This was our last stop in our all too brief tour of Japan. The advantage of travelling whilst holding down a proper job in an international school is that I have a reasonable opportunity to travel and can afford to indulge that whim with a reasonable degree of comfort. The downside is I have to go back to work too quickly!
Hiroshima was somewhere I was keen to see, I am not sure that looking forward to is the correct phrase but I did want to go and see the history.
Above is one of the few buildings in the immediate vicinity of the nuclear blast that was left standing. In front of it is the peace park memorial to the dead and the flame. The idea is that the flame will burn until the last atomic weapon is removed from the planet.
This was a great surprise. We were looking for a couple of stops to break up the Tokyo to Hiroshima journey. We did a little bit of searching and booked a night in Matsumoto. Unfortunately, all of the other places we looked at for the security be were booked up. So we opted for a second night in Matsumoto and what a good decision that was.
We were picked up from the station by the charming people from our hotel who pointed out the sights of the town. She also mentioned that it was the first night of the blossom festival. This is where the castle is floodlit, with music, food, tea ceremonies and blossom.
...and so on to Tokyo. Tokyo means Eastern capital; in the same way Beijing is northern capital and Nanjing western. Possibly Xian is the western one. Xi is definitely Mandarin for Western, but the rest is guess-work!). Not sure why, given the antipathy between China and Japan, the Japanese allow their capital to be named in relation to the Chinese one... So to WIkipedia: Originally called Edo the city changed its name when it became the imperial capital.... Just an Asian thing then, that the capital city includes the word capital in its name.
Anyway, become the Imperial capital it did and that capital needed a palace to house the Imperial household, which was our first stop (See. what a clever little intro it was!). The gardens, which are the only bits you are allowed to see, are stunning this time of year. A magnificent display of blossom.
One of my favourite things as a tourist wandering around Kyoto in particular is the number of Japanese who put on their Kimono to see the sights.
According to Wikipedia (so it must be true!), means 'thing to wear'. Ki meaning thing and mono to wear. Some are clearly of better quality than others though. The bit that fascinated me this time was the obi: the belt thing that ties around the back and holds the whole thing together.
The castle was originally built as the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns. The Tokugawa Shogunate used Edo as the capital city, but Kyoto continued to be the home of the Imperial Court.
I have to say that I love Japan. It is one of my favourite places. It is very different to other countries in Asia or in Europe either for that matter. It reminds me a bit of Taipei, only (of course) with less Chinese influence. Not too surprising as Japan ruled Taiwan until the end of the second World War. Everything just works and works perfectly! People are really well mannered and when you live in China that's a big plus. It's clean and the natives are friendly... What more could one want?
When we were here before, Osaka was one of our favourite places. Osakians (?) have a reputation of being a bit brash and uncouth by Japanese standards, but that is by Japanese standards! So that's where we kicked off this time. The plan was to stay in Osaka a night and move onto to Kyoto, but we couldn't find accommodation at anything like a reasonable price so made full use of our Japan Rail passes and just travelled from Osaka to Kyoto.
The Umeda sky building is a relatively new addition to Osaka. It has a top floor viewing platform that is accessible via glass encased escalators. Needless to say Mrs E didn't fancy it over much so watched from the ground.
This will be a blog about my latest shots and what I liked or was trying to do with them
I am a teacher of Economics and have worked in various schools in Europe & Asia. One of the things I love doing is getting out and about with my camera.