As this is the 20th HIDDEN PATHS blog post it seems a good opportunity to mark this mini-milestone with a glimpse behind what goes into putting together HIDDEN PATHS - Walking Historical Kyoto guidebooks and connected content. An update on HIDDEN PATHS Volume 5 was discussed in blog post 15 and the question was answered of how HIDDEN PATHS started in blog post 18 (The Unwavering Loyalty of Takayama Hikokuro).
The main, and very important thing to make totally clear is that I have visited every single route and location in the HIDDEN PATHS - Walking Historical Kyoto books. The photographs of these locations are also pictures that I have taken whilst visiting the sites and routes. I wouldn't recommend someone to go somewhere if I hadn't already been myself!
Pictured right, on location checking a route and taking shots for a walk featured in the upcoming HIDDEN PATHS Walking Historical Kyoto Volume 5. There are even some routes that I have had to return to due to bad weather on the first visit and not getting suitable pictures. I want the books to be something to appeal not just to walkers, but also those interested in reading about history, and because of that I want to get the best possible images that I can. As regards the historical content, as with wanting to get the best possible images, so too I want to make sure that the text is factual, up-to-date, well researched, and correct. I don't rely on one single source and never use background history if I ever have any doubt about the facts or sources. In some cases I might include an activity, such as the matcha green tea leaf grinding in Volume 1. As with the routes, these activities I also take part in (in fact I think I've done the tea grinding in Uji three times now, but I do love a bit of matcha! see picture below left).
When choosing a route for a walk, there are two things to take into account. Firstly are there plenty of historically interesting sites in a particular area to make the route feasible. Secondly, are these places and the route one that has not been 'done to death'. I could easily do a route up Fushimi Inari but what's the point, every tour book and it's dog has done that one. I want HIDDEN PATHS to be a little different and to take the reader and walker to a place a little different.
And of course, as Vic and Bob said in the comedy sketch 'Tinkers Rucksack', "Its not all walking!". There is the book PARANORMAL KANSAI (released February 2021 and available in paperback and digital formats from all regions of AMAZON), which in many ways is a companion to the HIDDEN PATHS books. This is not a book of walking routes but some of the sites featured in the book can be added to some of the HIDDEN PATHS routes.
And finally the HIDDEN PATHS YouTube channel content featuring radio slots and podcast interviews. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi5HAZx22IoVLZR0rESZ3UA/videos
I have done podcast interviews for The Unexplained with Howard Hughes, Weird Wacky & Wonderful Stories, and Ishikawa : Summit To Sea. I highly recommend the content on all three of these podcast shows. All can be found on the HIDDEN PATHS YouTube Channel.
I have also done a number of radio slots on the UK Talk Radio show The Unexplained (Howard Hughes). A playlist of these radio slots is on the HIDDEN PATHS YouTube Channel. When I've recorded the podcasts I've been in the comfort of my home but due to the time of the radio show and the time difference I'm usually out and about. Pictured right is where you can find me whilst on the radio!
I always appreciate any feedback on the books or other content so feel free to drop a line, ask a question, suggest a route or site.