Skytrip to the Land of the Rising Sun

Finally the time for the biggest trip of the year arrived. We flew off to Japan on September 28th and followed the sun all the way across the Pacific, past the Aleutian islands, to Japan.

12 hours in the air, Minneapolis to Tokyo.

12 hours in the air, Minneapolis to Tokyo.

 

Our first glimpse of Tokyo

Brian met us at the airport and we hopped a bus into Tokyo. Our first glimpse of the city came on a cloudy, overcast day.

Next we hopped the bullet train.

Next we hopped the bullet train.

Meeting at Mishima

The rest of our greeting party, Mika and Anna, were waiting for us at the Mishima station.

 driving on the wrong side of the road.

Our first full day in Japan, driving on the wrong side of the road.

Around the neighborhood.

Around the neighborhood.

Past the rice fields.

Past the rice fields.

To the bamboo forest.

To the bamboo forest.

  the Nihondaira Zoo.

That was next to the Nihondaira Zoo.

Anna's kindergarten class was visiting the zoo

Anna’s kindergarten class was visiting the zoo and we met her teacher.

A lot of school kids were visiting the zoo that day.

A lot of school kids were visiting the zoo that day.

We saw lots of scary creatures.

We saw lots of scary creatures.

a grey crowned crane.

Some of the creatures even posed for us. This is a grey crowned crane.

always a flagman.

Everywhere we saw construction crews at work, there was always a flagman.

Later that evening we took a walk through Izunokuni.

Later that evening we took a walk through Izunokuni.

The next day was rainy,

The next day was rainy, but Anna was ready.

one of the larger Shinto shrines.

Day 2 destination, one of the larger Shinto shrines.

Everyone has an umbrella.

Everyone has an umbrella.

Everyone has an umbrella.

Everyone has an umbrella.

Shrine entrance

Shrine entrance

The cleansing ritual.

The cleansing ritual.

We meet Anna's cousin, Shiho,

We meet Anna’s cousin, Shiho, who is a part of a special 7-year ceremony. Shiho’s mother, father, and grandmother are also there. This may be the first time Shiho has greeted someone with a handshake.

The ceremony takes place in the smaller building in front of the larger building.

The ceremony takes place in the smaller building in front of the larger building.

The smaller building interior, after the ceremony.

The smaller building interior, after the ceremony.

A family portrait after the ceremony.

A serious family portrait after the ceremony.

Another part of the park.

Another part of the park.

After the ceremony, lunch at Hamazushi restaurant,

After the ceremony, lunch at Hamazushi restaurant, where you order on computer and the food comes on the conveyer belt. Each dish is approximately $1 (100 yen). Lunch for three=$20. Not bad.

Later we saw a wedding party

Later we saw a wedding party. This is not the bride.

And this is not the bride.

And this is not the bride.

This is the bride.

This is the bride.

a traditional garden at a nearby museum.

At the end of the day, we visited a traditional garden at a nearby museum.

On the bullet train to Tokyo

On the bullet train to Tokyo on Sunday morning, I’m watching the twitter feed of the Wisconsin/Michigan game while speeding along at 200mph, because Brian has a portable WIFI hotspot. Exciting game, Badgers should’ve won.

Off the bullet train, onto the Tokyo subway.

Off the bullet train, onto the Tokyo subway.

Tokyo Baptist Church

Tokyo Baptist Church, our first stop, where we met up with three ladies who were with me in Israel a year and a half ago.

Then we visited Yosuke Naito in his home for a delicious meal.

Then we visited Yosuke Naito in his home for a delicious meal. We met Nait, as we called him, 25 years ago when he was a student at the University of Wisconsin. He is now an editor with the Japan Times.

we navigated the trains back the way we came

Finally we navigated the trains back the way we came, and another day ended.

The next adventure in this series is called “The Mountains of Izu.”

 

 

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