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Posts tagged “Japan


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One of my top ten favorite places in the world

Food, Transportation and Airports in the 70’s

Location map of Hong Kong Equirectangular proj...

Location map of Hong Kong Equirectangular projection. Geographic limits of the map: N: 22°34’14” N (22.5706°N) S: 22°07’12” N (22.12°N) W: 113°49’20” E (113.8222°E) E: 114°27’08” E (114.4522°E) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Emblem of Hong Kong

Emblem of Hong Kong (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plan view of Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport with Si...

Plan view of Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport with Simplified Chinese text. Originaly PNG by Toblerone, traced by me using Inkscape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Industrial Instruments and Equipment      DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE

Food Transportation and Airports 1979

Lambert St Louis International  (STL)built in 1920 Still serves the St. Louis Metro area. Originally it was little more than a field. Aviator Chas Lindbergh sered the Chicago mail route in the 1920’s.The historic main terminal was severely damaged by a tornado on Good Friday 2011. date accessed 8/17/11 

San Francisco Old Ferry Building

Recently refurbished and beautiful

I had a chance to visit again in Mach 2010

Central passenger terminal

Alameda Naval Air station, Oakland NGZ 

Hong Kong Kai Tak  Airport HKG

(old Hong Kong airport) it has one of the shortest runways in the world and was closed to air traffic in 1998. We went through  this airport three times on our trip.

Shenzhen airport

We did not use this airport it did not open until 1991.

Overstuffed Chairs

Overstuffed chairs We attended many formal meeting while sitting in chair like this. Always with tea and strong political discussions and welcome as visiting dignitaries.

The Forbidden City situated exactly in the heart of the municipality was home to 24 emperors of the Ming and Ching Dynasties. Beautiful and we where one of the first Americans to see it after 30 years.

We enjoyed reading the Political posters on the Democracy Wall.

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (IATA: SHA, ICAO: ZSSS) on CAAC

Huning railway 180 miles one of the most heavily traveled rail corridors in the word. Huning (Shanghai-Nanjing) Intercity Railway will be opened to traffic on July 1st as scheduled. Recently, track-laying has been started.East West

Nanking International Airport NKG

We flew from here to Beijing

The Ming capital of China

Once the largest city in the world 15th century

Sister city of St Louis

Home of the large bridge over the Yangtze

Canton Baiyun Airport (White Cloud)
Pai Yuen Airport CAN, opened 1932 closed 2004

The thing about the airports in China is that they don’t seem to be very busy. Only government Ministers can afford to fly. There is no commercial aviation company. CAAC is under the control of the Chinese air force. They practice steep approach landing. We landed here on our second trip to Canton on the way back to Hong Kong.

Chairman dances

Figure 1 Yangtze River Bridge Janxi prov China 1997-2001

Don Mueang International Airport  DMK (Old Bangkok International Airport) (Thai: ท่าอากาศยานดอนเมือง, also Don Mueang) is an airport in Bangkok, Thailand. It was officially opened as a Royal Thai Air Force base on March 27, 1914, although it had been in use earlier. Commercial flights started in 1924. Don Mueang Airport closed in 2006 following the opening of Bangkok’s new Suvarnabhumi Airport BKK. After some problems at Suvarnabhumi, flights resumed at Don Mueang on March 24, 2007.

Paya Lebar Air Base (PLAB) originally a hub for Malaysian Airways built in 1955 known as Singapore Intl Airport 1981 converted to military use
Pangkalan Udara Paya Lebar

Singapore Changi Airport ground broken in 1975 opened 1981
新加坡樟宜机Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர் சாங்கி விமானநிலையம)

Taipei Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport

Chang Kai-Shek International Opened in 1979, the airport was known as Chiang Kai-shek International Airport (traditional Chinese: 中正國際機場; simplified Chinese: 中正国际机场; Hanyu Pinyin: Zhōngzhèng Gúojì Jīchǎng, Tongyong Pinyin: Jhongjhèng Gúojì Jichǎng) until the name was changed in 2006. China Civil Air Transport/China Airlines

Chiang Kai-Shek esteemed leader of the Kuomintang died in 1975. Know to the world by the derogatory name peanut as expressed by China theatre supreme commander Vinegar Joe Stillwell. Holed up in Chinese western Capital Chungking after being run out of Nanking by the Japanese engaged in a lifelong death struggle with the Chinese communist red army PLA. Run off to Taiwan in permanent exile until his death in 1975. After the defeat of the Nationalist in Nanking in 1949.

