Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sanur, Bali + Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Cenigan

     In Sanur, Bali we were staying in a lovely little place off the noisy street but near the beach, the bakery, laundry and all the stuff we needed. We've see many beautiful little birds, especially my favorites- the tiny midnight blue swallows. They were way too fast to get a picture of but I think they are Pacific Swallows.  They also have lots of huge screechy bats! None of them got in our hair though. We spent a lot of the time in the pool.
     We went to the UluWatu temple and saw the cliffs and a great fire dance where they were accompanied by 40 guys chanting these crazy rhythms. It was really cool.
     Sadly, the traffic and general pollution level throughout Bali is much worse than we expected. Similar to, if not worse than, anywhere in Thailand. We got a driver to take us to the Peninsula and it was pretty depressing. Nusa Dua was a giant, mostly empty playground for rich, white people. The beaches were a little cleaner but in general it was sad. We came to Sanur because it was reputed to be one of the less messed up beaches in Bali.
     Oh man, tons of plastic trash everywhere. Very disappointing. Wherever we go I have to beg people not to put everything in an individual plastic wrapper, and then a bigger plastic wrapper. They seem positively puzzled by it. Where are the religious leaders, in this obviously religious place, to tell people the Gods would like it if you stopped wrecking this planet with garbage? OK, that's depressing, so we headed off to the island across the bay, Lembongan.

     In general, this was better because there are no cars. It's all scooters, and a few pick-ups. The beaches were cleaner and places like Tigerlilly's, where we stayed, are really making an effort to combat the plastic trash. They use and sell glass straws and only use refillable glass or steel water bottles. This is where we saw a poster stating that 30 million plastic bottles are used in Bali every month! No wonder there is a problem. The problem persisted on Lembongan though. Anywhere that wasn't obviously someone's property was pretty well filled with plastic garbage. Someone said it was because when everything was put in banana leaves people just tossed them, but hadn't caught on that plastic never goes away.

     Moving on, we went across the crazy one lane suspension bridge to Cenigan to stay at The Palms. They sent a tiny truck to get our luggage to the bridge, walked it across, and got another tiny truck on the other side. It was quite the operation.
     One great thing about this stuff is being able to stay at (for us) really upscale places cheaply. Less than $50 a night in the US gets you the skankiest sticky-floored, foul-smelling motel room imaginable. Here? It gets you this:
     OK then. The aforementioned problems are still present, but again less since it's a smaller place. The main thing here is seaweed farming and fishing, followed by tourism. The roads are amazingly bad. By far the worst I've seen in any country yet. Barely paved, barely one lane and totally messed up.  Supposedly they are getting repaved "soon" for some value of soon. Fun to drive a scooter on though, if you like adventure and a sore butt. But then there's this:
And this:
And this:

Needless to say, I didn't jump.

     Next we are off to the even more remote Gili Air. No cars allowed. They have horses. And carts. Seriously! 

     I am cautiously optimistic that Bali, Indonesia, and in fact the world, will catch on that life depends on humanity getting a handle on its trash problem. Take a lesson from New Zealand and take action before all the beautiful places in the world are wrecked.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

More Musings on Japan

     Hey everyone! We just left Japan a few days ago. If you've been following you already know the gardens and temples are lovely and what a great time we had with our friend Takuo, but I wanted to share with you some of the interesting cultural things I noticed in this amazing country.  Things that made me say to myself..Wow!

The People
     It's evident we loved Japan. We had stressed over it a bit before we left, since we had read so much about how it is so easy to make an embarrassing mistake. Eat with your chopsticks wrong, lets say, or leave them crossed on your plate and it means you hated their grandparents...or something to that effect. We found none of that though. No one made us feel like fools and we never felt self-conscious. We were surprised and delighted to find that yes, the Japanese are extremely polite, but also super friendly! And its nice to be polite! Everybody does it!

     For example, when we went into a random store to ask directions, the woman behind the counter came out with us and walked with us to the stairway to the train we were looking for. Smiling the whole time and making sure we found it. This type of thing happened all the time. Even in the 7-11 (see, I told you they are everywhere), where everyone tells you good-by as you are leaving the store...smiling!

Haha OK, maybe not THAT much! Even on the trains though! Uh, sometimes...

