Family and animal-friendly oasis welcomes eyes and minds thirsty for some rest, bath, grill and good sunsets. Rörö`s spacious beaches echo laughter of young crab hunters and the surrounding long and beautiful coastal rock paths are conquered by the dilligent climbers. The view is rewarding and on the beautiful day the known picture is hanged up again on the horisont: white triangles on the sea – one more good sailing day.
The wind sends some violent guffs on the Rörö island, but then it is just a matter of skill of finding a good position between the rocks. No need to be unecessarily exposed to the wind, just like Don Juan taught Castaneda.:) Better to wait for still hours to reappear and then there will be time for a game of sand volleyball on the court nearby before the local gathering on the most popular place: barbecue booth. Coal is geting warm and meat and sticks spin as a reward for being so sporty during the day.
The ferry takes people and cars between Rörö and other neighbouring island pearls. On one of them, Källö Knippla, the local pizza and kebab restaurant serves match beer on football game evenings. The island`s lovely colourful houses are a paradise for eyes, with green mowns and gardens. Some of the tenants are specially lucky as being the owners of the bathing peers, from where the stairs lead further over the rocks with an amazing view. Othervise, it is just as fine to head for numerous public bathing places, that are often equiped with tables and benches for breakfast or grill meal.
Back in the harbour helpful and friendly young staff helps anyone with boat problem and the dogs lead their common barking dialogue. Mini golf, bowling and tennis players are busy with one more game and the brave sunbathers resist the wind by laying flat on their boats. Everyone is doing their job while the Scandinavian summer is in full swing.
For an experienced sailor, a strong wind from the right direction is a very good companion. 7 knots of speed, for example, can make a 5 hour sailing trip from Gullholmen south to Marstrand into a surpising 2-hour-tour. The sails obey and pull the boat southwards, as the gray and red rocks pass by with lanterns or birds on top. The sea foam follows the boat on the open sea as it approaches Marstrand harbour with the famous fortress first in sight.
In the beginning of July Marstrand is full of international boats and various activities – it is time for the annual regatta, Sweden Match Cup. Dozens of people sit on the rocks along the coast and watch the sailing catamarans competing in skill and speed. They have their breakfast of lunch from the popular local bakery and take a walk via the stone paths towards the Carlsten fortress. The famous castle dating four centuries back is today a historical museum that tells the story of Nordic kings, prisoners, local thieves and everyday life of Sweeds back then.
There is a beautiful view from the castle walls down to the harbour and nature paths that start from the fortress and go through the neighboring forest. The forest paths are covered by the tree roots and, just as Peter Wohlleben explained it in his book “The Secret Life of Trees”, the “Wood-Wide-Web” of communication between trees, roots, plants and mushrooms creats a healthy forest symbiosis, where each and every part of the forest system is valued and has something to contribute with; even a tree that has from the very beginning been deteriorated due to the strong wind and harsh nature, helps and supports their neighouring trees by stretching its healthy branches and sending signals when the danger approaches. At the same time, according to Wohlleben’s book, its awkwardly shaped body will be supported by the healthier trees next to it. When one think about human society and the way it is organized today, one could get an idea that people have lots to learn from trees.
Marstrand has thus a lot to offer and it is no wonder people of all age and walks of life like to come here. From nature world via sports and good sea food to night life in local pubs, this little place is good to come to when the storm is announced and a boat searches for a harbour for a few nights.
Leaving Marstrand, it is possible to see regatta from the sea angle but also meet beautiful big wooden ships on the way to another ship gathering as they move one after another on the sparkling blue surface.
Gullholmen covers the east side of the versatile Hermanö island on the southwest coast of Sweden. Walking down the narrow paths, island streets by the name Gaten (“The Street”) or Hamnen (“The Harbour”), curious eyes can be mirrored in maritime-like decorated windows and verandas of the cute houses painted in the approved colours of blue, red, white and pink.
Wood and ropes, fenders and anchors, old style cloth and wise Latin inscriptions on the house walls could remind many visitors to enjoy the precious life and all that really counts in it; by the end of the day, little can match the warmth and light of one`s cosy home, safety provided by the four walls and the roof above and it does not have to be luxury at all. Good old wood, simple solid door and a goodhearted candle would do.
Gullholmen is animal friendly place and here and there a cat or a dog can be found between the colourful flowers and grass enjoying its time before or after the meal.
