Wednesday, July 11, 2018

JAPAN 2018 - PART 4

Day 5 - Monday 2nd April, 2018

We were met at our Hotel in Tokyo by an ex work colleague and walked a few blocks to see where Marubeni office used to be, I took a photo of the street sign, the second photo is better showing "you are here" and below to the right you will see "Marubeni Tokyo Head Office".  Marubeni is one of the BIG 5 trading companies in Japan.  They have the quintessential position overlooking the Imperial Palace Grounds,. However at this time I could only see construction as the building was pulled down last year and they constructing a new building however things are rather slow as the Olympics of 2020 is taking precedence.

Then we took the subway to their current location in another building in Tokyo.  It is high security, We had to get permission and a tag to enter the building, my ex work colleague is on the right at the reception desk.

This gorgeous display was in the foyer, just glorious with the beautiful Sakura tree blooms.

I met with some ex work colleagues that I work with in Brisbane office and some I was meeting for the first time in person although had talked to them on the phoned and emailed them constantly regarding work.  The ladies were thrilled with their gifts I made for them.

Then one of my ex Brisbane Managing Directors took us to lunch with 3 other ex Brisbane Coal guys as well.  We went to a gorgeous famous expensive restaurant in Ginza only a few blocks away from the office.  I was totally spoilt on this trip. They all kept telling me how lucky we were to be able to have planned the trip so far in advance and to see the Sakura trees in full bloom.

Our delicious lunch, oishii, ishii

                                          Lovely cold Asahi beer as it was quite a hot day.

After lunch we headed back to the Hotel for a rest as we were then collected from the Hotel again at 5.30pm by another ex Manager from 20 years ago, we caught a cab to look at the Night time viewing of the Sakura flowers, it's a huge event, there were hundreds of people there.

                                         This photo is of Sandra, myself and Mr. Nakao

                                   I took many photos of the Sakura blooms, here are a few.

         The tiny boats as couples row them up and down the moat around the Imperial Palace.


Then we caught another cab to Akasaka and were taken to dinner to a famous little Teppanyaki Restaurant where Mr. Nakao is quite famous, apparently he's been going into that area for around 40 years or more.
                                                The young Chef cooking our dinner

We had a bottle of this absolutely delicious Shiraz from Australia, I took a photo as I would like to try and locate it here, so far no luck though.

   We had our photo taken with the owner/chef of the restaurant

 Then afterwards we were taken to a tiny coffee house, down a tiny alley, down a tiny set of steps.

Phew, what a day, we were treated like royalty, it was a day and night I will remember for a very long time.

Day 6 - Tuesday 3rd April, 2018

We were up early as we were catching a Shinkansen over to Kanazawa.  After breakfast I walked down a couple of blocks to a Post Office to purchase some stamps and post some postcards home to Australia.  Then we caught a cab to the Tokyo train station and waited an hour for our train to arrive.

Lovely clean luxurious Green car (executive class) carriage. So comfortable, the seats tilt back and they also have a foot rest.  As soon as the train is under way a young lady comes around dressed in a very smart uniform handing out hand towels.

                                                     Arriving at Kanazawa station

                  This is a photo outside of the station and some of the cabs waiting for a fare

                                                  A photo of one of the Shinkansen's

We were waiting to be collected in a mini bus as we were heading into the mountains about 30 mins drive away to a Ryokan for one night.  We were greeted with a hot towel, some sweets and a bowl of warm Matcha.

After we checked in we were shown to our room, we were in the Kotyo room on the 4th floor, it was a tiny place with 12 rooms in total.

                After we had our Onsen we relaxed with a couple of drinks and some nibbles.

                           We went outside and enjoyed the lovely view as the sun was setting

We then went to dinner which was a small room where we sat on the floor which was comfortable as we had somewhere for our legs and a back rest as well.

                                           A few photos of some of the dinner courses

We met a couple of lovely ladies, the younger one next to me is Fumi and her Mama (in Western clothes), Fumi spoke quite good English and we all had dinner together and also Breakfast the next morning,.  I'm so glad meeting with Fumi as the staff didn't speak any English.  She advised the staff we would like a Western style breakfast the next morning which I didn't know was available as I though it was all traditional Japanese food.  Fumi and I are now friends on FB.