The Trains
     I can't communicate enough how efficient their transportation is. You can get anywhere by train. Everyone uses them. We waited no longer than a few minutes for any train to come. Yes, it was a challenge to get the hang of it since many of the signs are in Japanese. I give Andy super kudos to figuring it all out and speaking enough Japanese to ask questions and understand the answers. At times it felt a bit like a scavenger hunt, but we never wondered how to get somewhere. We knew there was a train. and we had Hyperdia, a phone app that was in english and helped figure out the routes and the stations we needed.

The Efficiency
     Wow. This covers alot of territory. There are so many little things.

     In hotels, they have large containers of soap, shampoo, and conditioner. They refill them. No little plastic bottles to litter the environment. Yay for them. A related observation is that the country is the cleanest we've seen, right up there with New Zealand, which has a lot less people. No one litters. Its spotless.

     The toilets are everything you've read about. Warm sprays, heated seats, air deodorizer, and even "white noise" or music to cover any unsavory sounds you may be making. Seriously. Boy, am I going to miss them. Not that I make any of those sounds, of course.

     There is always somewhere to put everything. The bathrooms even have a place to put your baby while you take care of business! Man, we need those in the US!
     Every restaurant has baskets at each table to hold whatever you are carrying. Grab one and put it by your seat. Umbrella management is beyond belief, and let me tell you, we noticed it since it rained 12 of the 15 days we were there. Larger places have racks where you lock up your umbrella and just take the key. Even convenience stores have bins outside.

The Fashion
     Damn it, I am so mad I did not get more pics of actual people. I am always hesitant to do this, and usually the opportunity passes too quickly. The young Japanese are hip, they are lookin' good! Even their iphones wear jewelry! The women are stylish and beautiful. The salarymen (and women) all wear black suits....rush hour is a sea of black. But they still look good! Well tailored, skinny cut slacks, an unusual tie. And these men must spend a good hour on their hair, which is cut with razor sharp precision. We also saw a good deal of women made up like geisha in Kyoto. Just out strolling. Gorgeous. I never tired of the people watching. It was epic.

The Food
    Ahhh, the food. I miss it already. Always beautifully presented. First, the hot towel. We had everything. Sushi, ramen, udon, tempura, japanese bbq, soba, the daintiest little sandwiches...it was the first country where I didn't miss western style food at all. We went into little 5 seat restaurants with menus all in Japanese and just winged it. Once when Andy just asked for "beef" in Japanese we had the most tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef I've ever tasted. Heaven.

     I could go on, but again this is getting long-winded.  If you are interested in Japan and its culture, I recommend a website called Japan Talk Most of what I read on that site proved to be as it was in Japan. Strange and wonderful.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Nests

     One of the things I worried about most before we started our traveling adventure was giving up our home nest....our bed. Or in greater detail, the comfy spot we had built with great consideration. Yes, we had the high thread count sheets, the fluffy down comforter, the Restoration Hardware duvet cover we had guiltily paid an arm and a leg for, and the absolute best pillow I had ever had...and I've tried out alot of pillows in my time. Now we were giving all that up to sleep who knows where?!
But, we packed it all up in storage (I couldn't bear to part with it all), and away it went.

     It's been 5 months now on the road, and we've slept in many nests. In fact, if I'm counting right, as I write this its 27. I got the idea when I ran into my absolute first really bad bed, that I would take a picture of every bed we sleep in on this journey. Sort of a nest catalog. So I would like to share some of the more interesting ones with you now. A lot of you seem to think we stay in the best of places at all times. Hah. We have not seen a 5 star yet, well, I take that back...we did have a free stay in a really nice place in Auckland as a result of a contest win from Expedia, a pic of that bed coming up. We much prefer staying in apartments over impersonal hotels, but we have stayed in a bit of every catagory.

     To start, this is the bed that prompted me to start taking pictures. I hated it with a passion. Drum roll, please.....Guadalajara, Mexico.
     To get the real feel for this bed, you would also have to experience the fact that there was Christmas music playing outside at tremendous volume from 8:00-12:00 midnight, followed by some sort of Mexican disco music until 4:00 am. And this was well into January. Thank the lord, we only had 3 nights in it before we were so relieved to fly out to Auckland, NZ to our "prize" bed:
Can you picture me doing the happy dance? Cuz I was.

