It’s Never Crowded at the Top


Last updated on October 9, 2020

In this post I’d like to reveal a more personal side of the Video Marketing Insider blog.

It’s not always got to be ‘How to’ articles.

Sometimes you need to inject a little more ‘real’.

So here goes….

Nagoya to Kyoto

I have lived in a city called Nagoya for close on 20 years.

My original plan of living here for 6 months has clearly not worked.

Nagoya is slap bang in the middle of Japan between Tokyo and Osaka.

And is famous, at least here, for having the worst drivers, being boring and having closed minded folk.

Sounds like a right laugh eh!

I like it though.

Not long ago, a friend of mine paid a visit from Singapore.

He said it was to try the food and to discuss a potential software but we all know it was to be in my presence.

On his last day here we decided to take a trip to Kyoto.

He wanted to visit a famous attraction called the Fushimi Inari Shrine.

It’s famous as one of the places Memoirs of a Geisha was filmed, and is a mountain climb through a bunch of red gates, or torii as they are called in Japan.

So off we went.

Wednesday Travels

One of the best things about earning money from digital marketing is you can do things others cannot.

So while 95% of Japan went to work, we took a Shinkansen to Kyoto.

We rode the green car (first class carriage).


Coz we can.

A little known fact is that the Shinkansen has never been more than 54 seconds late since its inception.

Here’s it in action.


That is actually the Shinkansen we took on the way home if I’m completely honest (in case some eagle eyed Japanese speaker calls me out).

After arriving in Kyoto, we hopped on a short train ride to our destination.

Fushimi Inari

Fushimi Inari is a famous Shinto shrine that people visit to climb up and explore the nearby mountain trails.

To cut a long story short, we had to join the throng of tourists going up one by one. 

The entrance to the climb was packed which took away from the experience.

As you climb though, they have resting points and luckily that is where many lazy folk turn back.

Not long after it got much quieter and I managed to get this pic.


As we got nearer the top we were excited to see that was there.

And to put in a word to the Gods about our new software.

England still haven’t won the world cup in my lifetime so I’m not 100% convinced this strategy works.

Anyhow, just before we arrived, we came across this which is called a Chozuya:

These are to wash your hands to purify you before praying.

Next we finally arrived at the top of the mountain.

Anti Climatic

A bit like buying a product online that does not do what it promises, this was a total letdown.

At the top, with the view hidden by trees, was just another shrine.

We were all shrined out by this stage.

A quick look, a word in the big man’s ear and we were off.

Back Down is Where The Magic Happened

Rather than come down the same way as everyone else, we decided to take a chance and venture down a small path to the side of the mountain.

Not long before we came across these more rustic looking torii.

Fushimi Inari

After going through these torii gates, we turned left and made our way down the mountainside.

It was fairly steep but there were steps of some sort.

It was then that we stumbled upon this in the mountainside.

It reminded me of something out of Tomb Raider..

A set of mini shrines far away from prying eyes (well apart from ours)


Wax on Wax Off

Further along the winding walk down, we spotted a tiny cottage.

Amazing to think people actually around there.

Outside the cottage I saw this really cool contraption.

To me, this mirrored what successful people do online.


Repeating the same stuff over and over until it becomes natural/boring/second nature.

Find a way and perfect it with the minimum of moving parts and repeat. 

If you are serving a worthwhile purpose, happiness is just around the corner.

Here’s another hidden treasure we found:


Once all was done, we decided to head over to Gion to get some food.

Gion has some amazing narrow streets full of history.

The prices match.

This place is not cheap.

We chose to eat some Sukiyaki by the Kyoto riverside.

Sukiyaki is beef simmered at the table, alongside a mix of vegetables and then dipped in raw egg.

Washed down with a few beers of course.

It’s Never Crowded at the Top.

When I had time to gather my thoughts I realized how this trip mirrored business. In that it's never crowded at the top. Click To Tweet

At the bottom and the struggle to move upwards the story is different.

Most going up never made it!

Gave up halfway and went back down.

Little effort, no results.

It goes to show that life mirrors business.

Getting there can be tough.

A slog.

Do you carry on, or give up?

Especially when you cannot see the end.

For me, everyone who gives up means one less person at the top.