Gaten and Hamnen join other Gullholmen’s roads and flow over the common yards and private houses often to end up on the wooden pier that opens the view over the boat harbour by the same name. The harbour itself, however, can be reached by crossing a wooden pedestrian bridge which connects Gullholmen to the rest of the Hermanö. Here one can find cosy cafés, small galleries that sell manmade maritime art, local grossary shop, a post box and a popular icecream kiosk that sells different flavours, from classic vanilla to chilly lacrice or egg punch. Further towards the west there is a big green playground for children, a football field and signs that point towards the paths over the rocky coast, which is very typical for Sweden and Nordic countries in general. The west cost is open for the North sea and its winds but is also welcoming towards those that dare to bath when they are up for it.
Sailing further south and leaving Gullholmen, many international boat flags will surely come for a visit again to enjoy this beautiful spot, with all its charm and cosiness.
“There is no tomorrow, there’s only now
and when you think about it so much left to do…”
(“Motorpsycho” : “Go to California”)
The sky is pink and yellowish in Pomona and the dusk is approaching. The police cars are in place to check here and there who is driving along the broad avenues this evening. Talkative and friendly, they still do not forget what their badge is telling them and double check when holding this unusual foreign ID that really might be a driving licence. It feels like summer weekend, it`s just that it`s not. One could bet it always feels like summer weekend in L.A.
It looks like Californian peninsula shaped the attitude of its residents – even on the vast highways in this huge city where having a car is absolutely necessary, everyone seems to be relaxed and down to ground. Yes, one can be an hour or two late for a meeting from time to time, but people understand it can happen. Just like an earthquake can happen. Or better said, you never know WHAT can happen! So Californians really seem to be living today and the future can wait (maybe elsewhere, when the time comes to get settled, think about real estate and pension..)
In the meantime- there is this life to live and enjoy. LA looks like a sandwich in the daylight; blue (sky) above, green (trees and bushes) in the middle, with the mix of blue (sea) and yellow (sand, dessert) below. And with green and brown around (mountains); yes, just like a sandwich on the plate and the plate has the green and brown edges. When the morning arrives above the Pomona and the car sets out on the road, the palm trees tremble in the light wind and their leaves reflect sunshine rays. The feeling of summer is still here and it is still okay to enjoy, no rush and no panic. (Yet.)
The wind gets pleasantly stronger on the highlands above the Malibu beach where the ocean crushes into the rocks and the sand water hits those who step in for a good bath.
Timelapse from Malibu Beach
Further away a colony of whales and seals play in the water, diving in and out and making the foamy surface. It is a natural theatre play of water and fauna and the viewers from the hills are enjoying this moment, commenting on the whales behaviour, habits and all the awesome whale stuff they learned about. Baby kids are screaming ecstatically as another wave calms down and still manages to wash their little feet. The sunshine is warm and good and it shines over the blue surface with all its strongest powers. Some climbers are almost reaching the hills top. Up there, the spring flowers are hiding bumblebees and yellow colour is ruling the plateau.
The Point Dume gives you the best of the views and your eyes are soon filled with Blue…as are of those that many highway kilometers away sit at the Santa Monica city beach, watching the roller skaters and bikers spinning those wheels. (Lunch break tomorrow over there.) Yes, this day will be good and long as well. Many hours will pass until the sun sets behind the green Hollywood hills. Take your time.
¡Buenos días! Morning sun rays are spreading down the Paseo de la Habana. Winter has finally given up. The Iberian blue is spreading above for those that stept out in the street heading for the Saturday morning loaves, as if awarding them for the choice they made. The choice of getting up earlier, before 10 o`clock, when most of the others are still sound asleep or lazily planning tonight`s party or simply elbowing in the crowd with everyone else.
The bus is less frequent than on working days; maybe it would also gladly leave all the work for mañana. As it rolls it wheels towards the Plaza de Cibeles, it is actually possible to hear the recorded voice saying the name of the bus stops. Every Monday however the lively and excited talks onboard will again fill the space and Madrid`s living organism is back on working track; people and their energy, words and laughter make that 3rd biggest EU city`s blood, vessels and hormons! But during Saturday morning the good organism is taking it slowly, quietly – the bus machine can have its five minutes of fame.
The bus passes green areas and wonderful, magnificent buildings! The bus cannot reach and show all the somewhat hidden cobblestone streets and museums, but hey – the whole city is a museum itself; just walking and looking…it`s enough. The unusal corners, balconies and ornamented street name plates are nothing but impressive museum exponates.
