Destinations

Mascots, robots and dressing up like children – welcome to the weird ‘Cultural Galápagos’ of Japan

Japan has developed customs, cuisines and cartoons to the beat of its own taiko drum
Japan has developed customs, cuisines and cartoons to the beat of its own taiko drum Credit: GETTY

My brother Ali’s message came in response to the barrage of photos I’ve been sending the family WhatsApp group: “That’s a pretty weird week you’ve had. Mascots. Robots. Dressing up like children. Nuclear radiation.” He’s right. It’s been up there with the more memorable weeks I’ve lived to date.

I’m in Japan with a Telegraph film crew, four of us in total, zipping around at bullet-speed to shoot in various locations across the country. So far, I’ve had the lens pointed at me in Tokyo and in the exclusion zone at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. I write these words from the cloud-cloaked Mariolandscape of Kamaishi in the north. Our next stop is the subtropical archipelago of Okinawa to the south,...

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