And during your climb, sometimes you need to do things differently.

A little out of the box thinking goes a long way.

And that is where the magic is.


PS…If you ever come to Japan and want a tour guide and you are nearby Nagoya, let me know. A beer (or three) will suffice.


Comments on It’s Never Crowded at the Top

  1. Peter Hons says:

    Great post Adam. And so true.

    I train and coach people in the Japanese arts of Aikido, Shiatsu, Macrobiotics etc.

    So a lot of principles I can relate to.

    And the best is not the obvious. You have to be open and search for it.

    I’m still on the path of online business. But my life path is very solid – so I persevere to combine the two. All in good time.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and the great photos.

    I hope to get there one day and take you up on the tour and buy you a few beers. 🙂

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Thank you Peter and I had no idea you trained people in that!

      So true about having to search for the best.

      Looking forward to those beers.


  2. Kenneth says:

    Wonderful, insightful post Adam. I found it inspirational. You clearly have the gift of the storyteller. I will take you up on that beer or three, sometime.l

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Hi Kenneth,

      Thanks for the kind words. I wish I had that gift 🙂

      Looking forward to the beer.

  3. Flash Farley says:

    Have you had a reply from the God’s regarding your new software?
    Thoroughly enjoyed your blog post. Truely an amazing place to visit.
    I think you can relate the words “never give up” to every day life. Life is a struggle full stop…you just have to work a little harder, some times.. “There is no substitute for hard work”
    Rgds Flash

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Cheers for the comment Flash. No reply from God yet but software still in early days so maybe he’s waiting.

      Glad you liked the post.

      And true, it’s a struggle but anyone can get there.


  4. DigitalDave says:

    Hi Adam,

    Thanks for sharing your adventure and your time with all of us.
    I needed to get away and that hit the spot.

    All the best…


    1. Adam Payne says:

      Thank you Dave. Much appreciated.

  5. Brian Jones says:

    Thanks Adam such a change from the usual bs that clogs the internet

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Cheers Brian.

  6. Hooda K says:

    Awesome inspirational post, Adam and that’s an amazing spot you found by “accident” 🙂 I hope I can buy you a beer one day when I visit Japan!

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Thanks Hooda. We were surprised too. Looking forward to the beer 🙂

  7. mark melberzs-rozitis says:

    Like your take on it all Adam.
    Never give up!!

    Beer . . . excellent!

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Cheers Mark.

  8. David Sweney says:

    Hi, Adam…

    Thanks for sharing your adventure and it was one worth writing about for sure. The nooks and crannies of far off places (for most of us NOT in Japan) can provide wonderful memories…

    Lots of lessons too, I guess that is fitting, based on what you were exploring…Life is a mountain, hard to climb, but the trip is worth it as you wind your way up and down new paths and discover insights with what you see/experience…

    For the record, I have been to Japan in the past, but never took the time to make a trip like this…My bad, I know better now and if I get back there, you will have that beer you seek, trip guide or not…

    Dave (A Fellow Wanderer)

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Hi Dave,

      Agreed that the nooks and crannies or unfamiliar places are well worth searching out.

      Looking forward to sharing a beer or three with you.



  9. Shaun says:

    Great post Adam…the road less travelled can be the most rewarding for sure…due to who you become on the way….but grasshopper the teacher only shows up when the pupil is ready…loved the Kung Fu series..

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Thanks Shaun and agreed about the road less travelled.

  10. Charles says:

    Loved the rinse and repeat video clip 🙂

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Thanks Charles.

  11. russell j says:

    Hey Adam
    Most definitely a life truth in regards to following a path less travelled … you could see more than an average tourist on a well-trodden track, you could find a dead-end, you could have to give up and return empty-handed … but that’s where the magic is … experiencing the adventure and the possibility of what treasures you could find

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Hi Russell,

      The path less travelled definitely had an element of risk but the rewards can be magical.


  12. Hey thanks for sharing Adam, this makes stalking ya much easier buddy ❤️

    Just kitten, nice post man…never been to Japan, but it looks like it aint too shabby.

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Haha.. Thanks man, Japan is not too bad at all. Very different to most places and you don’t need to stay 20 plus years like me lol.

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