     My romance with this nest was short lived, however, since after 3 days we were picking up our camper van, which we would sleep in for the 21 days. Now, I can't say I hated this nest, because it was actually quite cosy. And there was no way to hate it as it allowed us to fully explore what has to be the most beautiful country in the world. But you know how it happens that you wake up in the middle of the night and really have to pee...and you simply pad into the bathroom? Yeah, that doesn't happen with this. First you fumble around to dress in the dark, not even being able to stand up, and then you walk in the dark to a bathroom. Without your glasses. Which are back in the van.
     We had mix of nests in Thailand. Too many to show all, since it will bore you to death, and Andy says my posts are too long anyway. (He protests vigorously at this)
Some good, like at the Berkeley Hotel Bangkok:
     Note the little thingie they put at the bottom? They do that in Asia. I can't imagine what the purpose is, first thing we do is remove it and throw it on the floor.

Some bad, like at this awful place in Chiang Mai:
     That second bed...it gets to share the award with the lovely Guadalajara bed for worst bed. We suffered through 2 nights. It was awful. I won't go into detail.

     Here is our first mosquito netted bed in Thailand, on our farmstay. We were in the mountains, and it was 90 degrees during the day, but at night the hostess would bring us 2 blankets....very cold.
Cute bed, though, huh?

And off to Japan! And wow! Now there was some good nesting!
And they even give you jammies!!!!
     Thats all for now. Maybe I will update again in a few months, but till then the thing I've learned is that its not the quality of the nest...its who you share it with that really makes it home.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Oh Tokyo, we hardly knew ye

     It was pouring when we got to Mt Fuji where a Brit that LuAnn spotted saved us from a long walk in the rain by calling our hostel to get us a ride, since the payphone at the station was busted. Yay for friendly strangers! I really have to get a VOIP app. Not having an actual phone has periodically been an inconvenience. Just when we had sort of given up on Fuji the sun came out, against all forecasts, and then clouded back up again almost immediately after. We're starting to think mother nature is helping us on purpose. Anyway that's when I got this photo. I can say without hesitation it was worth the effort to get there for the view. It was beautiful.
     It was still pretty cold up there so we opted to get the express train into Tokyo where we navigated to our hotel without incident, dropped our stuff and tried to make the most of our short stay. A short walk took us to Shinjuku-Goyen park and were completely knocked out by the Japanese gardens.
     From there we caught the train down to Shibuya, the Times Square of Tokyo. Heavy wow factor.
     After some killer sushi at Zanmai & some shopping we headed home & crashed out for the night.
    Next morning we got up and made our way to the Tokyo National Museum in the pouring rain only to meet two other couples there equally dismayed to find out that pretty much all the museums in Tokyo are closed on Mondays. It's Monday? F******K! I had actually looked at the website before but like many such things here it was kind of hard to interpret correctly. 

     We regrouped and went to one that was open, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum. It has no permanent collection and the major show there was some fairly amateur contemporary work which we enjoyed mocking mercilessly so it wasn't a total loss.

     We had a fabulous lunch at nearby Ueno station, which I have to recommend as a great part of Tokyo, and made our way to the Kabukiza Kabuki theater and got some last minute tickets for that day's show, which was Miura no Ôsuke Ôbai Tazuna.
    I got the English audio translation for LuAnn whilst I opted to read the synopsis and tried to figure out the Japanese. It was weird as snake suspenders, but hilarious. The costumes and sets were great but there wasn't much action. Mostly it was people sitting around dressed up and talking in exaggerated Japanese like every bad martial arts movie you ever saw. We both enjoyed it thoroughly. We are still trying to do something we've never done before every day and succeeding pretty well.

    We made our way to Isetan (I pronounce it I, Satan) and checked out the crazy huge food court & ate some dumplings then trudged through the rain to Golden Gai, a famous little street of tiny bars, where we had some drinks & fried snacks and met that seemingly rare thing in our world travels, another American couple! Aaron and his wife were from San Diego and a nice breath of air from home, so to speak.

