting argument that todays travel writer needs to be very selective in what he or she writes about because todays reader only wants to know the story of the unique and the special … they want to read about the amazing temples and the remote bamboo grove.

In today’s world of sponsored journalism, no one wants you to write about long plane flights, frustrating airport transfers, the problems with ordering meals or finding somewhere to stay, and they definitely don’t want you to write about how the world is becoming more and more … the same.

Which would explain why even my mum has stopped reading my blog.
So, today (and yesterday) we were in Kyoto and, yes, it was pretty darn cool.
We clocked up around 70kms of riding in the two days, and we visited cool temples (where we weren’t allowed to take photos), we rode down small backstreets and along busy highways … we even cycled along rivers.  We visited places where we had no idea why exactly we were visiting them, and most importantly we got to visit the cool bamboo grove that we’d seen in the Lonely Planet guide (which we’ve borrowed from the State Library for the visit).

Yep, all up, we’ve had a pretty cool two days in Kyoto and we could do a travel writer proud …

Kim even ate more Japanese food …

As did I, although some would say that Wasabi and Soy Sauce Dorito’s don’t count …

But … and it’ a big but, I was also reading the Lonely Planet’s guide to Japan on the train down here and it made the very interesting point that if we could speak Japanese and get to know the locals what we’d discover is that they are very much, in fact boringly so, like us.

And that’s the feel I got in Kyoto – sure there’s the Geisha’s and the old sites, but ultimately, 80% of what we rode through in Japan was just suburbia … albeit a much more densely populated one that what we’ve got back home, and one where you can’t park your bikes on the streets (true story).

I guess I’m coming to understand that I have much more of an idealised vision of Japan than I realised, and due to the language and communication barriers, I feel like I’m only getting the most superficial experience of the Country.

But as the guy who wrote “Riding on Trains in Japan” said … who wants to read stuff like that?

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