May 4, 2017

With the wisdom of hindsight, here are my thoughts on planning a trip to Japan. I've given links just for your information - they aren't necessarily recommendations - I have no links to any of these companies.

pavilion detail Shinjuku Gyoen garden 

WHERE:

Putting together an itinerary is  such a personal choice. What you and I see together isn't as important to me as how we see it. A passive experience of an iconic sight can be l...

April 27, 2017

When we've wanted to say goodbye to shop employees, doormen, wait staff or taxi drivers we've been saying matane rather than sayonara. I found the word on a Japanese app - it sounded the equivalent of au revoir or farewell. We haven't wanted to use the finality of sayonara, which almost seems to be making a judgment: I will NOT be coming back here and I will NOT be seeing you again.

No wonder people have been laughing, because...

April 26, 2017

Each morning for breakfast we've had a table at the window looking at the fabulous view over Tokyo. Today we had this dinky little alcove instead.

We thought we'd be at Shinjuku Gyoen Park at opening time this morning before the crowds descended. It's one of Tokyo's best, and it's quite near the Park Hyatt. 

photo courtesy Wikmedia commons

This good-looking chap (I can say that with the safety of a few centuries between us) is sh...

April 24, 2017

This message by a vendor on the website of the Nogi Antique market convinced me we must go there. How could you not visit someone who says I love you? Plus it was the only one on this weekend. We were in front of Nogi Shrine when it opened, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. 

We got into conversation with this charming man on the subway. He said he is Japanese, but lives in Italy. I asked him what he does for a l...

April 23, 2017

There's a word in Japanese I just love. It's hai, pronounced hi, a clipped expulsion of air from the throat, short and swift. It's a very definite breathy plosive sound with no hesitation. It has a variety of meanings: yes, ok, I acknowledge that, I agree, that's right, there you go. If it's said twice, hai-hai, it means please continue, I'm listening. Ange and I are hai-hai-ing at every opportunity. It's a good word to use wh...

April 20, 2017

You know what we could say about Tokyo's weather so far? Beautiful one day, perfect the next! Yesterday was hot with a blue blue sky, today was just right. The only hiccup of the trip so far was that cold wet day in Takayama. We've been so lucky.

I could have packed much lighter clothes than I did - there are things I haven't worn at all because they're a little too warm. As for the 7kg packing experiment - it was really o...

April 19, 2017

Gosh it seems so long since I've written to you yet it's only forty-eight hours. We've left Shiragawa, visited Kanazawa, come back by train to Tokyo, John has flown home, Ange has arrived, we're in a new hotel, and it's been another brilliant day.  OK, that's it.  Now I'll go to bed.  -:)  Only joking!  

I'm sitting at the 2-way desk in our hotel room at the Park Hyatt with my back to the view. If I fac...

April 17, 2017

                  a simple bamboo vase on a wall at Beniya Mukayu holds a single red camellia

Had things gone as planned today, we would have been visiting the Jisshoin Temple in Kaga for a meditation lesson with a real monk, having a vegetarian lunch with him to bear witness to the simple ways, then gliding down the Daishoji River in a gondola under a froth tunnel of cherry blossom,...

April 16, 2017

An extraordinary art installation, Tsukubai 2006 by Kenya Hara donated to the hotel by the maker. This is between the hotel library and the dining room. I think it was originally in the National Art Museum: water travels along a raised gutter on the right to fall into the far white disk, tiny droplets running around in circles until they disappear into the square hole in the middle, from there into the pool. It has many meanin...

April 15, 2017

We negotiated our way from hotel to the metro to JR Shinkansen train line this morning without getting lost and in time for me to wander the shops in the depths of the Kyoto Train Station. It's always a relief though, isn't it, when you are safely on the right train?

This was part of a street window display by a company called Nichikon which Google tells me makes aluminium electrolytic capacitors. Not sure what they are or what...

April 14, 2017

 Hello buddies, happy Easter!

Let me tell you a little folk story I learned on the walk home today. Once upon a time, in 769, brave Lord Wake no Kiyomaro stopped an evil priest Yuge no Dokyo from usurping the imperial throne. The Dokyo was so angry that he banished the lord to a far prefecture. On the way, the lord was attacked by Dokyo's men, wounding him in the leg. It seemed that he would not survive the journey.  But three...

April 13, 2017

Today was truly the epitome of chi-go ichi-e (once in a lifetime). I can't wait to tell you all about it!  Get a cup of coffee. It's a long one!

We set off in a taxi from the hotel at 9am with our guide Kana for Fushimi Inari Taisha. She was waiting in the lobby for us, petite and pretty with an animated face.  And, we were to find out, a head full of knowledge which she was incredibly generous in sharing.

There are over 30...

April 12, 2017

This is the system for seating guests at breakfast at the hotel in Takayama.  I think we were blue on the far side, with a window overlooking the town. I wonder if the colours signify anything!

Headed straight for the hoba miso this morning.

Well, after some fruit with clear pear jelly cubes and a quite unsweet crème caramel (without the caramel sauce). All followed by two croissants. I'm multi-cultural. Or confused....

April 11, 2017

Remember the forecast for today? Rain which occasionally stops? It didn't. Stop. At all. The temperature (6-11C) was fairly chilly but it certainly wasn't unpleasant.  

I forgot to mention in last night's post that we were very fortunate on the train from Nagoya to Takayama to have seats in the front carriage with full visibility of the track.  It was fun to watch the action.

video of driver in action: CLICK ON THE PH...

April 10, 2017

Sunday (was that only yesterday??) could not have been a more perfect day for a flight!

We had a bird's eye view of the CBD of Brisbane.

It was such a quick trip - on the plane at 11am and off again at 7pm at Narita airport Tokyo, just one hour behind us. Qantas have an excellent entertainment system with touch screens that are really intuitive - scrolling pages by swiping and good movies.  I watched Gone Girl (a bit weird) and...

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"I never travel without my diary.  

One should always have something

sensational to read on the train."  

                                - OSCAR WILDE

shelley dark 

email: shelleydarkwriter@gmail.com

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