I’ve been completely without Internet for the last four days. Some might find it relaxing; I found it stressful. I had this sense that the world was passing me by, without stopping for me to make comments about events. Such is the mindset of the compulsive blogger.
I have Internet now, for about five minutes, so I’ll try to be both quick and interesting — or, at least, quick.
We spent a couple of days up in Kamakochi, a mountainous area that manages to look alpine, if one ignores the smoke rising up from the barely dormant high peak towering over the lovely valley. This volcano let loose almost 100 years ago, sluicing down the mountain, thereby creating bare patches that exist to this day, as well as a lovely, still lake.
We stayed in a cabin that seemed to have been built entirely without nails. Everything was . . . hmmm, what’s the name? Ah! Tongue and groove . . . that sounds right. Everything was precisely fitted, obviating the need for nails or screws. It was quite impressive. Also impressive was the complete absence of any decoration or furniture, save for a single coffee table. It was austere, to say the least. Bed was a rock-hard futon, with a pillow filled with — I kid you not — plastic pellets. I didn’t sleep well, but I did lie awake in peaceful beauty.
We went from the mountains to Tokyo, where we scoped out what must surely be the world’s biggest department stores. The food courts were wonderful. They had dazzling displays for the most beautiful, and often the most exotic, food you can imagine. We managed to get out there minus only $100 — and that was after exercising extreme self-control.
The real catnip for our family, though, was a visit to the Sony showroom, where we got to see the latest in cameras and 3D television. I don’t like taking pictures or having my picture taken, but these cameras were so magnificent that even I looked good in the resulting photos. Everyone was surprised, as I am notoriously un-photogenic. The 3D TVs were fascinating, although I think I would get a headache from watching them too long.
From Sony we headed to the Ghibli Museum — and then, when we got there, wondered why we spent the money and time to do so. We had envisioned something rather big and splashy, but we got what amounted to a small shrine to the art of the Ghibli studio. What was there was truly beautiful, but the place was so small, it simply didn’t justify the $100 it cost us for tickets and travel. If you’re a die-hard fan, you should visit the museum; otherwise, save your money to watch the movies.
Out of time. I don’t know if I’ll have time or Internet access anytime soon, but I should be up and running again by the 7th.