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Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Himeji July 19th 2019

. Last night we joined Mitchie and Shingo for dinner and a concert. The performers were two highly skilled and fantastic performers who played shamisen. Yes they wore the kimono in their poster for the first half of their two hour concert I enjoyed it so much I thought I’d give you access to them if you’re interested.The blog can’t host the video, but these links should help from u tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXE-qTbYvFI&feature https://youtu.be/RcqO0zkyQRo... read more

Asia » Japan » Hyogo » Himeji July 9th 2019

To reacclimatise to Himeji, Jacinta organised for me to attend a cultural performance at the Sosha Shrine which is in the heart of Himeji, just below the castle. We were accompanied by Kasumi who is a member of the shrine. Two amazing facts about the visit: It was the first I'd heard of Gagaku, and the whole event was catered to English speaking tourists - a first in Himeji for me. Unfortunately we were the only two obvious ones at the event and consequently have been immortalised on many digital recordings of the event. Gagaku is music and dance from about 1500 years ago formerly performed in the Imperial court. I think this would have been in Kyoto. However, the company bringing back this cultural art form are from Kobe city, about 30 minutes away by ... read more
our performance MC and English interpreter
one of the drummers
Ryuteri player

Asia » Japan » Okinawa » Ishigaki Island July 7th 2019

Japan was awesome! img=https://lonelyplanetimages.imgix.net/a/g/hi/t/39c3b04e23c22ed73565540086e25818-okinawa-the-southwest-islands.jpg?sharp=10&vib=20&w=1200... read more

Asia » Japan » Tokyo » Chiyoda June 28th 2019

Onsen Explorer. Day 13. Thursday. After sleeping like a log we needed a more European breakfast so had a egg and bacon tea cake at Cafe Delice before a trip on the Ginza underground line to Asakusa. Whilst this is a big tourist destination it is well worth the visit, full of tourist stalls down both sides of the street with the exquisite Senso-Ji shrine at the end with people milling around everywhere. There are several shops selling and renting out kimonos so there are girls and ladies parading the streets wearing them - very nice. The restaurants are good too if you get away from the main area selling traditional Japanese fare and Italian etc. From there a walk to Ueno Park is possible where you will find a zoo and several shrines of Shinto ... read more
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Asia » Japan June 27th 2019

Onsen Explorer. Day 12. Otaru. Hokkaido. Great breakfast of all variety of food of Japanese and Western tastes. Full marks. The temperature was 22 degrees at 10am as we went out to exploreWww the Canal and dockside. Plenty to see with small stalls selling artistic products. Sakaimachi Dori street was a tourists Mecca selling allsorts of tat and classy products as well. We were asked to take part in a tourist survey and to take part in a tea ceremony by some school children. This was quite interesting with them making the green tea and frothing it up with what looked like a shaving brush served with a small sweet cake. All the while three girls were playing what I think was a tune on long stringed instruments. Since the temperature was getting to 26 degrees ... read more
Rickshaw
Wolf shop .
Canal

Asia » Japan June 25th 2019

Onsen Explorer. Day 10. Goshiki Onsen. The forecast was good today and we awoke to a bright sunny sky. Our accommodation was a little third rate with scruffy toilets and rooms. The toilet window had not been cleaned since the Shogun visited in 1678. Smoking was allowed and the rooms stank. Whilst the rest of the group ate a superior western breakfast of bacon and egg with fresh croissants Paul and I had guess what? Fish, followed by fish, followed by fish soup, followed by seaweed on rice, not forgetting the squid - delicious. After breakfast I went into the small harbour and watched little bent ladies and men gutting fish. A prize morning photograph was a kite sat on a pole which stayed long enough to get a good shot with the light in the ... read more
Kite
Fish gutting.

Asia » Japan » Hokkaido June 25th 2019

Onsen Explorer. Day 11. Otaru. A nice warm sunny day for our last cycling day. 500m up the hill and a great descent to our first stop 16km away. We stopped on the hill to get a good view of the mini Mount Fuji called Mt Yotei, the top of which at 1900m was unfortunately covered in cloud. As we left town at the tea break we had a tail wind into the countryside which brought on a dose of perspiration running down my sun specs. The area looked quite prosperous again and it was a pleasure to ride through it to our lunch stop which was at the other side of a big hill, which has a 2km tunnel,very noisy but we cycled along the 1 1/2 metre pavement without mishaps. Down we went to ... read more
The source of the onsen spring.
Mount Yoshei
Hot spring

Asia » Japan » Tokyo June 25th 2019

So our first morning in Tokyo started with an earthquake tremor. Yes, you read that right. An Earthquake. We were downstairs in the hotel lobby exchanging pleasantries with Akito our guide for our first day in Tokyo, when all of a sudden the whole room/building starts shuddering. It's a strange moment, because your brain wants to classify it as something familiar, but it just isn't. After a quick glance at each other, Philippe and I turned to the guide, to gauge her level of panic. Our assessment: zero. And no one else in the room was even batting an eyelid. 'Oh, it's an earthquake. It happens in Tokyo. Often we don't even realise it is happening, but the buildings are built to handle it' . 'So, eh, is it going to happen again?' (i.e. do we ... read more
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Asia » Japan » Hokkaido June 23rd 2019

Onsen Explorer Day 8 Kenichi Onsen. Yakumo. Hokkaido. Several travellers this morning were not yet ready for another Japanese breakfast and the convenience store across the road had an increase in business and a potential shortage of sandwiches for the locals at lunchtime. Northwards we cycled along the coast all day starting with an overcast sky which turned to rain at tea break. We huddled under a tarpaulin and donned our wet gear. Someone who is a proper tourist even donned a cape which saved him from a drowning by lunchtime. Lunch was at Asashi where there is a replica Dutch 17th century trading ship built in 1988 and is now s museum. The early birds ate pork curry and rice until the rice ran out and the later ones had fish noodles or sandwiches and ... read more
Ayu giving Japanese lessons.
Out for the count
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Asia » Japan » Hokkaido June 23rd 2019

Onsen Explorer. Day 9 Sunday 23 June. Shimamaki. A nearly western breakfast which was very well received. Scrambled egg sausage, salad, yogurt, rice, fish soup, croissants and baguettes. The Cockney Rebel couldn’t stop smiling. A good cycling start to the day which started dry with a little occasional blue sky. It was Deborah’s birthday today so we had a celebration with a Japanese birthday card before we set off. Alis had a puncture along the coast road, I think it was the first on this tour. The concrete block sea defenses indicate that this is a really rough seaboard. We could not help but notice that many of the beaches were covered in debris; timber, large ropes, fishing nets buckets and a large variety of plastic were all to be seen, most of which seemed to ... read more
Shinto Shrine.
Cormorants.
Squid boat




Tot: 2.864s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 12; qc: 64; dbt: 0.0623s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.4mb