Gran Via shopping street got a new baby last year: super modern “Primark” shopping mall is about to open in five minutes. The queues are made from all the sides, ladies mostly, but also some gentlemen that act as if they are actually “not there”: looking at the bus timetable, checking their phone, just by chance taking the best strategic place in front of the…ooo it is opening now! The big metal curtain is rising up and the music is on! The escalators are running again (no mañana for them!) and everyone is in (both genders, just to confirm the small doubt from before). And many already know where to head; they are walking around with some intentions, with the naturally timed steps, as walking towards the home bathroom from the living room. Look at them. Some people are born for shopping sport.
Noon is coming closer and people take their kids to The Buen Retiro Park. The little ones have already made their wish list in their smart little heads and know what to ask first: ice cream and candies! Or no – maybe to see that funny doll talking to everyone and making everyone laugh behind that funny stage wall? No, no! Rowing in the park lake – yes! That will be the wish no.1. Ok, maybe with an icecream. Yes, rowing with an icecream. And later we maybe get a dog as well. Everyone has one here. And that glass house. When we buy sugar foam, we can go to the glass house (Crystal Palace, grown up`s note).
After a good lunch and drink at..anywhere in Madrid!…the afternoon football match is about to start. Time for local beer and good Spanish gin and tonic and nails biting, for those that really believe football can be…okay okay, I respect the passion:-) But you know the joke when the guy is really late for the game, and after hearing the score is 0:0, he phews: “Good, I haven`t missed anything!”:-) But yes, a big respect for the supporters of “Real Madrid” and all their competitors. That passion can maybe only be compared to the flamenco steps.
The night has fallen and the stage is dark. The red female and male shoes step on the dusty floor. Long dress, scarf and hair are quiet and when the crying gipsy voice starts to sing about love in Spanish in so much life/death passion that suddenly everyone can understand Spanish, the shoes hit the beat of the heart, the darkness mixes with red and blue and everyones circulation in the room is soon synchronized with the ordered rythm. Flamenco, the raw dance of life, expresses that point when life and death meet, when the death is integrated as a life part.
Plaza Mayor cannot be more crowded than this time of night; midnight is approaching and everyone is up! Animal protectors and political activists, tourists and some local bachelor party guys! Elbow or go home! Noone seems to give up; everone is the crowd. Yes, Madrid crowd late at weekend night. A dynamic organism in the Madrid`s heart. A big one. ¡Hasta Mañana!
You could say you feel pretty honoured after meeting The Big Apple, or just all right, or maybe even indifferent, but in any case small is unavoidable feeling. Not small, insignificant small, more like getting a perspective what a world metropola does to an individual. So it should. Because it is big. It is huge. It is vast. And it welcomes everyone.
I wonder what some ancient NYC characters would think of their city today. Like those Gangs of New York and first generation citizens and first generation immigrants…How would they perceive the change, the growth and the new New York face? Since change is absolutely necessary for any type of growth and development in this universe, everyone needs to accept it as such. So if someone does somehow (time travel machine soon to be invented if not already?) hear something from the lads mentioned above, he/she is very welcome to leave a comment in the field under this text. I wonder what they might think, but have to turn to the present and the begining of this story.
So – first meeting with the Big Apple today. Yes, yes, history and change, one can be a bit delayed and visit it not before this century, so it is good to stop for a bit in the middle of the Big Avenues and acknowledge the surroundings. “You see, NYC, here I am. I am putting my name on the forever list of your visitors. I am bringing my old little world to you, The Centre of the World. Brought it with me in my 20 kg luggage. (1 kg= 2,20 lbs). Can be a bit heavy, that one, but I am curious and I want to see what you have to offer to make my old little world richer.”
Everyone is swimming with everyone, in the crowd. Coffee in the hand, card swipe and shopping bags. Books (!) and smart phones in the subway. Easy flowing accent, buzz and – wake up! One guy almost fell from his subway seat; the loooong looong working hours away from home, getting up early, sleeping never enough, salary never enough, worries never lacking. `Tis tough, but he stays in the New York City. Times will change. Times are changing. New York is the center of the world (change) today.
So pick your borough, one to live in, one to work in, one to meet friends. Be that change. Contribute. Yes, admit – you are small. But New York has big ears. If you give up today – continue tomorrow. That`s life. Flow and change. And if you want to hear the first news, if you maybe see yourself asthe part of the news, stay. Give yourself a chance. Bite that Apple, or something like that. New Yorker, this word – it makes you think?
