Japan · 18 Days · 24 Moments · October 2017

John's voyage in Japan

30 October 2017

We have made the most of our final morning by going to the 52nd floor of the tower at Ropponga(?) Hills. The views were excellent and we were even able to see MtFuji. Tue. Oct. 31 - The trip home was OK : the food was OK but ordinary however we arrived in Melbourne safely. As we were going through customs the sniffer dog was attracted to Wendy and stopped by her side. Why ? She had forgotten that she still had two bananas in her bag.! We were subsequently held up for more than an hour and Wendy received a written warning notice. Oops!!!
The funny thing about these beers that I got from the bar was that they were both fake samples! Wendy had almost started to taste hers until the girl came racing across to take them back!
This our final day in Japan! Some general impressions of this country: - the Japanese seem a wonderful race of people-very gentle and well mannered, eager to help strangers and have a great work ethic - with the 30 million people in Tokyo it is not surprising that many of them live in multi-story apartments - the Japanese people seem to be diligent workers. The unemployment rate is 2.8% compared to 5.5 in Australia - they have a fantastic railway system here-very fast trains and without exception they all run on time - there is no graffiti in Japan nor is there one piece of rubbish to be seen - I had heard that Japan is an expensive place to live. In terms of food that is just not true. It was rare to have to pay more than fifteen dollars for a main meal and a glass of wine. Most times it was much cheaper. - there are still not enough English signs indicating the way to tourist sites - the currency is easy to use/ both notes and coins

29 October 2017

Our final night in Tokyo before flying out to/morrow night to Melbourne.

28 October 2017

To-day we were shown around Nara by a friend of Herb's niece and her girl friend. They were both delightful young ladies and really looked after us. We visited the Todaiji Temple where there is a statue of Buddha which is the largest timber structure in the world. We enjoyed lunch at a tempura restaurant which was excellent. After lunch we went on an exhausting walk to a shrine which I didn't think was all that marvellous( not worth the walk!) Later to-night Wendy and I found a traditional Japanese restaurant where we had to take off our shoes and they were put in a locker. Then we were put in a very private booth where one had to climb in over cushions to be seated. The food was excellent. We had muso soup followed by a seafood salad and then chuck steak accompanied by another salad, rice, and a couple of vegetables. There was an eight percent tax on the meal but by Australian standards it was still cheap.

27 October 2017

It took us three trains to-day to get to Nara but then found that our hotel was right next to the station! How lucky were we!!! We had a lunch of basically raw fish which the ladies are getting very tired of and then visited two lovely gardens (Isuien and Yoshikien). Unfortunately Herb lost track of us and didn't find the gardens so went back to the hotel and waited for us. It was bad luck because the previous night he had accidentally deleted all his photos and was looking forward to taking more. We had a spot of bother with our room to-night with the power going off intermittently. The hotel wanted us to change rooms but we didn't feel like packing up at that stage so decided to stick with it.

26 October 2017

To-day was an excellent day thanks to Trish and Pat. We spent the day on Shikoku Island travelling around on the Bonnet Bus. It took us to a number f viewing spots and then to the vine bridge which was quite a challenging experience. I was more worried about my l-pad than anything else as I was trying to carry it and still hang on to the framework of the bridge. We had a most interesting lunch with two soups, a variety of raw fish and a number of other concoctions. I enjoyed it!

25 October 2017

A fairly big day - train to Okayama this morning and then a long walk to and around the Korakuen Gardens. Then a pleasant meal later at a good Japanese Restaurant.

24 October 2017

Further to last's description of the wine episode, it turns out that this is a reasonably common Japanese custom, particularly in Sushi restaurants.Apparently it started out as a sign of appreciation from the owner to the clients for their custom. The little box that the glass was placed in was called a masu and was generally used more for sake. Today we spent a fair amount of time getting to Nagasaki mainly to see the Glover Gardens. The gardens themselves were nothing to write home about but the views from the top of the hill were excellent. One interesting point about the accommodation that we noticed on the train ride was that houses were much more up-market and generally free standing and surrounded by some land.

23 October 2017

We had a wonderful day on the island of Miyajima where we viewed the Torii Gate, ventured by cable car to view Mt. Misen and take in the magnificent view from the observation point, and in between times enjoy great coffee and lovely Japanese delicacies. We had a late dinner at a local Sushi Restaurant which was excellent. They did something there I had never seen before. I asked for a glass of red wine and they brought half a carafe of wine and proceeded to pour it into a glass which was sitting inside a small box. The girl filled the glass to the top and then kept pouring, half filling the box in the process.It was then left to me to work out how I was going to drink it all!

22 October 2017

This morning at the Peace Memorial Museum the images we saw were very moving and illustrated graphically the futility, suffering and devastation of war. The gardens in the Art Gallery that we visited this afternoon were the exact opposite of what we had seen this morning.

21 October 2017

I didn't have too many photo opportunities to-day (it was pouring rain!) particularly as I didn't have my camera with me!! The view from the ninth floor was much better than previously and later on I was able to get a shot of the group imbibing after a takeaway meal!

18 October 2017

To-day was a day filled with photo opportunities. This morning we visited Arashiyama and saw the photogenic Bamboo groves. After lunch we caught a train to the Torii Gates -there were many hundreds of people there but we still managed to get the odd photo. We tried yet another Japanese restaurant for dinner - most of the group enjoyed what they had. I ordered tongue which was unbelievably tough . I had to go to a take away place and 'top up'!

17 October 2017

We're currently at Kyoto - had a heck of a time finding our hotel. We had the address and asked many people each of whom gave us a different answer. Finally after much walking with all our luggage we found the Sotetsu Fresa Inn only to find it was the wrong Fresa Inn - apparently there is more than one owned by the same consortium. We ended up at the right hotel only by ordering a couple of taxis! After all that we went to Starbucks for a well earned cup of coffee and a bacon and egg kiche - beautiful!! At the moment I'm about to have a beer before venturing out for dinner. No photos to-day yet - we were too busy either on the trains or finding our way to the b------y hotel! Our room is on the sixth floor - and the view is to die for!!!!!

16 October 2017

It rained consistently all day to-day but we still managed to achieve our objectives although it was a little difficult trying to handle a camera and an umbrella. We spent the morning at the Hida Folk Village where the autumn tonings were just starting to make an impression. After lunch we walked on through the rain until we reached the Floats Exhibition - this was well worth the effort.Dinner to/night took us some time to organise a place to eat but June won out in the end and we had an excellent meal. There must have been nine or ten people eating and there was just one guy on his own doing the lot - cooking, serving, drinks, taking orders -the lot!!

15 October 2017

Marg and June went off this morning to visit June's daughter-in-law's family while Herb, Wendy and I travelled on three trains to get to Kanazawa where we visited the Kenroku-en Gardens. On the way home we had to run the last fifty metres to make the train! Later to-night Wendy and I had a superb 'cook yourself' dinner.

14 October 2017

Today went quite well apart from a couple of minor mishaps- at one stage we found we were on the wrong train and had to get off at the next station. Then later we found we were in the wrong seats because we were in the wrong carriage! We were travelling from Tokyo to Takayama.

13 October 2017

We spent the morning at the Tokyo fish market which was a hive of industry. We had a few teething problems yesterday coming to grips with the transport system but today we had a reasonably good run.
We are already up to day four of our stay in Tokyo and are hoping today to visit the fish market. Yesterday we travelled by a JR fast train to Matsumoto and finished up the day by continuing to celebrate Richmond's win by drinking Tiger beer in a Tiger pub!