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Published: October 24th 2011
Walt and I started our trip by flying to St. Petersburg using frequent flier miles. We decided early on that we would not use the return trip tickets. Instead, we hoped that somewhere in Asia, we would be able to get into the Military Space Available program. When we got ready to move on from our visit to Singapore, we went to the nearby Singapore Military Air Force base and were lucky to get the last two seats on a contract flight. A contract flight is like a regular airlines flight with stewardesses, catered meals, etc. The only difference on this flight was that it only had 32 seats. The rest of the plane was blocked off and used for carrying military equipment. We flew into Yakota AFB near Tokyo.
Tokyo, Japan's capital, is the world's most populous city. It is nice to be staying in the suburbs where things move a little slower. We noticed right off that the people of Japan take a lot of pride in their country. They simply do not litter. You don't see people walking down the street eating and drinking. If a person finishes with a newspaper, cigarette, etc., they put it
We have been surprised at how warm it is in Tokyo. The days have often been overcast and humid.
in the correct bin. The Japanese are very polite, helpful, friendly, and kind.
We tried the first day to explore Tokyo on our own but were unsuccessful. The city is huge and the tourist attractions are spread out across the city. We decided that it would be best for me to just take a tour. I chose one leaving from the base. The tour started in a section called Asakusa at the Sensoji Temple. This temple was built in 628 in honor of the Buddhist goddess, Mercy Kannon. It was destroyed by bombings in WW II and rebuilt in 1950. It is one of Japan's prime Buddhist sites and is visited by many Japanese tourists. I saw large numbers of families taking photos of young daughters/granddaughters in pretty kimonos. As I entered the Temple grounds, I saw people circled around a large fountain with water spurting out of several small dragons' mouths. The people were scooping up large dippers of water and pouring this water over their hands and mouth for cleansing purposes. Then, they moved to the nearby incense burner where they waved smoke over their skin and clothing in hopes that it would bring them good health and
After the temple, I rode on a riverboat to Hamarikyu Gardens, one of Tokoyo's nicest gardens and on the location of a former Shogun Palace. A group of young musicians were playing native instruments on a small stage. Many women were dressed in native kimonos and participating in several tea ceremonies. There were many water features, sculptured trees, trails---all offering a peaceful site.
We went from the gardens over the Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba Island, a manmade island that contains Tokyo's major shopping and entertainment complexes. The Big Sight, international exhibition center is here, Tokyo's Leisureland, Palette Town with shopping malls, Toyota Mega Web-- lots of fun things for families to do together.
I have 50 pictures on this blog, scroll down below the writing and you should see some of them. More will be on the next page.
Hope all is well with you and your families!
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