SYNOPSIS:  About some curiosities and the smells and the sounds of Japan which I will remember from this trip.  Good bye, Japan.



It’s just packing, wrapping up some loose ends, and making a final trip to the post office.  So, enjoy the signs I have collected and photographed over the last two months.  Some I took for their content, some for oddities, some for cute spelling mistakes.  I am sure you will figure it out, and hopefully, get a few smiles out of it.


SYNOPSIS:  About the final shopping trip and a glimpse of the nightlife of Tokyo.


There is one rule I would tell anyone who might be listening: when you travel and you see something you like, buy it!  Don’t assume that you can find it later, somewhere else.

It was nearly 70 days ago on my way to Tokyo’s “Eiffel Tower” that I had stopped into a small antique store along the way.  There were beautiful things at what I thought were reasonable prices.  I stood in front of a number of small, wooden and gilded Buddha figures no larger than 10-25 centimeters, that were so delicately carved, that I just marveled at them.  They were of high quality and obviously old.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


SYNOPSIS:  About one of the oldest Buddhist shrines and one of the newest mosques in Tokyo.  The end of Ramadan.


Already by 9 AM the thermometer had climbed to over 90° Fahrenheit.  Another one of those hot and humid days lay ahead.  I was absolutely not motivated to do anything, and would have been hiding behind my computer all day if not in the early afternoon a much needed thunderstorm cleared the air at least a little bit and at least for a little while.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


SYNOPSIS:  About the neighborhood I live in.  About a Chinese restaurant that won’t serve two foreign ladies, a J.S. Bach cafe, fire works, and a few shady characters.  


Tokyo is my final stop.  There are a few more days here and a few more things to do, many of them technicalities — laundry, making sure blog and images are all up to date, copied, archived, labeled, organized; buy all the souvenirs I have not bought so far, meet the lady I met in Nikko, try to catch a Noh play, perhaps, see a few more sights, but then, perhaps not; ship a package or two, get money for China, and so on.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


SYNOPSIS:   About a faux pas in transit.  About the JR rail pass.  About really fast trains.  About looking up (roofs) and looking down (bows).  All the images are details of roofs in Japan.  Just enjoy.

It was actually during the last trip from Osaka to Tokyo that I almost got myself into real trouble getting on one of those very, very fast trains that my rail pass does not cover…  But I ran out of time to write about it then.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


SYNOPSIS:  About “the big one”.  About copying a sutra, swimming in the ocean, splurging on a Kassler in a German restaurant, and meeting Karla.


What makes this day different from all the other days?… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


SYNOPSIS:  About buddhas, bakeries and beaches.  About teenagers, trash and tramps.  About a resort town with a history.


Kamakura is not (yet) on the UNESCO list of sites.  It’s desperately trying though, as one big billboard in town indicated.  At least for the “big boy”, the largest Bronze Buddha in the world, it might make it someday and if not, it has itself assured a certain spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for times immortal.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


SYNOPSIS:  About a curious, wide-spread Japanese phenomenon.


Thanks to Carl who mentioned early on that I should pay attention to the manholes in Japan, I did.  I can’t add anything about the history or origins of the unique and artistic manholes that is not mentioned in the article I am posting below.  Nobody with half an eye could miss the colorful variations of the manholes in Japan after walking around for a bit.  But I know it would have taken me much longer to catch up on this unique phenomenon if Carl had not alerted me to this.  Thanks!  So, I went through Japan always mindful of manholes and I got a few good ones.  Of course, the examples in the article are a lot better than mine.… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY


SYNOPSIS:  About my luck in meeting Rica.  Osaka lunch, Osaka shopping, Osaka viewing.  Two eras, two towers.


Two days ago I had stood rather forlorn at the exit of a subway station at the outskirts of Osaka, an unlikely place to be frequented by foreign visitors.  I had an inadequate map and nothing much else to go by to locate my new hotel.  “May I help you?VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY