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Sgt Beavis 04-14-2007 11:17 PM

Pic of my trip to Japan.
I finally got around to resizing some of the pictures I took while vacationing in Japan. I hope ya'll enjoy them. If you get an opportunity to go to Japan, DO IT. You won't regret it. I'm lucky that I'm married to a sweet Japanese girl (now American) who has some pretty cool parents.

Here is the picture of Mount Fuji I showed earlier in the week. This picture was taken from the back window of my In-law's home. I got to enjoy this view while enjoying my morning coffee everyday. My Mother In Law wouldn't let me do anything for myself. She was shocked that I actually knew how to turn the coffee pot off. She does all of the house work and she has a part time job at the post office. My Father In Law doesn't have to do much around the house. Its not that he's lazy, its just a typical old school Japanese household.

This is what passes for a birthday cake, I think. Our 2nd day there, we had a little birthday party for my 12 year old nephew. He is the only child for my Brother and Sister in Law so he's spoiled. The great thing is that this is the most polite and courteous kid you'll ever meet. I gave him a US Open tennis bag and some other tennis gear as well as one of my Nintendo DS video games.

This is an example of Japanese Marquetry woodworking from the down of Hakone. We visited this place on the 3rd day and checked out some of the skills needed to make the paper thing veneers that decorate this chest of drawers.

This is the glued up lumber that is planed into veneers. I'm pretty good at woodworking, but it would take years for me to do this kind of work.

Here are some cherry blossoms that were starting to bloom in Odawara.

This is Odawara Castle. Japan has several castles, some of which date back to the 14th century. This castle was originally built in 1495. It lasted through the Edo period in Japan history until it was partly destroyed in the Meji era. It was rebuilt in 1960. Inside were several examples of Japanese weaponry from Samurai and Ninja that lived in the area.

Another pic of Odawara Castle from its entrance. Unfortunately no photography was allowed inside. I think the guard in there didn't like me much because he kept following this gaikoku-jin around the building.

Sgt Beavis 04-14-2007 11:19 PM

Being the geek that I am, I had to stop at the Apple Store in Ginza. Nothing to see here, it is exactly the same as the Apple store in Southlake or Plano, just bigger. 5 stories bigger.

This is the Fujimi Yagura keep at Kokyo, which is the Japanese Imperial Palace. This is the oldest structure on the premises and the only part of the original Palace that still exists. It was built in the 14th Century and even survived the fire bombings in WWII.

This is the actual palace, known as Kyuden. It doesn't look like much but the picture really doesn't do this place any justice. It is quite large and has a regal look to it. I think the little tower you see there is called Kita-Kurumayose.

This is the Fuhimi Yagura keep on the western side of the palace grounds.

BTW, if you ever find yourself going to Tokyo, you can go to this website and make a reservation to tour the palace.

During late March and early April, the cherry blossoms are in bloom and the place looks incredible. Unfortunately for me, the blossoms were not yet blooming. My wife is getting back to Texas tomorrow and should have several pictures of the cherry blossoms in Kamakura.

Sgt Beavis 04-14-2007 11:20 PM

This is the Kaminarimon "Thunder Gate" in Asakusa (part of Tokyo) past this gate is a market place and a Buddhist temple.

This is the actual temple.

This is the shrines Pagoda tower.

The following day, we went to Yokohama. Part of that day was spent checking out Yokohama's China town. This is one of Chinatowns Gates. I think this one is called Zenrin-Mon Gate.

Here is Temple in Yokohama Chinatown.

And here we have the world famous Landmark area of Yokohama along the harbor. That ferris wheel makes the Texas State Fair ferris wheel look puny. Rides are about a half hour long. The gondolas are supposedly very nice and have glass windows instead of the cage we would see at the TSF. Unfortunately we were heading home at the time and didn't get a chance to ride it.

This is the Landmark Tower. I remember flying over this tower on a regular basis as it was being built back in 1992. By the time my tour ended in 1993, the tower was finished. The bottom floors hold a shopping mall. The middle floors are condos and the upper floors are all luxury hotel suites. Until a few days ago, the Landmark Tower was the highest building in Japan.

Sgt Beavis 04-14-2007 11:21 PM

This is the Nippon Maru. It is a training ship for Japanese Merchant Marines before WWII. During WWII it was used as a transport. It also transported over 25000 Japanese soldiers back home after the war. She is also known as the "Swan of the Pacific"

The next day we went to Tokyo Disneyland Sea. Most Japanese wouldn't think of doing this at the Indiana Jones ride, but it got a lot of laughs from them. My Nephew took the picture.

This was taken during the Grand Finale show at the end of the day. The timing was perfect because as soon as the show ended, it starting raining pretty hard. The park became a sea of umbrellas almost immediately.

This was a huge German cake for sale in the basement of one of the Odakyu department stores. It seems that all of the major train stations around Tokyo have rather large department stores attached to them. In the basement floors of each of these stores are all kinds of sweets and snacks. The cake was delicious. I also had several Manjuu which are small buns filled with sweet bean paste. Now most Americans would run when hearing those words but I swear that you have to try them if you get the chance. They are good eatin'

So that covers most of my trip. I also spent time shopping in Shibuya and Akihabara. Akihabara is known for being the worlds largest shopping area for electronic, computer, camera, anime, and other otaku stuff. I was in nerdvana. Unfortunately I found that its reputation for low prices was unfounded. At least that was the case when it came to the Olympus DSLR camera I bought there. That camera retails for about 800 bucks in the US. I've found it at Circuit City for $669 with two lenses. However I only found it for about 700 bucks in Akihabara. However when I went to department store in rural Hadano, I found that camera with the lenses for just a hair over $500.

If you are looking to pickup Japanese chicks, then Shibuya is your place. I think about half the women in Japan are in Shibuya at any given moment. Whats the attraction? Clothing stores as far as the eye can see. And nothing that would fit me ;)

Next time I hope to attend a Sumo Wresting match, go to Harajyuku, and check out Osaka. Time to start saving those frequent flyer miles again :)

kman445 04-14-2007 11:25 PM

Japan is a beautiful country. I would love to go there one day. Japanese is the language i most want to learn.

Nice pictures!

eric 04-14-2007 11:27 PM

great virtual tour man! great pics! loved the descriptions. looked like a great time. :)

Ma Junior 04-14-2007 11:37 PM

I want to go to japan badly. I want to explore the country and culture, but more so because its sooo clean.

Mattlike 04-14-2007 11:39 PM

Great shots! I went there on vacation last year and absolutely loved it. Japan was an amazing place to visit and I hope to get back there again some day.

PapaNoHair 04-14-2007 11:55 PM

Thanks for not only the pictures - but the commentary. Like a virtual trip. I spent some time there in the late 60s and early 70s and I loved it.

mathogre 04-15-2007 12:07 AM

Great post!!!!

johntalin 04-15-2007 12:29 AM

I am flabbergasted. I feel like I had just visited there.
I know what you mean about the intricate woodwork, though. I truly appreciate the old school, hard work and patience type, handiwork.

Aptmunich 04-15-2007 01:06 AM

Thanks for the tour!

I'd like to go sometime as well...

mraya 04-15-2007 01:08 AM

Thanks for sharing those pictures, Japan is one of those places i really want to visit in my lifetime.

Carol247 04-15-2007 01:33 AM

Sgt Beavis, thanks for sharing such beauty. Really makes me want to visit Japan.

I've only been to Korea and Tiawan which were also lovely (some parts, that is :( )

You took some very nice pictures.

cjay 04-15-2007 03:08 AM

Great thread man and thanks for sharing. I love Japan and could easily see myself living there.

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