Japan: Earth’s Enchanted Islands, episode 1 – Honshu. BBC Two, 9pm.

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It’s got frogs with foamy jizz. It’s got deer roaming around temples and streets. It’s got flickering, fluttery firefly contests. Japan is a country that intrigues most of us at some point, and has done so for centuries. While adapting to modern technology and getting ahead of the curb with most of it, it still retains a very strong and proud connection to its ancient cultural roots unique in its combination among Asian countries. All TV documentaries, website articles and radio programmes discuss the culture from the traditional to the ridiculous. But what about the diversity of its wildlife? What about the unique geography that causes wealth and destruction at the same time? What about its weather systems that allowed it to host the winter Olympics, wealthy coral reefs and tropical islands and some of the most spectacular autumnal colours in the world?

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Cameraman Mark Payne-Gill hard at work

Turn BBC Two on at 9pm tomorrow (tonight), and you will be taken on a journey through the island of Honshu, showing you the best wildlife the area has to offer, up in the mountaintops through to the paddy fields and the inner cities. This documentary will guarantee to open your eyes and show you a whole different side of this main island of Japan, which most people associate solely with Tokyo and Kyoto (and maybe Hiroshima). It explores the unique relationship people have built between them and wildlife to survive together on one of the most crowded areas on earth, and demonstrates how the transience of nature guides a lot of ancient Japanese philosophies. An island that is wild but equally quirky in its own ways, and will make your wanderlust for Japan increase ever more. So don’t miss it.

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Having a play with Mark MacEwen’s MOVI

While you’re at in (and I’m sure you’re dying for a sneak preview) head to the BBC’s website! Here’s an excerpt from the show, about the deer in Nara, and if you’re in the UK you can also watch a clip about the ‘firefly contests’
Don’t forget to try your hand at the quiz while you’re at it too!

And finally, here’s BBC Earth’s top 12 species in Japan. Japanhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/prograhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02srlpt (Oh, and some of the web exclusives on the BBC’s website might have my voice over on them…)

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