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3 min.

A journey through culture, food, and nature of a country seemingly incomprehensible

by Patrick Colgan

Japan is a world apart. The land of the shogun, geishas, silences, and the cult of beauty as precision and purity. Japan, however, is also the land of massacres, of the military madness and loneliness … but probably this is only what we see or want to see in the West because the Japanese culture thrives on shades and different priorities from ours and reading the words of Patrick Colgan I somehow think it’s the same for him.

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Horizon Japan is a collage of travel tales, moments, and personal considerations that emerged during six different stays in Japan. It does not claim to be a guide, but for me, it is one, and in fact, I have noted on several details that I can only deepen, places that I can not visit, and flavors that I definitely want to taste.

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This journey to Japan begins in the perfectly monstrous and sprawling subway of Tokyo that swallows everything and everyone. Still, in its belly, everybody maintains order and respect, and it is surreal to me but at the same time fascinating.

The second stage of the book is one in the taste, and it seems to me I’m there, walking along those streets where restaurants of all kinds follow one another. I can’t help but picture to myself the many Japanese cartoons seen during childhood, with those bowls of steaming ramen that always had my mouth water … and it is in his search for the perfect ramen that Patrick enraptured me, and he confirms that the Japanese love to eat and to talk about food that conquered me.

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After this essential incursion into the country’s everyday life and its people, the journey in the most literal sense of the term begins and starts from the poetical Kyoto, in between a walk through its streets and the fragile charm of the sakura.

Patrick’s tales pass through suffering and desolation too – as it should be – with a painful stage in Yuriage and Watari, to dwell on what is left after the tsunami and then in Hiroshima not to forget and to reiterate that life is stronger…

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The tales that have most piqued my desire to leave are related to the Far South islands. Yet another world, with other shades and priorities. IshigakiTaketomiShirakawa-go, and Shiretoko, places I knew nothing about. Still, I can’t wait to visit to find out more about them, to deepen Patrick’s words, and to be able to chat with him afterward.

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As mentioned at the beginning of the post, Horizon Japan is not the classic travel guide and does not give advice or warnings, but arouses curiosity and gives ideas. The perfect travel book for me!

Oh, I love it also because there are words such as gargantuan and not being the only one to use it has something reassuring 😉

So, if you can read Italian, I really recommend this book. 

About the author

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Patrick in a capsule!

Patrick Colgan is a Bolognese, to English father, and an Italian mother. His passion for travel started with a Eurail ticket more or less fifteen years ago. To date, he visited more than thirty countries, but as he himself declares,  putting flags around the world is not his goal because traveling is also to come back and learn more about a place already visited to grow and get enriched. How not to agree! His other great passions are photography and foreign languages.

When not traveling around the world, he is a journalist at the Resto del Carlino and writes on his blog Orizzonti.

* the pictures published on this post were taken by Patrick Colgan and have a creative commons license, attribution-noncommercial use.

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Silvia's Trips

Hi there! My name is Silvia and after 15 years between the Paris Opera and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia I now run a boutique hotel in Cinque Terre, deal with tourism management and blogging, sail, horse-ride, play guitar and write about my solo trips around the world. For more info about me and my travel blog check my full bio.