   Tuesday we tried again for the museum and it was fantastic as expected. Had some noodles for lunch and headed home to relax before our trip to the robot restaurant. Dined at the local 'grill your own' place then headed out to the robot restaurant and holy cow, it was crazy fun. It's hard to describe so just click here: ロボットレストラン|トップページ

OK, so we're off to Bali. I'm going to miss Japan but the future beckons!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Kyoto to Nagoya and Mt Fuji

     Our last day in Kyoto we had lots to do. We walked around the center of Kyoto and saw the construction on the big temple, the koi fish in the moat and went in and bowed to the buddhas at the two huge temples there in the middle of town, Higashi Honganji and Nishi Honganji, the Eastern & Western temples.

     We then met up with our pal Takuo and had drinks, got him to his hotel in the pouring rain in a cab and just managed to find some food and drink before heading home to the hotel. He had some misadventures on his way back but it all turned out OK. The next day was amazing. I got up super early, too excited to sleep, but LuAnn got a good rest. We got ready and headed out to the geisha show!
The 66th Kyo Odorii ~ Traditional Spring Dance Festival in Miyagawa-cho! Here's a great explanation of Geishas, Geiko & Maiko, etc...

     We got there right on time and got herded into the tea room where they asked for a ticket I knew we didn't have, but they let us buy one anyway so we had tea and cake and watched the beautiful tea ceremony. It was fantastic and amazing but nothing compared to the ineffable spectacle we were about to witness.
     Through incredible stylized dance and music they told the story of the start of Kabuki. This is remarkable because Kabuki is male only, so it was wild seeing women portray it. I'll write more here about the story but it really defied description. There aren't enough superlatives. They didn't allow pictures so those are from the website.

It was a one-hour show in nine parts:

1 Maikos on their way to a new year's play talk of their favorite players
2 Izumono-Okuni becomes famous for her dance style called Yayoko-odori.
3 Sanzasa, a Samurai master of the spear, falls in love with her but war is coming.
4 Sanzasa leaves Okuni for war, leaving her his sword, which she dances with in her grief.
5 Dance celebrating 400 years of Kabuki
6 Sanza's spear and lion dance
7 Sukeroku, a samurai in disguise, seeks to avenge his father's killer
8 Dance celebrating the vegetables of Kyoto (?) Seems they are famous.
9 Miyagawa Ondo - the grand finale

     For more about about Sukeroku, the most famous kabuki-ka, and Kabuki in general click HERE
Meanwhile here's a pic of a Lion dancer:
     We decided afterwards to go to Heian shine and I'm so glad we did. As a shrine it was on par with the many others we have been to, although the torii gate was the biggest I have yet seen, but the garden was possibly the best yet in Kyoto for sheer size, depth and beauty.
     I was starting to stress that we would be late for the museum show so we wolfed down some food and tea at 7-11 and made our way via the subway to the National Museum again for the special exhibit on  Kano period painters. That site is in Japanese but click around anyway for the pictures!

     Holy cow, once again expectations were far surpassed. The paintings were beyond description (and price), and we all agreed that the later works of the Kano school were our favorites, notably those by Takanobu and Sadanobu. For more about them click HERE
     Thoroughly cultured up we made our way back to the Gion district but found our first choice of steak house booked solid. We settled on the next place down the line and while it was ridiculously pricey we were starved and therefore felt it well worth it. There is something about Japanese beef that makes it buttery and so tender.

     Moving on we went to the Blue Fir Bar, where Picasso memoribilia abounded but it was dead empty and they had a great stereo and a fab CD collection so we drank some more, had snacks and listened to Bill Evans. Another Japanese businessman showed up, chatted us up and guessed all our ages very flatteringly.

     We wrapped up the night by getting the subway back to our respective hotels, but on the platform in Kyoto we had a visit from Kokimo, apparently our Japanese Fairy Godmother! She came up and started talking to us and I think I managed to use just about every word and phrase I know in Japanese, to her evident and lasting delight. She complimented me profusely on my accent and my wife's beauty and explained that our ancestors had been friends and so we were similar souls, or something like that. It was all very surreal and lovely. All in all a fine last night in Kyoto.

