Japan is a thrilling assault on all your senses. It is beautiful. An amalgamation of deep tradition and neon-fuelled modernity. It's robotic toilets with heated seats. It's fresh food. Bowls of rice. Sushi made from fish that morning. It's deer, temples, Buddhism and incense that crawls up through your nostrils and whisks you away to tops of mountains.
Tokyo is like Bangkok and London combined, on crack. It courses through your veins and makes you gasp for air while you stagger to take in your surroundings. The neon lights towering above, the fashion, the cabs and the sweet scent of BBQ sizzling on street corners.
I stayed up late wandering around Shinjuku, climbed mountains to Buddhist retreats, ate sushi in the world's biggest fish market, shopped in Ginza, fed deer in Nara and chilled with snow monkeys in hot springs in Jigokundi (that's Hell's Valley to me and you). I was sombre in Hiroshima and galvanised by Miyajima. I ate Kobe beef BBQ in Kobe and blended in with the locals. But mostly, I was inspired.
And I am so excited to be relocating (temporarily) to Tokyo in 2013 for work.