Archive for August, 2002

Tokyo Farewell

Tuesday, August 27th, 2002

The wind from Mt. Fuji
I put it on the fan.
Here, the souvenir from Edo.

Basho Matsuo


Wednesday, August 21st, 2002

There are two kinds of toilets in Japan, Japanese style and Western style. Many of the Western style toilets are just like the ones I use at home. However the Japanese have developed a new generation of technologically improved toilets controlled by touch controls. In Starbucks they had a toilet which had a heated seat, bidet and dryer. In the Sony building and in Disney they had “stream music” which played loudly whilst you were using the loo…

Lake Ashi

Monday, August 19th, 2002

I have been told that one of the most beautiful sites in Japan is the reflection of Mt. Fuji in Lake Ashi, Hakone. What I wasn’t told was how rare a sight this is. I’ve been to Hakone three times now and I’ve never even glimpsed Fuji. This time Typhoon Phanfone was to blame.

Daimonji Okuribi Festival

Friday, August 16th, 2002

Tonight we went to see the Daimonji Okuribi Festival (Farewell Fire Festival), which is a traditional o-bon event in Kyoto. Five fires, shaped as kanji characters and symbols, are set on five mountainsides. They burn from east to west in the shape of the characters, “dai”, “myo”, “ho”, a boat, and a torii gate. The event cannot be seen from the streets because of the number of high-rise buildings so we watched the fires burn from a roof of a nearby hotel.

Poor Service

Wednesday, August 14th, 2002

We were served dinner tonight by a grumpy waitress. At home this wouldn’t be considered a strange thing but it is the first time that the service we have received in Japan has not been excellent. The waitress still served us quickly, brought us iced water when we arrived and even tidied up our shoes (we had to take our shoes off before we could sit down at the table and we still haven’t worked out where we are supposed to set them) but she looked like she wanted to be somewhere else.

I haven’t been able to work out why the service in Japan is so good compared to the service we receive at home. In some places it has been even better than the service I have received at expensive restaurants in America. Maybe by the end of the holiday I will have worked it out.

Guiding Lights

Wednesday, August 14th, 2002

Tonight the people of Nara had lined the streets with candle lanterns to guide the spirits of their dead ancestors.


Wednesday, August 14th, 2002

We went to see Todaiji Temple today. I took loads of pictures including some in black and white using Fuji Neopan 1600. It’s quite dark inside the temple and tripods are not allowed. Andrew was quite surprised at my choice of film. But then I was quite surprised at his attitude towards using high speed black and white film. He doesn’t like grainy pictures and thinks that since we can now get colour film why bother with black and white? Philistine!

Cacidas and Katydids

Tuesday, August 13th, 2002

We spent the morning at Osaka Castle. Andrew wasn’t impressed but I thought it was quite beautiful and I was glad that we had taken the time out to go and see it. On the way back to the train station I spotted some very large insects. I had been listening to them for days (they make more noise than some birds) but I had never seen one before. Think I could do without every seeing another one again.


Monday, August 12th, 2002

The fireworks dispay at Universal Studios was cancelled because of problems with gunpowder. To make up for this unfortunate event all soft drinks were free in the park after 5.00 pm.

Hurry Up And Wait

Monday, August 12th, 2002

Universal Studios has implemented a system called “Universal Express” that allows you to get a ticket in advance for a popular attraction. It’s a good idea as there can be a two hour wait for some of the rides. We only managed to get an Express ticket for the Jurassic Park ride. The park was so busy that the tickets we got at 11 o’clock in the morning were for going on the ride sometime between 18:10 and 19:10!