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.


Saturday, June 2, 2018

JAPAN 2018 - PART 2

Day 3 - Saturday 31st March, 2018

After breakfast we walked to the train station (less than a 5 minute walk from our Hotel) and caught 2 trains from Kashiwa-no-ha station to Yachiyodai station, both are in the Chiba prefecture although it took 1 hour by train.  The General Manager of our office in the mid 1980's lives there with his wife and we went to visit them for the day. I last saw them back in 2011 in Brisbane for a couple of hours, previously to that I last saw them back in 1988 when I left Marubeni pregnant with Kate. Mrs. O'hira bought these delicious sweets for us to have for morning tea at a nearby French Patisserie. They were just devine......

Then Mr. and Mrs. O'hira took us out to lunch at a nearby shopping centre to a cute little place for lunch.,  Here is a photo of me with Mr. O'hira outside the restaurant.

                                                               Mr. and Mrs. O'hira

Lunch, Tempura Pork cutlet and a prawn Tempura with pickled vegetables, also rice and Miso soup. It was really delicious.

                      We then went for a little drive in their cute little car to see Sakura Blooms.

This is their cute little house.

This is called "The New River" at Yachio in Chiba, the Sakura trees lined both sides of the river, they truly were a sight to behold.

                                        Walking the path along the river I took many photos

During the Spring time with the Sakura blooming families take full advantage and picnic under the trees all weekend.  It's just so lovely to see many people out enjoying themselves and the children running around having so much fun.  In a country where the majority of people live in apartments and are confined all week, it was such a joy to see these sights in our travels everywhere we saw the Sakura blooms.

                                             On a walk bridge crossing the New River

I took quite a few photos of the glorious trees driving along in the car, the day was warm so we had the windows 1/2 down in the car, it was also a little windy and the petals of the flowers were falling off the trees and into the windows and although I haven't seen snow (yet) in my life, it gave me the feeling of snow falling, it truly was magical.

Mrs. O'hira gave us all of these delicious goodies to take with us, can you see in the foreground some mandarins and yuzu fruits ! Mr. O'hira does some communal farming about 40 minutes drive from their house and he tends to the gardening every other day of the week.  He will be turning 80 on 1st August this year and is very active. We enjoyed most of these in Japan including the Sake.  I bought home the packets of rice which I am still to use.

Mrs. O'hira also gave each of us the following in a lovely carry bag. The Meiji chocolate was very delicious, it was a dark chocolate.  The wrapped item on the right next to the chocolate is some Green tea.

                                              Wait till you see what was in this lovely box

I unpacked it last Sunday and put it on my coffee table in the lounge room (my display room which is never used). LOL.......    The most beautiful silk and gold thread table runner and 2 coasters, made in Kyoto.  They came with a little pamphlet which included their web site so I checked it out and these items are a lot more expensive than I imagined.  We were very spoilt, especially Sandra as she didn't even know Mr. and Mrs. O'hira,. They are such wonderful kind people.

I arranged my Japanese items on the coffee table which were previously displayed on my China cabinet. The big Japanese doll in the case I received from work 2 years ago when I left, she is truly gorgeous.  Doesn't it looking stunning, I just love it, I now feel it completes the space.

I also wanted to add day 4 of my travels to this post however I think this is enough for now.



Another "0" Birthday in our family for 2018, My Mum turned 80 on Monday 10th December, 2018. We celebrated with a Birthday lunch ...