Two nights in Nagoya:
     We took our first ride on the Shinkansen high speed train. Wow! Zoom! Top speed-200 mph. It was like being on a space ship. We got to Takuo's lovely apartment in no time and after a trip to the grocery store had our first home cooked meal in a while, then went out for hilarious karaoke! In Japan, the karaoke takes place in private rooms, so no worries about embarrassing ourselves.
     Next day we got LuAnn a haircut and headed into Nagoya for a trip to Nagoya Castle. It was predictably amazing, much grander than the one in Osaka. Much of it has been rebuilt since it was destroyed in WWII. We were really lamenting the destruction of war.
     After a great Japanese barbecue that we cooked right at our table and ordered through a touchscreen, we saw a great band rocking Herbie Hancock on the street, then headed home. Next day we were up and at 'em and made 5 train changes all the way to our digs in Mt Fuji. Alas the weather is so cloudy, cold and rainy you can't see a thing so we are regrouping, doing laundry and finally blogging all this!

     As always, please tell your friends about us, follow along on facebookinstagramtwitter, etc...?
Oh! Lately I've been posting little videos on YouTube as well! Many thanks for reading, following & spreading the word! Lots of Love!

Next up: Tokyo!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Further adventures in Kyoto Japan

Lordy! The time is going by so fast in Kyoto, Japan! We love it here so much!

     LuAnn hates it when I treat the blog like a diary but I can't help it. I'm old and I can't remember what I did yesterday so it helps me. However, to break up the "went here, did this, went there, did that" vibe, let's talk a little bit about Japan. The first thing that comes to mind is that people here are polite to a degree that makes Canadians look like a bunch of rude bastards. Seriously, it's amazing and wonderful and I wish it was more common in the world. 

     The toilets, oh, the toilets. One does occasionally see the old fashioned Asian squat toilet, especially in public places like train stations and parks, but mostly they are new and equipped like a 747 cockpit. Noise makers, bells, whistles, 5 kinds of spray and deodorizer, not to mention several levels of seat warming. Extraterrestrial!

     Considering the complexity of public transit here and the sheer volume of humanity using it one is dumbfounded by how well the whole thing seems to work. Everything runs on time and no one thinks twice about it. It makes NYC's look like a kindergarten train. Not only that but everything is spotlessly clean!

     Speaking of cleanliness, the streets and public spaces are almost completely trash free, despite the near total lack of trash cans anywhere. People seem to bring their trash with them and dispose of it at home. Where there are trash receptacles they are mostly huge, chest-high, pallet-sized wooden boxes which we gather are picked up by a machine at some point.

     Now to return to our doings. After the many adventures in Kyoto Station, Teramachi Street and around Pontocho in the previous post on April Fool's day we came home and crashed.

     Thursday 4/2 dawned sunny & beautiful and we went walkabout, covering about 10 miles, during which time we visited 
Konchi-in and Nanzen-ji temples and strolled down Philosopher’s Walk and had a delightful lunch. Thus refreshed we went on to Ginka-kuj and after to the Hachi Shrine.
     We then got the train back to Sanjo station and had our first real Japanese Sushi at Ganko Sanjo Honten 京都府京都市中京区三条通河原町東入中島町101
Kore wa oishii des!
     On Friday 4/3 we were mighty sore from walking and the weather report said 100% chance of thunderstorms but we went for it and headed off to Inari Shrine and the Tori Gates but it started raining pretty hard before we reached the top of the mountain. 

We headed back to the train and made our way to Sanjo station (where we had some nice soup at a local place) and thence to Kyoto National Museum where we soaked up some art and culture. 

      Saturday 4/4 we awoke to a forecast of 40% PM showers but we were ready for some more walking. After another breakfast of pillowy donuts of deliciousness and coffee from the local shop we headed to the Kyoto Botanical Garden.

     After the gardens we went next door to the Garden of Fine Art. Check out the video:

     Easter Sunday our favorite bakery was closed so it was Japanese egg McMuffins from Lotteria. Man, they put wasabi in everything here. Yikes! We headed out to get tix for the geisha show and an art show Tuesday with our buddy Takuo, then had some delicious udon noodles at Udon Sanshiki I had beef (niku) and LuAnn had shrimp and pumpkin tempura (ebi to kabocha). 

     After we hiked up to Kiyomizu temple which was all lit up for the sakura fastival but there were SO many people we couldn't take it so we bailed and bolted back to the hotel. And we thought the rain would make it a low key day? No. Another six miles walked. I am sensing a theme here.

As always, many more photos HERE and HERE

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Adventures in Osaka, Japan and on to Kyoto

     After a few hours' lay over in Kuala Kampur and a yummy breakfast at Dome at the airport there (which we HIGHLY recommend) we flew to Kansai airport in Osaka Japan. The more we travel around the world the worse New York City's airports look. Joe Biden was right. The airports in NYC (and Newark) are an abomination. Fix 'em already! it's New York City. It's embarrassin'!

