November 11th, 2009

drinking bird

Trip to Japan

I just returned from a two weeks trip to Japan. The object was to visit Kyushu, where I had never been

.I started in Tokyo as usual, except that this time, instead of traditional Asakusa, I stayed in Shiodome, a very modern area of Tokyo. It is full of very modern buildings. You go from one to the other by the way fo bridges and galleries, or else by underground passages. You may never have to use the streets!

Here is an example.

You can see the bridge above the street.

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Here is a curious one

I guess they resolved the problems the wind might cause through that cut out.

This is a decorative panel in the lobby of my hotel, which was located in a rather interesting high rise.

One aside: the vending machines at the hotel had Takki's Takara lemon drink, which I finally got to taste! My verdict: pleasant, refreshing, a bit too sweet for my taste. This the one and only time I saw it for sale. They had it in 2 sizes and also in another citrus flavor.

I had no show to go to this time, so one of the days a friend and I went to Ueno Park and visited the wonderful museum there, where we also had an oishi lunch. We strolled in the park, and then went on to the Ginza. There I bought some CDs, and admired the goods at Itoya, a wonderful stationary store, if you can call that a place of several stories, where you can find all sorts of hand made paper, calligraphy supplies, lovely ornamented cards, etc. Then of course we loitered in the department stores.

We flew from Tokyo to Nagasaki, on the south-east coast of Kyushu. It is not a particularly attractive city, although of historical importance. Next was Unzen, where we stayed in a lovely ryokan. It was near the local "hells" (bubbling, steamy mud holes showing volcanic activity).

Unzen walk, behind our ryokan

From there we went on to Aso-san, a large and high volcano which has shaped that whole area. It is now extinct.

Crater lake, Aso-san

Another crater lake

It was rainy and quite cold on Aso, thus, while it was interesting, we were glad to go on down to Beppu, which I will talk about in my next post, real soon!