Figure 2 Malaysia

Tokyo Narita airport (NRT) 8/27/09

Mired in protests since its opening, this is the only airport still in operation except for Lambert in St. Louis

Matsuyama accessed 9/7/09

On Japan’s Inland Sea, Hiroshima  home of the Iron chef started here but popular everywhere in Japan and elsewhere

Osaka Itami Airport     ITM

The Kyoto National Museum, then the Imperial Museum of Kyoto, was proposed, along with the Imperial Museum of Tokyo (Tokyo National Museum) and the Imperial Museum of Nara (Nara National Museum), in 1889, and construction on the museum finished in October, 1895. The museum was opened in 1897. The museum went through a series of name changes, in 1900 changing its name to the Imperial Household Museum of Kyoto, and once more in 1924 to the Imperial Gift Museum of Kyoto. The current name, the Kyoto National Museum, was decided upon in 1952.

Gimpo Intl Airport South Korea SEL

Gimpo International Airport (Korean: 김포국제공항), commonly known as Gimpo Airport (IATA: GMP, ICAO: RKSS) (formerly Campo International Airport), is located in the far western end of Seoul and was the main international airport for Seoul and South Korea before it was replaced by Inchon International Airport in 2001. Now the second largest airport in Korea.

Gimpo International Airport (Korean: 김포국제공항), commonly known as Gimpo Airport (IATA: GMP, ICAO: RKSS) (formerly Campo International Airport), is located in the far western end of Seoul and was the main international airport for Seoul and South Korea before it was replaced by Inchon International Airport in 2001. Now the second largest airport in Korea.Kimpo Airport Guide Map


Bulgogi a mild meat dish that you cook yourself at the table

Kim chi a hot spicy Korean dish made with cabbage or cucumber

Soju a strong drink made from rice or other starches

Snakes yes we saw a restaurant serving black snakes for dinner. There were scores of them crawling in a basket in the window. We decided to wait on our next trip to Korea to give it a try.

Bori cha  refreshing barley tea served ice cold in summer

Pusan (PUS) Kimhae Intl Airport Gimhae International Airport
김해국제공항 金海國際空港
Gimhae Gukje Gonghang Kimhae Kukche Konghang

Ferries to Japan

Honolulu HNL I would return to this airport with Katie in 2008

Houston Hobby Airport

Your comments are welcome. What foods do you like? Have you tried any of these foods? Do you have a Favorite international airport that is no longer in service? Do you have an ariport horror story you would like to tell?

Now Let’s get to Japan 1979

English: en:Greater Tokyo Area

English: en:Greater Tokyo Area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

July 9, 1979 Korea/Japan


Today we transferred to Tokyo. First we took the bus to Pusan the big port of Korea and also sister cities with Los Angeles,  California and Vladivostok, Russia…

English: The Ginza Wako Clock, Tokyo, Japan

English: The Ginza Wako Clock, Tokyo, Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Went directly to the airport PUS. Helped the JAL representative write a letter to KAL protesting inadequate service to passengers.  David especially remembered talking to this guy, even thirty years later. We are flying open jaw as we did not return to Seoul. We will do that again when we depart Japan from Osaka to Hawaii.

Got to Japan about six-thirty in the evening. Narita  airport NRT is about two hours from Tokyo. Its construction, starting in 1969 was the subject of much controversy and protests.  It is about 2 hours East of Tokyo in Chibu Province.  We took a bus, and two trains to get to the Okubo house, the place we are staying. Shinjuku ward (新宿区, Shinjuku-ku?)

Met an obnoxious person named Jerry. He had been in Japan a long time. He had opinions on everything. It turned out some of the advice he gave us was not too good. Jerry was from California. He was obsessed with Jerry Brown and Linda Ronstadt. The Okubo house had very strict rules including an 11:00 curfew everyone in bed and lights out.

Bridge Imperial Palace Tokyo


Our first day in Tokyo. Spent the morning getting permission to see the Royal Palace and changing money. While downtown we met a  Japanese business man. He wanted to show us his office. So the three of us went with him. They do that sort of thing. He was very friendly. His office was in a highrise overlooking the garden of the imperial palace, Chiyoda castle. He said we were not supposed to look at it, but of course we did. It was hard not to.

Location of Shinjuku-ku in Tokyo Prefecture

Location of Shinjuku-ku in Tokyo Prefecture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He had a great view of the rest of downtown Tokyo from his office, Shinjuku.


Had a good lunch: prawns and rice. Ordered from the plastic models outside. Like Shinbashi Shinbashi (新橋), Ginza Ginza (銀座) is one of the downtown districts of Tokyo. World renowned main shopping and entertainment district. Walked around the Ginza with Jim looking at cameras. Stopped to play pachinko and one electronic game machine(now called video game). Remember Atari had only introduced video pinball in 1977. VCR’s were the new thing and Betamax. Nintendo, Mario and X-box were unheard of. They both seemed to be very popular.

At night we went to a baseball game Puro Yakyū (プロ野球) or bayse’ baru, Nippon Hamu (the Fighters) vs. Lotte (from Kawasaki). The game lasted about three and a half hours. The final score was 12-3 in favor of the home team.

Pachinko Parlor

Toshogu Shrine, Nikko

Atari Game System


Today we made it inside the imperial palace. It was a big let down. The only building we got to see that we hadn’t seen before was the Hall of the Tokyo summit.

Press Release on Air-Hijacking, June 29, 1979 and boat people refugees from Vietnam.

All of the buildings are new. We also got a twenty-minute explanation all in Japanese. The best part was talking to the other people on the tour.

After the tour we went up to Nikko. It was beautiful. We didn’t get to see much as it was raining. We did see the main Toshogu shrine and one other temple. The style is very ornate, a kind of baroque, Japanese style. The point of the whole thing is to honor the dead shogun as well ass keep the local barons under control by keeping them broke and keeping them at the shrine so that they could be spied upon, similar to Louis XIV in France.

Met some Austrians at the station (Bahnhof) and had a nice conversation on the way back.

Thursday Tokyo/Yokahama/Kyoto

Great Kamakura Daibutsu

Tokyo Bay (東京湾, Tōkyō-wan ?) is a bay in the southern Kantō region of Japan. It is where the treaty ending the war with Japan was signed. Today we played tourist in Kamakura鎌倉市, Kamakura-shi? near Yokohama Kanagawa Prefecture

about an hour south of Tokyo. Of course our first stop was the Daibutsu of Kamakura. It is the second largest Buddha in Japan. We also visited the local museum with several national treasures. The city abounds in temples and shrines including Hase Kanon-oji the 11 headed goddess 菩薩, bosatsun bodhisattva with a beautiful view of the sea, Tsurugaola/Hachimangu, Kencho-ji and Engaku-ji.

We left by train at about three heading for Kyoto with the intention of heading for Mt. Fuji on the way. The connections proved to be too difficult, but the day seemed to be too foggy anyway.

We started by local train (four hours) but changed to the bullet train (Shinkansen) in Hamamatsu. The high-speed train that runs from Tokyo to Osaka. From there it took about two hours to get to Kyoto.

In Kyoto we stayed at the Tani house. It is a Japanese style inn, ryokan (旅館) with tatami-mats on the floor communal baths and sliding doors. There six people in the room, including two Germans who stayed in the same place with us in Tokyo, Okubo house. Our room is very nice it opens up to the outside with a view into a bamboo garden from the second floor.

Friday Kyoto


Kyoto Temple of 1000 buddhas

The temple of 1000 Buddhas (sanjusangendo) dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon

Today we toured Kyoto. First we went to the Heian Shrine, a Shinto shrine. Built in 1895, it is large red building with definite Chinese influence. We had fun feeding the fish.

After lunch a local restaurant we went to Ginkaku-ji, or silver pavilion. In addition to the pavilion there were raked white san gardens. Some represent geographical points such as Mt. Fuji and the West lake of China.

