Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Japan, Part II. Impressions.

Ted asked in my last post what my impressions of Japan are, so this is answered here.

I must say that I love Japan and I love going to Japan. Obviously I am biased because at the end of the journey there is Jack, Miki and Allan, but even so, I would still love the place, although I don't think I would like to live there.

I find Tokyo an exciting place to visit especially going into the city alone, trying to work out the involved and convoluted underground and train system, seeing the mix of traditional buildings and ultra modern buildings, and most of all, meeting Japanese people.

Allan pretending to be a commuter!

Traditional buildings in Asaska, Tokyo.

The Ginza skyline from the Emporer's Imperial Palace.

The view of the Imperial Moat with my back to the Ginza skyline.

Yes, even bloody Tesco has wormed it's way into Tokyo life.

I did rather like this sign though!

Jack lives in Hoya, which is about 25 minutes by train from one of the major Tokyo stations. Although quite densly populated, it also has a rural aspect. There are many allotments scattered around, full of delicous vegetables: diakon, brocolli, sticky potatoes and these cabbages:

Jack and I took this photo on one of our cycles rides. There seemed to be something terribly 'Zen' about the neat symetrical rows of these perfect vegetables! This is the view from Jack and Miki's flat:

The Japanese are very honest people and it simply would not occur to anyone to pop into the allotment and nick a cabbage or two. You can leave precious bonsai trees growing in pots outside the front of the house in the certain knowledge that they will still be there in the morning. Wish it was a bit more like that here.

I get the impression from Jack, although I could be very wrong here, that as far as faith goes, the Japanese are quite laid back. They tend towards Shinto for births and marriages and Buddism for deaths.

There were many statues of Buddhas around, and in one temple in Kyoto there were over a thousand of them!

There were also lots of shrines. This particular one was for lighting candles but many others were for incense. You would pay 100 yen and get a large bundle of incense, then light it and stick it in the sand. When it is smoking nicely, you wave your arms around madly, directing the smoke over you. I joined in very happily with both the candle lighting and the incense wafting. I loved it.

We spent a very enjoyable day in Osaka. We met up with one of Miki and Jack's friends, Yoshtsune and he showed us round the fleshpots of the city!

The Japanese are very into slot machine and arcade games. Their pachinko machines can become addictive.

Jack and Allan playing pachinko!

Miki beating hell out of some drums!

Our host, Yoshetsune with Allan.

After Osaka we spent two days in Kyoto, but that deserves a post of it's own.


Maalie said...

What lovely impressions!

Ju's little sister said...

How wonderful. I think we could learn a lot from the Japanese. Honesty and a sense of fun as well as a dedication to nature.
Thank you for sharing with us!

V-word today is: subla

preacherman said...

Thank you so much for showing us these great pics. I wnat you to know that I enjoyed your blog and have added you to my favs. Keep up the great work you do with your blog.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Lovely pics, Lorenzo. Looks like you all had a nice time there with good weather.

I wonder how friendly the Japanese people are, or outgoing is maybe a better way to put it. Are they reserved and shy, or are they helpful to tourists. Of course you being with family helped you so that maybe it didn't have quite the same tourist feel for you.

Do your family speak Japanese?

My wife, Deb, had thought to be a Christian missionary there, but it never worked out. She wanted me to say something else for this post, I think, but I'll have to send her here, as I can't recall at the moment, just what it was (but almost certain to recall it, soon after I send this!)

lorenzothellama said...

Ted, I meant to talk a bit more about the Japanese people but I will wait for the next posting. I will just say now that I have found the Japanese people charming, friendly and extremely polite. More in another posting!

Ju's little sister said...

Goodness me, we'll have to call you Lorenzothejapanesellama


madretz said...

Big Boy restaurant started in Southern California but they had been closing many of their restaurants for several years now. I'm amazed to see there's a franchise in Japan.
Enjoying reading about your adventures.

Shammickite said...

I'm madly envious, yea, even jealous, I'd LOVE to go to Japan, but I believe I could only afford 2 cups of coffee and a quick look round and then I'd have to come home due to lack of cash... I hear that everything if horrendously expensive. And my poor little Canadian dollar doesn't go very far in the world economy these days.
Meanwhile I'm here on the beach in Florida taking in enough sunshine to last me through another bloody freezing Canadian winter.

Abraham Lincoln said...

This was quite interesting to me. I was in Japan from 1953 through the summer of 1956 and it was really different then. The trains were powered by coal, of course, and the bathrooms were slits in the bathroom floors lined in brass. Tokyo was fast but had no tall buildings because they were all flattened by B-29s and B-17s just a few years earlier.

I spent most of my years in the Sendai-shi area near Matsushima and Shiogama. Then small villages by the ocean.

I was in Sapporo too for a while The coldest place on earth next to either of the poles.


Times have changed. A lot.

preacherman said...

God has put on my heart a deep desire to go to Japan and worship with the brother and sisters. I hear the at the church in Japan is growing by leaps and bounds. I praise God!!!! I thank God every morning and night for what he is doing and continue to do in the lives of those who live in Japan. Again, thank you so much for these wonderfu, beautiful, pics with us all.

simon said...

I have a JAjanese friend and she made me 100 cranes, which are used to help heal the sick as well as a talisman.. :o)

simon said...

I mean Japanese! oops

Preacherman? are you for real? Or are you just one of those american loonies??? f*&k me!

Anonymous said...

It's not that expensive here, you'll be able to afford more than two coffees. A coffee from a standard Japanese chain is about 200-250 yen, although I don't know what that is in Canadian dollars (3?) and the quality is high.
Basic accommodation starts about 5000 yen a night, and local train travel is cheap compared with most developed countries I've been to.
The yen is relatively strong though which is clobbering the tourist industry at the moment.


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Ahh Llama dear - life is too hectic right now and I miss you. I'm off, but not to fun or exotic places as you have been, but for work in the capital city. Bahh humburg. I'm just stopping in to say I'll be back after a while to linger longer and admire the photos and let them paint pictures in my mind.

The Lone Beader said...

Wow, they have Tesco over there, too? We don't have them, but I saw a lot of them in Prague! :D