Japan and China

[Pardon the incomplete report but we only had time for a few pictures without a lot of text - more to come later, hopefully ...]

Visiting Japan (for the first time)

Mangled English signs are everywhere in Asia - some of them quite amusing.
click for larger picture click for larger picture

Most of the Tokyo imperial palace is closed to tourist except on the emperor's birthday.

click for larger picture

Many cars (taxis in particular) have big rear-view mirrors mounted on the front of the hood.

click for larger picture

The Beatles and Starbucks are quite popular in Japan, apparently.

click for larger picture click for larger picture

The Pork Chop meets a friend.

click for larger picture

The inside of a Tokyo Starbucks.

click for larger picture

The live and mechanized versions, side by side.

click for larger picture

We didn't see any "Staleness Burger" restaurants, fortunately.

click for larger picture

Relaxing in one of the many beautiful Tokyo parks.

click for larger picture click for larger picture

The Porkster asked for directions to the tea house for us.

click for larger picture click for larger picture

The (in)famous Yasukuni shrine and the adjacent war museum.

click for larger picture click for larger picture

We had absolutely wonderful sushi near the fish market - and it was actually quite inexpensive!

click for larger picture click for larger picture

Watch out for the "Mighty Cars" when walking through the fish market!

click for larger picture click for larger picture

Ginza is a very busy place.

click for larger picture

Some subway cars (at certain times of the day) are "women only".

click for larger picture click for larger picture

The famous Takeshita street.

click for larger picture

Having fresh fish in a little dive near Ginza - wonderful food!

click for larger picture

We took the fastest bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto - what an experience!

click for larger picture click for larger picture

The Kyoto train station is an amazing structure, topped with a "Happy Terrace".

click for larger picture click for larger picture click for larger picture

Gambling is not legal in Japan, so Pachinko must not be gambling.

click for larger picture

It's important to take time out for refreshments.

click for larger picture

These kids were practicing their English in front of one of Kyoto palaces - very cute!

click for larger picture

The numerous palaces are wonderful places of quiet, in the middle of the bustling city.

click for larger picture click for larger picture

It seems like many people in Japan are not getting enough sleep at night.

click for larger picture

In case you need an explanation of where to point your cigarette.

click for larger picture

The main imperial palace in Kyoto (which is one the most famous landmarks) is generally closed to the public.

click for larger picture

We ran into groups of uniformed school children everywhere.

click for larger picture

Zen gardens are wonderful places.

click for larger picture click for larger picture click for larger picture

Walking the Philosopher's Walk.

click for larger picture

Kyoto has a small but very nice subway system.

click for larger picture

It's a mystery how a car with a Czech country sticker ended up in a Kyoto garage.

click for larger picture

The displays of available dishes are quite cute (and a very practical idea).

click for larger picture

Getting sushi for the bullet train ride back to Tokyo.

click for larger picture

What a wonderful way to travel - much nicer than flying.

click for larger picture click for larger picture

We were not the only ones to pack a sushi lunch for the train ride.

click for larger picture


Back in China (again)


This time Eshaia had a chance to visit Xi'An and see the famous terra-cota warriors.

click for larger picture click for larger picture
click for larger picture click for larger picture

We visited southern China and saw a Chinese-style cave (yes, there were many neon tubes tossed on the ground throughout the caves).

click for larger picture click for larger picture

The karst formations in this part of the country are really beuatiful.

click for larger picture

We shared the obligatory Li river cruise without about half a million other tourists, it seemed.

click for larger picture

These little guys would hook up to the big tourist boats and either sell chickens and other things to the cooks, or hawk trinkets to the tourists.

click for larger picture click for larger picture

The scenery is beautiful but a bit hard to see through the ubiquitous pollution.

click for larger picture click for larger picture

The town of Yangshuo is one big tourist trap.

click for larger picture

If you don't want to do any work when visiting the Beijing zoo, make sure to get the automatic guide!

click for larger picture

The panda's were fortunately active (mostly muhcing on bamboo).

click for larger picture

The pandas soon reverted to a more typical stance.

click for larger picture click for larger picture

The Beijing zoo also boasts a number of beautiful cats.

click for larger picture click for larger picture

By sheer coincidence a few former colleagues from Microsoft were giving lectures in Beijing during the time we were there.

click for larger picture

A typical dinner scene - i.e. way too much food had been ordered (this time it was Korean).

click for larger picture