10 hours and 10 minutes – that is how long it took to reach Emirates. Again, we could not rely on our phone watches; we had to “eat” some extra hours on our “journey to the West”. Once we landed, it took some time with the visa paperwork so our luggage was one of the last to be picked up from the belt at the almost deserted airport. It was middle of the night, or better said around 3.00 am. Of course we could not afford ourselves to sleep, although watching movies in the airplane kept us awake most of the time during the flight.
So we checked in a super hotel and got a room at 47th floor. We watched the dawn breaking from huge windows and Dubai with its modern architecture in the middle of the desert waking up. Feeling was unreal. We felt pretty much like in the twilight zone, mostly because of jet lag, that we up until today (our 2nd day back home in Oslo) still have not cured properly. Yes, still wide awake at 04.00 am and very tired by 08.00 pm. 🙂
After breakfast in a restaurant on the 42nd floor (you get pretty high in Dubai!:), we decided to see the city before our eyes betray us and brains fall asleep. We went to Burj Khalifa, the biggest building in the world. 828 metres in height and 163 floors! Wow! You can imagine the view from there.
Even more amazing is to look at it from the outside, compared to the other small buildings of only few hundred metres. It was a giant! Worth visit. Forgot to mention the temperature. It was 45 degrees, give or take. We survived but do not know how.:) Take into account that we were “walking zombies” that day. But we did enjoy our stop over there. We also got one-day-metro tickets and took a long ride to the other side of the city. Dubai Marina was nice to discover with its promenade, harbour and boats, but the heat sent us soon back to the metro and its A/C.
We actually wanted to see much more of Dubai, but time was limited and we took this as a small bite that will motivate us to come again and enjoy the city`s night sights as well. We did not see much of those this time, as we were fast asleep the rest of the day and all the way until 02.00 am again, when the taxi took us to the airport and another flight of 7 hours++ that took us home to Norway.
We arrived safely, full of impressions and pretty proud how well it all went. This was a great adventure and we want to visit these countries again and again:
-Hong Kong with it`s perfect clear and organized enviroment!
-China, a special place where we met for the first time, has thousands of places yet to show us!
-Korea – we want to see more of you and enjoy your great food! Yes, we will learn more of the language next time:)
-Japan- Mt Fuji, gomen nasai, we could not wait for the fog to go away and to finally meet you in person-next time!
-Dubai- this was a short and sweet visit and you still owe us those night lights!
So, like so many times before, we have to close these travel door in order to open new ones. Thanks for keeping up with us and the good comments that we discovered during the trip.:)
During our stay back in Kyushu and Shikoku we used to check some Japanese TV channels. The most frequent programmes seemed to be sumo wrestling contests (non stop on Channel 1!) , TV dramas with samurai and elegant Asian ladies and – weather forecasts. Tokyo played the main role in the last mentioned; extremely hot temperature in the capital made lots of people search for refreshments in the swimming pools or city fountains and it was regularly broadcasted as such, to prepare us for the Tokyo`s heat. Once we stepped on the platform, extremely hot air immediately replaced AC fans that we felt on our faces during the chilled and pleasant trip.
Again very good directions from our Japanese host took us quickly to the appartment we were goin to live in. It was situated in Tokyo East, with a nice view on a river from the 7th floor. We decided to start «feeling the city» the same day and headed for Shinjuku. Well. We can say that we came to be a bit ignorant about the area, almost innocent.:) Someone called it Tokyo`s Red Light District: Girl Bars, fishy karaoke closed clubs, men standing outside and saying it to your face: «…(something in Japanese)….blah blah..it`s a beer garden!» Or «tatata…English menu»..hmm menu for what?:) We ate in the neighbourhood and ended up in a sports bar, small but full of foreigners (same devastated souls like us, have no idea where to go) and Japanese eager darts competitors. We sippped our beer and looked at the darts flying here and there and listened to the cheers of the excited locals. We also went to check where our «ROBOT RESTAURANT» was, as we would be having a dinner and a blast there the next evening. It was in the same area, very colourful, with pictures of manga ladies with guns and underwear, really awesome haha.
Our first Tokyo morning started with a breakfast in the neigbouring zen park, opened for people back in 1930-ties and visited by local joggers and pensionists. Quiet morning there with some proteins, carbos and coffee was a great start of another hot day in the city.
We were soon heading for the Imperial Palace Park with our subway one-day-pass in hands. Extreme heat was really unbearable, but we manage to fight it with cold C vitamine and ION drinks from those awesome automats, where you put your few hundred yen coins in and get your treat by the juice robot. Traditional fans were also helping a lot. The park is huge, nice, clean and green and Palace- invisible for the average non-royal mortals. You can see the old palace walls and ruins of the fortress from before.
