Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Land of the Rising Sun

Spent over two weeks in Japan around the middle, and south west side of the country on a tour organised (not funded :P) by GAP adventures. What a fantastic time we had. We can't wait to go back again, probably to the north also next time and see Hokkaido.

It was really a photographer's dream because everything are photogenic. Apology to those annoyed by my shutter. The group was fantastic, fourteen of us plus our tour guide Alain. Five Australians including my wife and I (yes, we are Chinese looking Aussies).. Five Canadians (including our French Canadian tour guide), one English, one Welsh, one Swiss, one from Slovakia and one from Lithuania. All are wonderful people from all walks of life. The most popular profession was teaching. I have never had such a long excursion with teachers in my life! LOL.

We saw so much together and by ourselves when my wife and I were roaming around by ourselves in Tokyo. So much culture, so many temples, so many shrines, so many Torii Gates. Sakura (otherwise known as Cherry Blossom), traditional Japanese houses, bullet trains or otherwise known as the Shinkansen. People walking around in the city in traditional kimonos and the ultra modern everywhere in Harajuku that resembles manga characters such as in the popular game Final Fantasy, the tsunami of people in train stations and on the street during peak hours... made us duck out into a restaurant for at least a good half an hour in a side street... :P We also went to a baseball match, spring festival, saw a bit of traditional wedding, Geishas dance and tried out Onsen bath. What about Mount Fuji? We saw it at sunset as well as sun rise! Thank you Chris for waking us up. On the flip side, we visited the Cultural, Train and A-bomb museums, the last of which was a very emotional experience.

Food?! We had hips of Mochi, Sakura Mochi, Banana Mochi, Strawberry Mochi, Chocolate Mochi, Red Bean Mochi and of course Green Tea Mochi! Sushi, Tempura, Sashimi, Okonomiyaki, Udon, Ramen, Soba, cakes and breads and many others too exotic for me to remember or name. What about green tea? We had so much green tea, green tea cake, green tea chocolate, green tea buns, green tea ice-cream... even the body wash and shampoo were green tea scented! We had the best almond tofu we have ever had in a small local restaurant. Oyshii des!!

Oh, what about that Canadian water?! Thank you Barb, James and Marg! I slept so well that night. :)

I abstained from taking any pictures on the trip in order to maximise the experience, hence sorry, no photo here. Haha, what rubbish, I took quite a few photos and will post some of them shortly. Stay tuned.

To all my mates on the tour, Japan and the lovely butler at the Ryokan (Japanese style hotel) at Mount Fuji (Lake Yamanaka):
Arigato gozaimasu! ありがとうございます。

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