Next we toured Nijo castle (二条城, Nijō-jō?), one of the best sites of Kyoto. We actually got to go inside the castle. The building was more a palace that castle, but still very nice. Although most of the furniture is gone the floor mats, murals and carved transoms remain. The garden is also very nice. Ran into a little league team that was jogging around the castle.

Walked around town and did some shopping. Bought chicken at a street stand for dinner.

Saturday Kyoto

This morning we saw the imperial palace. Although the original had burned down several times it has always been restored. Today it is still used to crown the new Japanese emperors. There are three traditional capitols of Japan Nara the oldest next Kyoto and finally Tokyo the present capitol. The Current Emperor is (天皇, tennō?, literally “heavenly sovereign,”[) Hirohito the same as WWII his birthday is a national holiday and the same as mine April 29. (昭和天皇, Shōwa tennō?), (April 29, 1901 – January 7, 1989) was the 124th Emperor of Japan

Next Jim and I walked down Shijo-dori, which could be called the main street of Kyoto, extends about 7 kilometers from Yasaka – jinja Shrine, which affords a view of the Higashiyama hills in the background, to Matsuo Taisha Shrine, with its view of the Nishiyama hills. With a history dating back to the Heian Period, this street is mentioned in ancient records as Shijo Oji. date accessed 1/6/2009 the largest business district in Kyoto extends north and south along this street. And saw some floats for the upcoming parade. Followed by the temple of 1000 Buddhas Sanjūsangendō (三十三間堂, Sanjūsangendō?) and the National Museum. At sanjusangendo there was a group of dignitaries from Mexico with a Japanese guide giving a tour in Spanish. It was an epiphany moment for me as I realized Americans isn’t the only country with tourists in the world.

Silver Shrine Kyoto

Golden Shrine Kyoto

We had Okonomiyaki for lunch, a kind of pancake with meat, squid and cabbage. After lunch we ro to Kinkaku-ji the golden temple. In addition to the pavilion there is also a Beautiful park. We started talking to a local man who told us all about the garden. Then he took us to another park on the outskirts of town. After buying us iced coffee we went o the bank of a river, were we sat and talked. Next he took us out for sushi, a famous Japanese dish of raw fish on rice, sashimi—it was delicious. He refused to let us pay. He took us in his car a Nissan it was a stick shift. It had some crazy words in /English on it they made no sense but he was very proud of it. He said hey it’s English.

After returning to the Tani House we met two girls Julie and Debbie ( I swear I haven’t thought about them in years). Debbie had a beau in the Peace Corps in Korea, so we went out for a beer and to talk. Next we rode across town to meet two of their friends. We went to a Studentlokal und tranken noch ein Bier. Es war viel Spasz. Sie waren sehr interressant. Got home about eleven.

Sunday Kyoto/Nara

Today we went to Nara for the day–Japan’s ancient capital during the eighth century. We spent the day in Nara park feeding and playing with the famous Roe (Shinka) deer.There are many famous sites within the park—all within walking distance. A welcome change.

We went to the Kasuga Shrine, Todai-ji, and the five story pagoda. Of course we saw the Daibutsu, the largest Buddah in Japan. Kasuga-ji was build in 778, but has been restored many times. Constructed in 752 on the order of Emperor Shomu, Todai-ji Temple’s Great Buddha Hall in Nara is the largest wooden structure in the world and houses an immense statue of Rushana Butsu. date accessed 1/7/09

After sightseeing we had Okonomiyaki for dinner again. We also did some shopping. We ended up buying two small backpacks.

Back in Kyoto we packed our bags. We talked to some Swedes, who had just arrived via the trans-Siberian railway. They were also going to China— on their own. They received their visas from the Chinese embassy in Stockholm. All passengers on the Trans Siberian bound for Japan must detrain at Khabarovsk and fly to Nagita in northern Honshu.

Cheap Flights from Khabarovsk to Niigata – KHV to KIJ

FSU Former Soviet Union


Swedes arrive in Japan by Train

Monday Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe/Takamatsu/Naruto

Khabarovsk, Siberia Eastern Terminus Trans Siberian Railroad

Today we were very efficient; we transferred from Kyoto to Naruto on Shikoku. Jim and I are together David has left us to do his own thing. He is more interested in Northern Honshu.