Upon arriving back to our room after dinner we found our beds made up on the Tatami mats which had a table and chairs there prior going to dinner. They were surprisingly comfortable.

This was the room before we went to dinner

Our Western breakfast the following morning, uncooked omelette, the Japanese tend to eat a lot of uncooked eggs, not my style at all, I had a little bit but couldn't finish it.  I did however eat the bread rolls.

                                           I ate the Pumpkin Soup, sausages and bacon

                      I ate this delicious pot set yogurt which apparently they make on site

This was our Ryokan, I said before it had 4 floors however it only had 3 floors with 4 rooms on which floor,  In Japan what we called ground floor they call 1F (first floor)

This was a really wonderful experience and we only did it for one night as it's very expensive.
Even though we stayed in the same room, the rate is "per person".

So till the next part. Bye for now.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

JAPAN 2018 - PART 3

Day 4 - Sunday 1st April, 2018

We met with Aya (Mr. O'hira's daughter) at our hotel and she took us to Ginza (for those who don't know, Ginza is a famous expensive area in Tokyo).

           The next four photos are buildings on the four corners of Ginza's famous cross section.

This building is a very expensive department store in Ginza.  We walked around the 3 levels, they sell Jewellery, clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories.

Aya had arranged for us to wear a Kimono around Ginza and also experience a tea ceremony in Ginza.

Aya had the camera took photos of us as we walked from the Kimono hire shop to the tea ceremony. We felt like celebrities walking around Ginza, the locals were taking our photo, telling us we looked beautiful and give us the thumbs up etc........ LOL

                                                      Outside a Kabuki House in Ginza

Cleansing hands before the tea ceremony

The lady in the Blue conducted the tea ceremony, it's very technical.  This is something I've always wanted to experience.


The tea ceremony is conducted in a tiny room and we were in there for an hour, can you see my red face..... the doors are closed and no windows.  The Kimonos are heavy to wear and quite hot as well, there was 10 of us in the tiny room which included 1 male.  It is about 3mtres squares and not very high, I could stand up in there but not much more room.  Also you have to climb in through a tiny door, the floor is Tatami mats so you were socks in there.  Aya didn't wear a Kimono as the experience was for us, she owns a lot of Kimonos and wears them around her home.  She has also taken lessons in the tea ceremony and was explaining to us everything in detail during the ceremony.

                               I was so happy to have finally been able to come out of the room

Ahhhhhh the relief of being able to come out of the tea ceremony room, we had to crawl out, it was most difficult.  The whole time in the room we were kneeling and sitting back on our legs, NOT enjoyable at all.

Some of the famous buildings in Ginza

After changing into our Western clothes we headed to Meiji Shrine, AKA Meiji Jingu (very famous) near Harajuku Station. Before entering and going through the Torii gate you stop, put your hands together and bow to the Gods.

                                                      LOTS of barrels of Sake

                                                                  LOTS Barrels of wine

Cleansing hands before going up to the Shrine

Making our wish to the Gods at the Shrine

                   We were extremely lucky to see a married couple in traditional dress at the Shrine

I can imagine they were very hot in these outfits, it was quite a hot day and we were hot in our Kimono's and they are wearing many more layers. They looked really young too.

    The young married couple were getting into this car to take them to the after party celebrations.

After walking through the Shrine area we walked through Harajuku area and then caught a train to Shinjuku and went to the Belgium café for dinner.  We enjoyed a nice cold beer before dinner.

Most eating places in Japan you don't order "a meal" for yourself, we had a bowl of salad, chicken pieces and a pizza to share between the 3 of us for dinner.

It was after 8pm by the time we arrived back at our Hotel, we were quite exhausted after our big day full of a lot of new experiences.


JAPAN 2018 - PART 4

Day 5 - Monday 2nd April, 2018 We were met at our Hotel in Tokyo by an ex work colleague and walked a few blocks to see where Marubeni off...