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Presenter : Ian Wright

Japan – Tokyo to Taiwan

Ian Wright goes on an unusual journey to the Southern Islands of Japan – from Kyushu down to the Yaeyama Islands, Japan’s westernmost point, only 110 km from Taiwan. Using aimage - Ian Wright at a hostess bar in Tokyocombination of flights and ferries, Ian island-hops through the Pacific Islands and proves that even Japan can be done on a budget.

He begins his trip in Tokyo, with it’s congested sprawl of high rises, narrow alleys ablaze with neon lights and surging crowds of office workers. Ian takes refuge in one of Japan’s many hostess bars, where European girls are paid large amounts of money just to sit and make polite conversation with Japanese businessmen. No trip to Tokyo is complete without experiencing the Japanese youth scene at Yoyigikoen Park. Bands ranging from hip hop to heavy metal compete to create a cacophony of noise pollution. Ian has a bit of a run in with some Rockabillies, after inadvertently treading on their turf.

The bullet train whisks Ian out of Tokyo at 200 mph to the skiing resort of Zao Onsen. Here he becomes the terror of the slopes and tries his hand at that peculiar Japanese tradition of skiingimage - geothermal baths at Zao Onsen resortafter nightfall. After all his exertions he takes an open air bath surrounded by the slopes and snow capped mountains.

Ian flies to Kyusho, the largest of Japan’s Southern islands. He takes a trip to Mount Aso, exploring the volcano at the centre of the island.
It’s then a short overland journey east toNagasaki, where Ian learns about the city’s unfortunate fate as the second target of the atomic bomb, that was to signal the end of hostilities during World War II. A flight south takes him to Kagoshima, where he samples the lively night -life and traditional fish restaurants. In nearby Beppu, Ian experiences a sand bath – the heat rises from the hot springs the create a boiling beach where the locals lie down in a shallow trench and are buried up to their necks. The sauna-like properties of the sand contain many therapeutic properties for all types of aches and pains.

image - japan fire hillAnother flight takes Ian to the next islandOkanawa, scene of ferocious fighting at the end of the last war. Ian explores the labyrinth of tunnels where thousands committed suicide rather than be captured by the Americans. He also witnesses some traditional aspects of Japanese society such as bull fighting and snake versus mongoose battles, but this leaves a rather unpleasant taste in his mouth.

The unspoilt tranquility of the Yaeyama Islands are Ian’s final destination. On Iriomote he treks through the jungle and ends his journey at the beautiful Binai water falls.

Places Mentioned - Japan, Taiwan

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