This involved getting up at 6:30 a. m.

to catch a train to Osaka where we left our backpacks, we also visited the post office where there was a letter from Katie, and made a reservation at the youth hostel. This is our second week in Japan.

(徳島県, Tokushima-ken?) We caught the ferry in Kobe for Takamatsu. We had a nice four hour ride across the Inland sea, passing by Awaji Island We had a bento for lunch.

In Takamatsu we had to change money. The man at the bank very friendly. He let Us change even though the bank was officially closed and even showed us the new Susan B. Anthony dollar and traded us for a paper one.

The best site in Takumatsu was栗林公園, Ritsurin Kōen?) (栗林 means chestnut grove) one of the best known and largest in Japan. It was truly beautiful. It was set next to a tree covered hill so it was hard to tell where the park stopped and true nature began.

Ritsurin Park, Takamatsu, Shikoku Japan

At six o’clock we caught the bus for Naruto and arrived about seven-thirty. A man saw us walking down the road, stopped his car and took us the youth hostel, which was on the top of a hill, right next to an old wooden castle. We had fun talking with the Japanese students who were also staying the hostel. We asked so of them where they would like to go if the could go aboard.. One said New Guinea, one Austria, and two said Germany.

Tuesday Naruto/Kochi

This morning it rained, but that didn’t stop us. It was a true torrential downpour. We were heading for the straits of Naruto to see the whirlpools. We stopped at a fire station to asked for directions. They drove us right to the park. It was an emergency rescue.

Tokushima Whirlpool, Shikoku

Naruto park contains the whirlpools which form in the narrow channel , one kilometer between Shikoku and Awaji islands (淡路島, Awaji-shima?). We took the boat ride in the rain an 11:50—during high tide. We meet some girls who rode with us from Naruto to Tokushima and the on to Awaji Island where they got off. There is now a bridge which connects Shikoku and Awaji with Honshu.

Jim and I rode on to Kochi. The train ride was beautiful, we rode along the river valley through many tree covered mountains.

After checking in at the hostel (Y1300) about double what we had been paying, I Think. We went out to look around. We ended up walking down the Page Ave of Kochi and saw nothing but auto dealers and tire stores. We did see the Giants baseball game on TV, including everyone’s favorite number 1, Oh.

Wednesday Kochi/Matsuyama

Today in Kochi we went to the Onagadori Center famous for raising roosters with very long tails. Some as long as 11 meters. This center was also visited by President JFK before his assassination. Prince Yamanouchi of the Kochi Prefecture on the southern peninsula of Shikoku had the helmets and spears of his soldiers adorned with long rooster feathers for special occasions.

Afterwards we toured Kochi castle. It had a nice view and a small collection of Samurai artifacts including armor and swords. WE have seen many castles. During feudal times every town of great size had its own castle all very elaborate and unlike Europe they almost all look the same from the outside, differing mainly in size.

Next we moved on to Matsuyama by hitchhiking. It took awhile to get the first ride. A man took us as far as he could go, but he had to stop because of a rock slide blocking the highway. We walked around the rock slide and had another ride in fifteen minutes.

Interesting Japanese Drinks

Our big activity in Matsuyama was a sukiyaki dinner in the Okaido district. It was delicious We ate at Gimpai. Two ladies ran it and the seemed to really enjoy what they were doing. Sukiyaki(すき焼き; スキヤキ)is basically a stew with beef and vegetables cooked at the table. It is very good and all dipped in raw egg. Like many Americans my age this James Bond movie You only live twice served as our introduction to Japan and Japanese culture. Japan, Space Race, Nancy Sinatra, etc.

We see vending machines all over Japan offering strange drinks for sale.  This will be useful to me in a few months when I start working for the Seven-Up company in St. Louis.  Returning to the hostel, we joined the Japanese for singing songs and card playing until midnight.

THANK YOU FOR FOLLOWING THIS BLOG. Do you live in JAPAN? Have things changed since I visited 30 years ago?