     Moving on, Kansai (KIX) in Osaka was delightful, though it was some of the slowest immigration I've seen.  I dunno what took so long but it took forever and we missed the last train. Good news tho! We met Kirei, a lovely fellow who not only shared our cab (halving the price) but without whom we never would have found our hotel since it was in the Non-English-Speaking cab driver's GPS. This is apparently because the Daiwa Roynet hotel in Osaka is so new and unbelievable fantastic. Comfy beds & bedding, super nice staff, and the bath! We knew how high tech the japanese toilets are, but being introduced to them after Thailand's..uh, not so high tech toilets, was quite a welcome change. And we had a deep tub, something else missing from our lives in the last 4 months, so the first thing the wifey-poo did was soak, and then put on the kimono pj's every hotel leaves for you.

     So, our one day in Osaka we braved the trains to Osaka Castle and walked around all day. Being in front of a huge train schedule that is mostly japanese was also another challenge to be reckoned with. It was grand and beautiful and the cherry blossoms were kickin'! Some girls were playing volleyball and got their ball stuck way up in a tree and I gallantly climbed up and freed it. It was a lot higher than it looked from the ground and I ain't gonna lie; it was terrifying LOL As a reward they gave me cookies! So yummy!
   In wildlife adventures we saw a big murder of HUGE crows! Twice as big as the biggest I'd ever seen. Maybe they were ravens? I dunno but we all had a nice long chat. They gave LuAnn the jibblies LOL

     Anyhow, we made it back to our hotel and went out for some food. Holy cow, the things we get into. We bypassed all the English menu places (which I try to make a habit of now) since it's a lot more fun and surprising to take my extremely rudimentary Japanese out for a spin. One really drunk guy kept saying "HI!" when we walked past so we skipped that place (even though it was packed, and went into a quieter Soba noodle shop. Nothing doing, soon as they heard me speaking Japanese and found out we were from NY everyone was all smiles. One older salaryman, already well lubed kept buying us drinks and food,  and then when we tried to leave insisted on taking us to his friend's Italian place. Following him around from bar to restaurant was hilarious and we all got rather lit. Keep in mind he spoke very limited english. God knows what all we ate and drank but finally it became evident he was working up to hitting on LuAnn (and maybe me too?) so we said our goodbyes and split. Which is really not easy in Japan, since there is a complex code of politeness.

     Next morning we packed it and moved it, again braving the complex train system and eventually making it to Seta, just outside of Kyoto, on a semi-rainy/cloudy day. Couldn't check in until 3PM so again into a noodle place, this time for Soba again, and again had a great meal but this time no crazy drunks. Back to the hotel to find out we only have a single room. Uh-oh. Fortunately it's big enough for two so I paid for the extra person (that's the wifeypoo) and we set out for Kyoto again and made it to the Pontcho district with cherry blossoms galore and tons of great food and such. This time we had Negiyaki, a Kyoto concoction of egg, beef, baby shrimp, etc, etc, between two pancake type things. Tasty! They actually had an English menu but it was the chef (who called himself Mr Teriyaki) who invited us in. He and his wife Aki were very flattering about my Japanese. Maybe I'm getting it after all?

     Next up we went into a place where literally no one spoke English, the menu was hand printed Japanese (written vertically, top to bottom) so now was the real test. Sure enough I managed to order vegetable tempura and kobe beef, both amazing, plus pickled baby squid with ginger. The kobe beef melted in your mouth, and was just the slightest bit seared. Wild times, kids.
     "You start thinking you speak the language when you order beer and they don't bring you oysters" Julia Child's husband Paul used to say, but I'm happy I got what I wanted. Really gotta try harder to learn to read Japanese though. They are so polite they clearly are very sorry not to speak English. LOL. In fact I would say that 'Sorry' (in both English and Japanese) is probably the word I hear most when walking around. Not to me, you understand, just in general.

     I hope we can see some Kabuki theater and the Geisha show while we're here. Tomorrow is the Philospher's Walk so I'm for bed. Hopefully I can throw in some pix and post this since I know LuAnn will want to write  a post on the those other things. Cheers!