Shimizu, Japan

We loved visiting Japan again this year, this time flying into Yokohama on Monday, 15 August to pick up the Diamond Princess for our cruise.

The weather was hot, hot, hot!  Getting off the plane, the heat and humidity hit us and it took a moment or two to realise we were in Japan – not Darwin!  The temperature was in the mid to high 30’s all the time we were there and the humidity was way up there as well.

Woke up Tuesday morning to find ourselves in Shimizu and looking forward to visiting Mt Fuji.  We got as far as the 5th Station at 7,900 feet which involved a 2 hour coach trip.  This is the most popular station and it contains some restaurants as well as some shops for climbers to stock up before heading up to the summit.  We passed a number of people jogging or on bicycles and I had to admire their fitness and dedication.  It’s a long way up!

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Waiting for the clouds to clear.  

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The view of Mt Fuji from the 5th Station looking up – the view down was obscured by clouds

Then we visited the Tokaido Hiroshige Museum of Art to see a collection of woodblock printing.  Very interesting exhibition of the works of Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) which ranged from beautiful landscapes to some humorous caricatures.

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We took this photo before we found out there were no photos allowed!  Here is the link to see some of the landscape blocks.  It is a small museum  that we found very interesting, with the woodblock process explained in the foyer and the opportunity to try it for yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Home Away From Home

This was our home for 9 days recently when we flew to Yokohama to board the beautiful Diamond Princess for our Asian cruise.

Click here to see the amenities and features.  As this was a short cruise we decided not to go for an oceanview stateroom but for an interior stateroom instead, which was very comfortable and quite spacious enough for us.  We have found in the past that the expense of a balcony stateroom was wasted on us.  I guess it all depends on how much time you want to spend there;  for us it is not much.  There was so much going on around the ship, we didn’t want to miss a thing!

Our first time on a such a big ship and on this cruise there were 3,000 passengers plus crew.  We were off seeing the sights of Japan most days, so there were a few areas of the ship that we didn’t have time to explore, but we had a great time and look forward to travelling on her again sometime.

 

Japan and Korea

Time to dust off the passports once again for another trip to Japan.  We enjoyed visiting there so much earlier in the year that we have decided to do a short vacation and fly out on 14 August to Yokohama, where we will board the Diamond Princess for a 10 day cruise to several Japanese and Korean ports and then fly home on 25 August.

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This is our itinerary.   Highlights include an excursion to Mt Fuji (no, not climbing it ourselves, we will take the easy way!) and a Korean Festival with a fireworks display.  Also looking forward to boarding a ship that we haven’t been on before, which will be the biggest so far.  Getting excited!

Afterwards

It’s always sad to say goodbye when our cruise comes to an end.  Back to the “real world” – shopping, bill paying, chores…..  However, the positives are coming home to our cats and sleeping in our own bed.  No matter how comfortable other beds may be, there is nothing like your own pillow!

The one thing that everyone loves on a cruise ship is the food!  So here are some average amounts of the food we consumed on a daily basis:

  • Fish:  1,700
  • Poultry:  1,400 lbs
  • Beef:  1,700 lbs
  • Pork/Pork Products:  1,400 lbs
  • Veal:  300 lbs
  • Lamb:  200 lbs
  • Salads:  1,600 lbs
  • Mayonnaise:  13 gals
  • Pasta:  500 lbs
  • Potatoes:  2,700 lbs
  • Soups:  550 gals
  • Flour:  1,500 lbs
  • Pastries:  6,000
  • Ice cream:  100 gals
  • Butter:  400 lbs
  • Coffee:  470 gals
  • Sugar:  400 lbs
  • Glasses washed daily:  21,500
  • Dishes washed daily:  70,000

Is this all?   Well, not quite.  After the passengers are served, then it’s time to feed over 848 crew members!  (And by world standards, the Sea Princess is not even  a very big cruise ship!)

So now our Asian cruise is a memory and I have some serious scrapbooking to do, but already we have booked our next cruise!  Around Australia from Brisbane to Perth with some friends who will be visiting from England in November.  We did this cruise once before, but this time we will stopping at two ports in New Guinea – the previous one went to Bali.

Meanwhile, I am having trouble remembering what day it is – I’ve already missed an appointment this week, so I must set myself a reminder to meet with my quilting group tomorrow!

 

 

 

Tokyo, Japan

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The weather was very nice as we set out on Wednesday, 30 March for our last stop in Tokyo.  Into the coach and off to see the Imperial Palace Gardens (we thought!)  Driving through the city, I was a bit disappointed – nice but nothing spectacular or memorable really, except for the Tokyo Tower…..  I’m not sure what I was expecting.  Some motorbikes and bicycles, but mostly cars on the road.

A city of 12.5 million we were told – with a floating population of 2 million.  Hard to imagine!

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Anyway, once we got off the coach we noticed an unending line of people making their way to the Garden and found out that the Emperor only opens the Gardens to the public two days per year – and this was one of them!  One million people were invited.  So we were taken to the Imperial Palace Plaza and a short walk to a bridge near the East Gate – very pretty, but only a 10-minute photo stop in reality …. we had an hour!!!!

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Next stop was the Meiji Shrine, with twin 40 feet tall Torii gates, one of the country’s largest.  Lunch was western-style at a Tokyo Hotel.  Very nice.

We continued on to Sensoji Temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo, and we saw a Japanese bride and many girls in traditional dress.  Lastly we spent quite some time at Nakamise-dori, the “street of Inside Shops”, an alley lined with souvenirs and handmade crafts.  Very crowded but very interesting – plenty of time to explore.  So much to see.

We have taken so many photos – especially in Japan.  It was difficult to only choose a few.  Many great memories…. and we have met some lovely local people.

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Now we are on our way back home – currently somewhere in the Pacific Ocean!  So we say goodbye to Japan for now, but hope to see you again.