Soon it was time for…»just like honey»…the famous scramble street crossing of Shibuya (you probably watched «Lost in Translation») with millions of people around made us swim forever to reach some shore on the other side. But which side? Tokyo made us often stand by the road as people and cyclists were rushing by, wandering where to go, taken away by all the huge buildings, billboards, lights and buzz! And then at some point you decide, ok let`s go there, and then you simply need to throw yourself into that people stream that flows forever in all directions (scrambled, indeed!). As the dusk was slowly covering city and all in it, we went back to Shinjuku and bravely joined the excited robot show crowd…
Ahhh what to say about theee ROBOT RESTAURANT! Crazy thing! First, you are put in some golden, extremely golden and bright coloured waiting lounge, and they sell you beer and popcorn and kids stuff (yes, it is a children-friendly Shinjuku show:). In the beginning everyone around was whispering «wtf» with mouth and eyes wide open as it has been a while since this kind of surrounding was cool. Like, «Power Rangers» cool. But do not let screaming Indians with rainbow hair and Oriental music take you back; soon it will start to be – hilarious! All kind of huge animals and robots filled the stage and fought with their heads and tales and fire and smoke above our dinners and beers and popcorn! And its all screams, and loud music and a real circus! And yes, you do get a light stick! Soon you find yourself crying to tears and laughing. You have your blast. And robots, the are really cool. They are huge and they dance and have funny scary faces. Some guys with a T-shirts saying «Robot staff» where manually controlling some of them with radios. Yeah, robot show!
We really needed to have a good rest after the robot show:) The next morning started in the same good manner: we got our breakfast and coffee in the local «Life» supermarket, where we and pensionists shop every morning. These older people are amazing and it is no wonder this country has so many 100-year olds! They cycle and hang out with friends and do shopping and are so active! Wanna be like them when I grow up!:) Some smiled to us in the shop; maybe they recognized us from the morning before? We became a part of the morning shopping team, it seemed.
Our next stop was Akihabara, the Electronic City. We spent there a few hours and Kjartan got his camera and we saw some robots and played video games. Lots of tourists, but fun to see. The afternoon was spent in another blinking and fancy area: Ginza. We experienced an extreeeeme rush in the subway in Ginza. It is 24 rush hours per day over there! Crazy! Don`t get lost! We had a lovely dinner on the 15th floor of a building looking down on the small people and small cars, wonderful ambiental music surrounding us as we sipped our shochu cocktail. We managed to hide in the building during the afternoon rain shower and discovered this oasis. That is when we actually completed the previous post.:)
Last night we went to the cool Tokyo area: Omote sando. We had beer and tortillas with parmesan cheese in the hippy outside student garden of a place called «Commune 243». What a wonderful ending of a relaxing day, we thought.
And then we received an email from Emirates welcoming us on board. Cool, we can check in online already now. And then we found out how much this summer made us carried away. We forgot to apply for the UAE visa! Darn! Drama started, calling here, checking there. Little sleep and forever- long train ride «as early as possible» to the Narita airport. Calling again, scanning passports, checking new flight companies in the meantime. Terribleeee. And 2 hours ago Emirates called, confirmed that we are eligible for visa and issued boarding tickets! We got happy and relieved like never before!! We can get on board tonight and spend a few hour in Dubai after all! It will be a short stop in UAE before we come home to Norway in 2 days. Greeting from Narita airport! k&d
Strolling to the tram with all the luggage, heading for the train-station in Kumamoto, this surely felt like to be another hot day, maybe even with a few more surprises? It started well, the tram from last century was punctual as usual. Arigato gosaimasssss.
Our plan was to head for the scenic route over Mt. Aso to Beppu before heading by ferry to Shikoku and a ryokan in Dogo Onsen. Mt. Aso is a gigantic volcano with 100km circumference and 5 active peaks, while Beppo, located quite close, has a vast array of onsen spas with hot water. The train was full, only 1 seat left later in the day. Replanning in 2 seconds, next stop Matsuyama and Dogo Onsen via Okoyama. The train network in Japan is amazing. We had a short stop in Okoyama, so we quickly grabbed an ekiben for lunch as the landscape was flying by towards Dogo. Ekiben is a railway lunchbox with various combinations of pickles, rice, cold meat or fish dishes. It comes ready with chopsticks and wet tissue, excellent on the go!
