Budgerigars are lovely little things. Affectionate. Funny. Even capable of uttering four letter words. The only trouble is they can’t be taken out and about, restricting all such interaction to inside the home.
Or at least that’s what I always thought. Quite wrongly as it turns out. As they can in fact be taken cycling.
And even shopping.
A look that was pretty much as dismissive as I was indiscreet.
Tokyo isn’t exactly the prettiest city in the world, and part of that is due to its complete mishmash of architecture. The traditional and modern. Beautiful and carbuncle. All haphazardly mixed throughout the capital.
Like these hugely contrasting homes for example. A character-filled but unappealing old place, and its infinitely more comfortable, but entirely characterless, modern cousins.
Tokyo’s Yasukuni Jinja is often referred to as the capital’s ‘war shrine’, and, as 14 Class-A war criminals are enshrined there, it’s a moniker not exactly unwarranted. An element that makes any official visit hugely controversial, resulting in increased tension between Japan and its Asian neighbours.
At the same time, however, it is where almost two and a half million of Japan’s war dead are also enshrined. Young soldiers and citizens who, like countless others all over the world, served their country. Many not because of ideology or desire, but out of duty. Men and women who quite rightly deserve the respect of their families, comrades and country people.
The only trouble is, the aforementioned controversy that surrounds the shrine, and the far-right groups that use it as a rallying point, often make it difficult to distinguish between honour and hostility, prayer and propaganda.