A word on the Japanese language 1979

Kabuto Tokugawa Ieyasu

Kabuto Tokugawa Ieyasu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A word on the Japanese language. Some believe Japanese to be a language isolate while others classify it as an Altaic language a very distant relative of Turkish, Mongol, Tungusic/Manchu and Evens/Manchurians. There are 3 alphabets in use Kanji, hiragana and katakana are actually syllabaries, where each character represents a syllable, i.e. consonant vowel combination. So ka and ko would each be represented by a different character. Katakana is usually reserved for foreign words such as English and Chinese. date accessed 10/7/13

Figure 1 Manchu Scholar

After the tour we went up to Nikko. It was beautiful. We didn’t get to see much as it was raining. Which made things difficult since we had to walk everywhere with our backpacks. We did see the main Toshogu shrine and one other temple. The style is very ornate, a kind of Baroque, Japanese style. The Toshogu is the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled Japan for over 250 years until 1868. The shrine is dedicated to the spirits of Ieyasu and two other of Japan’s most influential historical personalities, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Minamoto Yoritomo. Nikko date accessed 1/9/09. The point of the whole thing is to honor the dead shogun as well ass keep the local barons under control by keeping them broke and keeping them at the shrine so that they could be spied upon; similar to Louis XIV at Versailles in France. See blog on Madrid 1975. President Grant was the first American President to visit Japan on a whirlwind tour in 1877-1879 including England Russia, Thailand, Burma and Japan. He visited Nikko in 1879 as part of that trip. The Japanese say you haven’t seen Nikko until you’ve seen Nikko. He also visited the emperor and empress in the new capital of Edo/Tokyo.

One hundred years ago NIKKO Jas. Croil a journalist from Montreal described his trip to Nikko as such.
jamescroil00croiuoft_djvu.txt date accessed 1/10/2009

The saying is current in Japan, " Do not say Kikko

until you have seen Nikko” Kikko meaning very grand. I had

been told that Nikko was one of the places best worth seeing.

It lies up in the heart of the mountains about 100 miles

from Tokio a beautiful and fashionable summer resort, and the

sight of the most splendid temples in Japan. Arriving at Nikko

we set out to inspect its remarkable group of sacred edifices all

most interesting. In many instances the outside of the temples were

elaborately embellished with bas-reliefs, one particularly attracted

attention having a variety of monkeys finely engraven on an en

tablature over the main entrance. I need not waste time in trying

to describe in fitting terms the charms of Nikko ; I can only say

my visit to it, brief as it was, left an indelible impression. I

mounted my rickshaw and bade Nikko farewell. We went down

to the station at John Gilpin speed, and waited half an hour.

Met some Austrians at the station (Bahnhof) and had a nice conversation on the way back.



Thursday cont

Next Jim and I did some shopping.  Jim bought a calculator.  David is still doing his own thing, somewhere in Japan.  We have not heard from him.  In the days before cell phones this was not an unusual thing.  In many ways one of the most challenging things about visiting another country back in the day was navigating the telephone system.  Often government-owned and tied in with the post office. Also make airline reservations.  I was impressed any where we went on this trip the airline was able to pull up our reservations instantly. (Pan Am was known for installing this worldwide reservation system in the early sixties Jim and I got to see it in action)

We got to the youth hostel about five.  I took a bath.  The first truly Japanese style one with a hot tub.  When you are finished they give you a towel about the size of a wash cloth to dry off with. *** Talked to some people from France, found out that they had run into David in Kyoto.  They we in their fifties they had saved all their money for this one time trip to Japan and were truly enjoying themselves.

Friday Hiroshima/Miyajima/Okayama/Osaka

Got up early this morning and went to Miyajima, one of the top three scenic sites in Japan and one of my top 12 favorites places, three of which we visited on this trip.  In addition to the famous Torii and shrine we visited the museum of National Treasures.  As in Nara there are many sacred deer roaming the islands.

We took the cable car up the peak saw the sacred red monkeys and hiked back down, a good 2 hour walk—the path was dotted with many small shrines and

English: Precepts on the secret of success in ...

English: Precepts on the secret of success in life drafted by Tokugawa Ieayasu from the collection of Nikkō Tōshō-gū. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


After taking the boat back to Honshu we got out our sign and got a ride to —Toyonaka.  Our first ride in a Japanese truck.  The driver was very friendly and kept teaching us Japanese words and pointing out scenery.

