In 1986 I traveled with a team of 5 other persons to Korea. We met in Seattle, 3 of us coming from Sacramento and 3 from Washington, DC. Our flight to Tokyo was delayed but after several hours we finally were on our way. The flight took more hours than I can remember, and most of it was in the dark. I can’t believe I stayed awake almost all night, periodically looking out the window and down to the dark sea, occasionally spotting the lights from a boat. There was a large group of Japanese businessmen on the plane, and they were having a great time, becoming more drunk as time went on. They were too funny to get mad at them, but if I had any sense I would have just gone to sleep.
We arrived at Narita airport which is about 60 miles or so away from Tokyo. A long bus trip was endured, and then we transferred to a taxi when we reached Tokyo. The taxi driver wasn’t sure where our hotel was, and it was in a no-vehicle zone at any rate, so we got out of the taxi at a location that was probably a mile or so away from our hotel and walked, carrying our luggage. We were to spend 5 weeks in Seoul, so you can imagine the amount of luggage we had to carry. The following photo shows us stopped to rest, which we had to do often just to set our bags down and rest our arms. (Since nearly everything is written in Japanese you can’t read street signs or anything else.)
The hotel we stayed at was one that predominantly catered to Japanese businessmen, and it was very comfortable although not fancy at all. The price was more to our liking, for sure. The businessmen obviously like female company in the evening, and a walk down the hall to the ice machine allows a person to hear moans and groans coming from several of the rooms. You’d think from the sounds that Japanese men are extremely great lovers, although I don’t know that for a fact!
The next day was devoted to sightseeing in Tokyo, and our first stop was the Imperial Palace Gardens.
This picture was taken in a shopping district known as “The Ginza”. The street is closed to motorized vehicles on Sunday, at which time probably millions of people are out. We arrived early when it wasn’t crowded yet, but at one point I looked up and saw what looked to be a huge wall approaching. It was a wall of people! I believe the population of Tokyo at that time was about 13 Million people (but I could be wrong about that), so you are in crowded conditions wherever you go. People jostle one another on the sidewalks and just go on. It was like that in Seoul as well, and I finally learned to quit saying “Excuse me” every time it happened. It’s an accepted thing to not excuse yourself there because it is virtually impossible to not bump into people.
This was taken from the Tokyo Tower. There are many levels at which you can photograph the city, and I took pictures at every level! It is HUGE and SPRAWLING! I selected this photo because it shows how buildings are wrapped while being constructed or demolished, and this keeps the dust and debris from polluting everything around it. The buildings wrapped in blue are a case in point.
On one level of the Tokyo tower was a small Buddhist shrine, and these are two tiny children dressed in the kindergarten uniform paying their respects. All school children dress in neat uniforms. The thing most apparent to me about Tokyo was the absolute personal safety. We saw kindergarteners on subway trains at complete ease, and I am sure everyone in the train cars watch out for them.
I will try to scan some of the pictures from Korea and continue the account of this trip. I have had troubles with the old Epson scanner, so today I was in a Staples and bought a Canon flat bed scanner – very plain, no bells and whistles. I was set to install the software but the CD seemed to be warped and I couldn’t use it. So I drove the mile down to Staples and took my computer with me – the tech was able to download all the necessary software and transfer it to my MAC. When I got home I still had problems with it and loaded everything back into the box thinking I would return it tomorrow. Somehow a light bulb went off in my head and I realized what I had to do to get it to work – voila!
After I publish a blog entry I always read it over to look for errors, and to see if the pictures enlarge when clicked. Blogger evidently has a new feature by which when you click on a picture you can view all pictures in the blog from that one click. It worked, but it took a long time for the pictures to appear on that screen. I find that everything is taking an interminable amount of time to accomplish today – on the computer that is. Everything is slow to load, so I hope my pictures can be viewed by all who want to enlarge them.