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Nick's Japan Journal

by Nick

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Welcome to the blog of my trip to Japan back in August.

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Yesterday. . . . still

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This is Pontocho. It is a street that is hundreds of years old, and if you have read "Memoirs of a Geisha" it is also the location of a Teahouse where Hatsumomo meets her final humiliation. I can't remember if that features in the film or not though.
15th Aug 2006, 10:55   | tags:,comments (5)


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I have to come clean. I cheated with these photos folks!

In my defence though, I had no choice really: cameras were prohibited inside the temple, so the next best thing was taking a couple of shots from the brochure.

Well, the first one is a genuine picture anyhow as you were alowed to take pics around the temple complex.

The temple is caled Senjusengen-do, and was really something else.
The stutues depict the god Kannon, there are 1001 in all, including one massive one in the middle of the others.

There are also various statues of various gaurdian gods at the front which are there to protect Kannon.
15th Aug 2006, 10:53   | tags:,comments (5)


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Well, I managed to get those pictures from yesterday developed as promised and here are the first.

The first photo is taken from the near the top of the inside of Kyoto Station. This place is absolutely MASSIVE! The picture really doesn't give you a good idea of the scale of the place, but is really amazing: it's a city all in itself, with three shopping malls and loads of restaurants and cafes and bars.

Anyhow, the reason I came back to the station was because I read you got great views of Kyoto from the roof and "Skyway" of the building and it wouldn't cost a penny, unlike the view from Kyoto Tower, which they charge a small fortune for. So the second picture is the view of the tower from the "Skyway" of the Station :-)
15th Aug 2006, 10:50   | tags:,,comments (0)

Yes, I am still alive and well, and am in Kyoto!

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Well, apologies for the delay on my first post from Japan, but I have a good excuse!

I have had a few difficulties with my luggage since arriving. Thanks to the inevitable delays at Gatwick on Saturday, the flight to Dubai was late. When we landed in Dubai, I only had just over an hour to get my connecting flight, but I made it with a few minutes to spare and then swiftly boarded the plane, thank-you very much.

My suitcase, unfortunately wasn't so lucky, as seemingly the baggage handlers didn't have enough time to get it from one
plane to the next!

No matter, I decided to head for Kyoto anyhow, having been assured that the luggage would most likely turn up the following day.

Only thing is: smelly Nick! I had no cleaan clothes or even deoderant, which wasn't nice, but I have managed to have two showers already today, but also had to find some new (cheap) clothes. Which I managed this afternoon.

Anyhow, you'll be pleased to know that I have made a six hour round trip back to Nagoya Airport this evening to fetch said suitcase as evidenced in the picture accompanying this post. I'm sorry it's not a nicer picture, but it's the best I could do for the moment.

Obviously, everything (including mobile, camera and laptop) was in the case, so I was unable to get any digital images to post from my first full day in Japan, but I did manage to snap a few decent pics with a disposable camera, which I will attempt to get developed tomorrow and then post a few here.

Well, at least I can scrub up properly now and shave. I think I must have looked quite scary today to the Japanese: a wild crumpled unshaven westerner!

Well, that's all for now folks, I'm just about done in, so for now, as they say in these parts, "Konbanwa"

p.s. Thanks for the shout June and Cynthia, miss you too :-)
14th Aug 2006, 16:37   comments (2)

All ready to go, but . . .

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Well, I'm more or less ready to go tomorrow.

Everything is packed. I've ordered my currency. Got the hotels booked. Got lots of ideas worked out for the trip. Finished work yesterday, so technically I'm on holiday already.

Unfortunately, a bunch of terrorists thought they had a good idea too and have wrecked the start of lots of people's trips. Luckily, that's all they achieved.So, I am hoping things won't be too mad at the airport tomorrow.

I shant be able to take any pics until I get to Japan though because, of course, my phone and camera will have to be in my luggage now.
11th Aug 2006, 14:48   | tags:,,comments (3)

Trains, planes and . . .

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The flight tickets and Japan Rail Pass are here! Plus, I have booked three nights in Kyoto and six in Tokyo. I've only to book an hotel for a couple of nights in Hiroshima and them everything is organised! :-)
13th Jul 2006, 22:31   comments (0)

More local evidence of the Japanese connection

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Here are a few more pics that are a nod to Will Adams and his story.

The "Honourable Pilot" pub/restaurant is in fact named after Adams: the
Japanese nicknamed him "Anjin-san" which translated into English means just that.

Also pictured, is the new NHS treatment centre, where minor surgical
procedures are performed; clearly named after Adams.

The other two pictures are just road signs not far from the monument.
Ito is the place in Japan where Adams oversaw the building of the first
western style Japanese sailing ships, and is where a festival in his
name is held every year.

Will Adams Monument in Gillingham, Kent

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Well here are some pictures of my local Japanese connection, mentioned below.

Will Adams, was born in my home town of Gillingham in 1564 and travelled to Japan as pilot of a ship belonging to the Dutch East India Company.

He was kept in Japan by the Shogun who valued his advice about western ships, guns, science and religion, and eventually he was given the honorary title of "Samurai". He was the first and last outsider to ever hold the title.

The inscriptions on the monument pictured here, tell some of the story, but a more comprehensive history can be found here:
Also, maybe of interest, is that the James Clavell book, "Shogun" was based on Will Adams' true story.
21st Jun 2006, 22:28   | tags:,,,comments (6)