SYNOPSIS:  Four more UNESCO sites to cover in Naha on an all rainy day.  About the “real thing” and the Disney version of it.   Does it matter?

It was in the forecast and it came through as promised:  a day full of rain.  A few minutes here and there it let up, but mainly, the day was gray, hot and wet.  I left my “mini” at home and borrowed one of the hostel’s big transparent umbrellas.  At least I could see through it.  It was hard all day to maneuver the umbrella with my forearms and to operate the camera with both hands.  But who is complaining?  I am about to finish my Okinawa mission against all the odds.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


SYNOPSIS:  About a 14 hour day sight-seeing on Okinawa.  A shinto shrine, two castles, a crafts village and a fast-food Sushi place.  It could not have happened without Mike.


It was a 14 hour Marathon.  I can’t imagine anyone pushing through the day like this with no food breaks but another “culture freak”.  I was completely pooped at the end of it and I was not even the one driving or the one who had to pay attention!… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


SYNOPSIS:   About two castles and one historic farm house.   About the challenges that are caused by urban sprawl.  And about meeting the one in ten thousand…

In my naiveté I had first envisioned a tourist industry built around visiting the nine spread-out castles, shrines and tombs that make up the UNESCO monuments dedicated to preserving Ryukyo Culture that were listed as world heritage in 2000.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


SYNOPSIS:  Transit from Tokyo to Okinawa.  This is a “pause-picture” blog.  No need to read it.  Enjoy some aerial images from the Tokyo Tower.  

Contrary to Mali, transit in a country like Japan is uneventful and honestly, quite boring.  So the day went by predictably:  Walk to the subway, wait, take a train to the airport, wait, fly to Okinawa, find the tourist information, load up on local pamphlets, take a subway close to my destination, walk to the hotel.  And before you know it, the whole day has gone by.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


SYNOPSIS:  About a day filled with event and sites neither of which fit the expectations I had, yet…

What to do in Tokyo if you have only one more day?!  Yesterday was easy.  I did my ‘duty’ as an art-historian and visited the National Museum.  But today?  Where to start?  Tokyo is, by a huge margin, the largest city in the world and the guide book devotes a whopping 150 pages to it.  Tokyo is cram-packed with sites, monuments, museums, entertainment centres, neighbourhoods, activities, parks, shrines, zoos, shopping districts, etc.  I was overwhelmed.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY



SYNOPSIS:  What happens when you don’t know what you are doing.  Exploring one of the cultural hot spots in Tokyo.  From Museums to Temples and Shrines.  A few contemplations on oddities, people’s behaviour, and unexpected sites.VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


SYNOPSIS: About a few obstacles before departure and a smooth arrival at a budget hotel in Tokyo.

If one more thing had gone wrong I would have convinced myself that this trip is cursed. Two days before my departure my computer rendered itself unusable.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


New computer – New challenges

I apologize if one or more blog notices came to you…  I am working out the glitches with a new computer.  Bear with me.  Soon, we are rolling!  ET… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY

UNESCO Sites Japan

UNESCO Sites Japan


As much as I love to “wing it” — not to plan ahead — for Japan I caved.  By all accounts the Japanese are avid travelers filling up local hotels fast and historic sites to capacity.  Gone are the days of solitary travel this year.  I am bracing myself for throngs of tourists.  And I am bracing myself for having to follow a schedule.  Between juggling the climbing season of Mount Fuji, a major festival in Kyoto, the need for cheap lodging, and the expiration dates of my railroad passes,  I put together an itinerary which may look haphazard to the casual onlooker.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY

Kane Notebook UM 1990

Kane Japan Course Notebook UM 1990

WHERE TO GO? Japan!  Sometimes things come about by a fluke.  This year was going to be Indonesia — but then, there were passport issues and from one day to the next I changed gear.  Why not Japan?  I had put Japan on my travel list years ago, and after ten years perhaps I just needed a break from traveling in the Middle East and from the hardship and heat that I experienced in Mali last year. A country where trains run on time even more reliably than in Germany.  A country with exotic foods and a colorful language.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY