My final few days in Ibusuki before I set out on my travels.

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Stepping into the real-life world of Hayao Miyazaki.

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Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island of Yakushima is famous for its ancient forest composed of Japanese cedar known as 屋久杉 (yakusugi).

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I was recently asked to explain where I’d visited in Japan using Game of Thrones as a rough geographical guide. I replied that if Tokyo were King’s Landing, then where Colin and Kim now live is the blazing south of Dorne, and my former home of Akita would be the frozen plains of Winterfell. Never was this more apparent than when we paid a visit to the Fukiagehama Sand Art Festival: rather in contrast to the snow festival I’d seen whilst living in the north.

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A casual Saturday night surviving the zombie apocalypse.

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Wherein my friends take me to see some of Ibusuki’s local attractions and I still wind up taking photos of animals.

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The plan had been to drive up to Miyazaki on the east coast but, as we set out on the road that morning and the skies became increasingly dismal and torrential, we decided it might be an idea to stay slightly closer to home rather than suffer an 8-hour round trip to stand outside in the rain.

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