Coming back to my home country after a longer stay abroad, I’m always a little taken away by the so-called reverse culture shock. The food, the people, the language; it feels new, exotic, and fresh — and at the same time so very familiar, bordering mundane. For a short period of time, before getting used […]



At a first glance,  Japan might be the closest things we have to a time machine; talking toilets complete with artificial intelligence — a small window through which we can peek into the future. The place where humanoid robots might soon have their own social security numbers, and cutting-edge technology is a subject in kindergarten. […]

After a surprisingly bad night on the internet café floor (too hot, narrow space and a flourescent light in my face) I was blessed with another beautiful day on the roads. Knowing that I only had around 80km left, I took my time, had a substantial-but-not-excessive breakfast and hit the road at 08.15. My legs […]

Even though the name Yamadera (literally Mountain Temple) reveals a lot, this knowledge couldn’t possibly spoil the sight itself. About an hour and ¥740 away from Sendai on the JR Senzan Line, Yamadera is located in the neighboring Yamagata prefecture’s northern alps. Within minutes we’re out of Sendai’s hustle and bustle and suddenly the train […]

At four-something am, I was woken up by an old man. He must have been some kind of monk — who else in their right mind would be up and running about at four in the morning? Sleeping on the sacred grounds without any permission whatsoever, I was expecting a good, old fashioned scolding with […]