Dogo spa is about 30 minutes ride from the train station in Matsyama, again with trams that would be in museums anywherelse in the world. Our ryokan was a bit hidden behind large spa’s and hotels, but only a few minutes walk. Very cosy and extremely friendly and helpful staff. The room was traditional as it can be, large and spacious, covered with tatamis and with covered balconies. Kjartan’s head discovered that the roof was quite low a few places in the room (sturdy low hanging wooden beams). Hopefully no permanent damage. On a positive side, these beams and all wooden interiour gave a pleasent cypress scent to the room. This smell has followed us all over Japan, in ryokans and ancient temples and castles.
In Dogo there is a famous spa, Dogo Onsen Honkan, which was the model bath house in Studio Ghibli’s “Spirited Away”. It looks really nice, but we chose to go to our ryokan`s private onsen instead. Quite small, but very warm and pleasant. You have to make sure to take pauses with some cold water not to get a heat stroke.
This onsen was a perfect refreshment as we had visited a beautiful Matsuyama Castle Museum the same day when the temperature reached around 35++ degrees!
During the night we experienced some vibrations that resembled a fast train passing, only to find out in the morning that there was two minor earthquakes. Actually, the host did not even notice as it is so common, but other guests confirmed.
Next stop Kyoto! The traditional ground pillar of Japan, historically the capital for more than thousand years before Tokyo took its turn. Arriving, it was quite straight forward to find the hostel, great directions from our host. It was a shock to find that Kyoto was so full of foreigners. First impression was that it felt like the least Japanese city so far. People were very frequently walking on the “wrong” side of the street (right side) compared to the rest of Japan. We headed out for dinner in the direction of the Nishiki fish market. Most of the stalls had closed down, so sampling the remaining scraps was not very tempting. However, just at one of the entrances to the market, we found an excellent restaturant/bar playing Japanese hits from the 80’ties. Full of locals and families enjoying udon, takayaki and other grilled foods. Apart from a few smokers, the place had a very nice athmosphere and is highly recommended for anyone happen to be in the area.
Smoking in restaurants and bars is actually quite common in Japan and there are many public smoking areas and rooms. This is a big contrast to the rest of the world these days. Another thing we noticed here is that are very few garbage bins in public. Surprisingly, the streets are very clean and there is a big recycling awareness.
The next day, inspired by a very good Norwegian newspaper article, we wanted to see the more traditional Kyoto (“as Japanese as it can be”) and headed for the hills dotted with temples and shrines. We climbed a mountain with thousands of torii’s (red gates used as entrances in Shinto temples).
It was special even if the place was full with tourists. However we found a nice path exiting the torii and lead up to the peak through the forrest instead. This was a highlight, walking through a mix of cypress and bamboo forrests. There were lots of shrines along the way and very few people. At the very top, we entered the torii galore again and strolled down the mountain.
The rest of the day we where walking alongside the eastern hills, visiting temples and the Gion district where geishas live and work. It should be said that this area is full of geisha wannabees that takes selphies and say “Waah!” (“Wow!”) here and there. We did manage to spot one real geisha in an alley that prepared the street in front of a very discreet entrance as the evening approached.
The next day we headed for Osaka on a one day trip. Osaka can’t be accused for being a beautiful city. However it seems to have been growing fast for practical purposes. It has several interesting areas for different merchandise. Small businesses are thriving and people are very friendly.
Osaka was once the capital of Japan and plays a very important role for trade, culture, handicraft and other merchandise. We went to Den Den Town, Osaka’s answer to Akihabara (Tokyio`s “Electronic City”) as well as Namba, probably one of the busiest commuting and shopping areas in the world. Even if the place was bustling with people walking here and there, the extremely kind and helpful station officers light up on the chance to help a lost foreigner on their way. Our officer jumped and reached for something in his little square pocket purse. We thought he was reaching for his reading glasses, but instead he produced a map neatly folded in many layers to eagerly show us the way.
By chance while looking for a big temple in Osaka, we found a smaller one called Isshinji Temple. It was actually very interesting and worth to see. It had thirteen Bhudda statues made of ashes of more than 200 000 people. We entered the temple during one of the ceremonies and saw people that came here and got calligraphy prayers written by monks to pay tribute to their buried ancestors. Really special place, both cemetary and sanctuary.
The next day we finally took a train between Japan`s most famous cities: Kyoto – Tokyo. We are writing this on a top floor restaurant in the bustling capital that never sleeps. We are a bit delayed posting this due to temporary loss of Internet connection (who would think that in Tokyo!), so a new story is coming in the next episode very very soon! Photos as well.
Greetings from k&d in Tokyo, the Power House of Japan! 🙂