Japan Fam Tour
June 5-11, 2005

The fam trip started in Vancouver where I met the rest of the group and got my boarding pass and then we boarded the JAL flight for Tokyo. Our seats were on the top of the Jumbo 747 and although not business, because of the smaller capacity it was quieter, and really quite nice. Our flight out of Vancouver was around 10 hours and we landed in Tokyo the next day. It was the first time I was on a JAL flight and I did enjoy the food and the snacks along the way.

Picture courtesy
of Normand

Japan is a much quieter country than China - that was first evidenced by the lack of horns honking and people shouting. Our first hotel, the Airport Marroad, was only minutes from the airport and after getting our rooms, we all went out again to check out some local shopping rather than risk the thought of falling asleep before dinner. It was a good move as after a Japanese dinner we were all ready for bed. Of course, with these fams, you are never in one hotel for more than a couple of nights so you end up living out of your suitcase but they want you to experience as much as you can in a short time and that means moving about.

June 7 Tokyo - Mt. Fuji - Hakone

After breakfast, again Japanese and nothing like what we are used to, but good anyway, we headed to Sensoji or Asakusa Kannon Temple. There was also a pretty garden beside the temple so after visiting it I headed over to see what the garden looked like. The Temple was completed in 645 and just outside the gates of the Temple you will find all kinds of stalls selling souvenirs...of course you just had to visit them. http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3001.html

Everywhere you look you find little nuggets of gold, like the tiny little pond with fish or the stone sign in front of a restaurant, but one of the most delightful sights was that of the little wagon full of children on their way for a stroll, their little green hats spilling over the sides in anticipation. Our guide, Sebastian, told us that the people who look after these children are all nurses and have just two children to look after. .

We were now heading towards the Ginza area of Tokyo, famous for it's elegant shops and neon lights. I took shots of a restaurant showing some of the meals they serve, a chandelier on the outside of the entrance to a shop, and a little florist shop. I bought some beautiful fans in one of the shops while here.

The next pictures really made us chuckle - there is nothing that you cannot find in a vending machine. They ended up being one of the highlights of our short trip - seeing what the vending machines held each time we stopped for gas...we were on our way to Mt. Fuji now, just stopping for lunch - I am showing you some of the meals we ate as well as some of the hotels we stayed at.

The countryside is very beautiful, very lush and green, at least where we were headed through a national park and to Mt. Fuji, standing 3,776 metres tall. My first experience at seeing rice fields was here. Rice is very important and Sebastian told us that if we have to leave any food on the plate, leave anything but rice ... the rice paddies you see are only about a week old. They are flooded like this and as it matures the fields go dry. It takes about 88 days for a crop and they can get about five crops off a year. At the New Century Hotel that we stayed at, we slept on traditional beds called a futon on the floor on a mat called a tatami and in the morning my room faced onto Mt. Fuji. We also ate Japanese style and all of us were wearing the same outfit called a yukata. After dinner many took in the spa at the hotel and many just went to sleep!





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