In Tokyo, we squished into a photobooth. You know we had to pick the "Kitty" theme. This was the best part of our night, the night we stayed in a "Capsule" or "Coffin" Hotel.
We used various forms of transport. Listed in order from least favourite to most favourite, left to right. The bullet train is way ahead of the airplane, FYI.
We saw Tokyo.
1) Mochi Hammering in Koenji. 2) Shibuya. 3) The view from our hotel, Golden Gai in Shinjuku
Studio Ghibli museum and Disney Land injected some animation magic. We dined on Strawberry Shortcake with the Totoros and in the Blue Bayou (of course) with Mickey. The Japanese did Disney SO well. They love the old Mickey Mouse there, so everything felt authentic and 'proper' Disney, none of this new fangled stuff. Studio Ghibli was a highlight. No photos inside, so you'll have to check it out for yourself. My only disappointment was being too old to ride the cat bus.
The Cherry Blossoms were magical as expected. The middle picture is in Kyoto and the other two are from an icy morning shuffle through Ueno Park in Tokyo.
We visited the countryside. I had to get used to checking my shoes at the door and changing slippers for the bathroom. I never did master the art of walking in socks and plastic slippers. Impossible. The magnificent Koyasan cemetery is in the top row.
Bottom row: 1) Yakushima, the view from our room. 2) Hiking in Takayama 3) Sunset on Miyajima
In Takayama, we spotted a duck on a river adventure. He lived in Takayama but had broken free from his flock in search of wilder climes. He was cruising down the river and we chased him to watch what would happen when he hit the rapids. He flew over the froth and settled back into the downstream current. Duckleberry Finn is the king of lazy adventuring. Oh, we also met a cat that looks like Adolf Hitler. He ran away when we tried to photo him. C drew this picture to immortalise the moment.
We saw Kyoto, and had the BEST day riding bicycles along the river, on a rare sunny day, under raining blossoms falling gently from the cherry trees. We rode home in the evening, the traditional lanterns reflected in the dark water, swallows swooping around us, the wind in our hair.We stayed in a hostel, Japanese style with the beautiful image on our door. And the picture on the right, well, the view made the unglamorous job of doing laundry quite magical.
We had cultural experiences. We learned in Shibu-Onsen that living people tie their Yukata left side on top, dead people, right side on top. I realised that in my Coffin Hotel (centre) that I'd been dressed as a dead person. I suppose it was fitting.
We ate strange things. Vended HOT drinks, such as my fine can of "Miruku Kokoa" (That's what the Japanese letters say - a Japanese pronunciation of "Milk Cocoa"). Calorie Mate. I don't know. It's like a biscuity Space Food Stick. And Keiki (cake), Lots of Keiki, preferably filled with sweet red beans.
We saw moss. I could probably fill an entire book with my photos of moss. Some of the best was in Yakushima and Koyasan. This magical light was the result of a snap in the cemetery in Koysan.
Finally, we made new friends! Gerard from Liverpool, who we met in Kyoto in a restaurant. Takuto, who was petting a cat in Kyoto. Of course, I was drawn to the cat, who proceeded to climb under my coat and snuggle down into my lap in the middle of the Geisha district of Kyoto. Whilst nursing the cat, we got chatting, and Takuto revealed himself to be a fellow Motion Graphics Designer, his friend a Web Designer. We caught up back in Tokyo and he showed us a good time (and helped us order food from a Japanese menu!) Last but certainly not least, the Snow Monkeys (Japanese Macaques) of Shibu Onsen. The sign at the entrance to the Monkey Park said "You may recognise the monkeys as your ancestors, but they do NOT recognise you as their descendants" The monkeys were the best!