This is part of the great southern Honshu Taiheiyō Belt (太平洋ベルト, Taiheiyō beruto?, lit. “Pacific Belt”) also known as Tokaido corridor megalopolis stretching almost uninterrupted from Tokyo to Hiroshima. The speed limit on the highway is about 50 km/hr.

Did I mention that Japanese driving is on the left (left side passage)? Engelbert Kaempfer and Carl Peter Thunberg 1776) wrote that in Japan people were keeping to the left. In fact it may have predated traffic rules in Europe. Apparently independent of the British. British date accessed 1/09/2009. 1907 saw the first Japanese killed by an automobile accident.

Got to Takehara (竹原市; -shi) about eight o’clock pm. Got another ride into Toyonaka (豊中市, Toyonaka-shi?), one stop before Osaka. Stopped at an interesting truck stop one the way with a collection of Samurai and WWII artifacts. The Japanese apparently have their own different version of history.

Arrived in Osaka about one a.m. with no place to stay. A Japanese couple tried to help us but they were too drunk…

Saturday Osaka

After about three hours of sleep we woke up about six and rode the commuter train the last to stops into Osaka. Benjo (便所, benjo?place of convenience or place of excrement), from the word ben (便, ben?) meaning “convenience” or “excrement”, and this word is fairly common. This was a place that we had an immediate need for. Please do not confuse this word with bento which is a box lunch served on ships and trains and other places.

We had a leisurely breakfast at the beef bowl with yakisoba, the Japanese version of the Waffle house. Gyūdon (牛丼), often literally translated into English as beef bowl, founded in 1899. They gave us free cardboard hats.

Shirataki (白滝 ? often written with the hiragana しらたき) are very low carbohydrate, low calorie, thin, translucent, gelatinous traditional Japanese noodles made from the konjac plant. The word “shirataki” means “white waterfall”, describing the appearance of these noodles. Largely composed of water and glucomannan, a water-soluble dietary fiber, they have little flavor of their own. date accessed 8/22/2011

Then we went to the Tenno’ji temple. Osaka is a big modern city unlike Kyoto with its National treasures. It is still interesting.

Osaka Daimaru 1979

Met Jim at the Bunraku Puppet Theater, Bunraku (文楽, Bunraku?) is the world renowned puppet show. Performers of Bunraku are considered living National Treasures in Japan. The other form of traditional Japanese theater from Kabuki which is the one everybody has heard about. It was very good. The performance lasted over four hours.

Found our first Japanese pedestrian mall, had a final sushi dinner, went shopping at the Daimaru The Daimaru, Inc. (株式会社大丸, Kabushiki-gaisha Daimaru?). It is the huge department store of Osaka. It is really very nice. You can eat at the food stalls in the basement for a good price.

Went to the train station where we had left our bags, but we left them there overnight again. Went out to the youth hostel but had trouble finding it as it was located under the stands of the Osaka soccer stadium.

Had a final Japanese bath with the little towel, before going to bed.

Sunday Osaka/Honolulu

This is our last day in Japan. This was a long day as we crossed the International Date Line. We got back the day we lost at the beginning of the trip, to spend in Hawaii.

We started in Osaka. Jim and I left the youth hostel and had breakfast at the beef bowl again.

Spent the day at Osaka-jo , the castle and in the surrounding park. We met many interesting people, including several Junior High School (middle school) students, who barely spoke English, some Judo competitors and an interesting man who spent his vacation talking to foreign visitors to the castle. He took our address and sent us a letter when we got home. It’s very exciting to get a letter from Japan. I think with cell phones and the internet all we’ve lost appreciation of what it means to get a letter, especially from a stranger in Japan. We also saw the sumo wrestlers practicing in the auditorium.

It is getting crowded here now as schools have let out and kids are enjoying their summer break which is much shorter than in the US. Summer break begins 20. July Marine day Marine Memorial Day (海の日, Umi no hi?) or Ocean day and lasts six weeks, about 40 days or the end of August. Most Japanese school children wear uniforms seifuku (制服, seifuku?) even in public schools. Most children attend school six days a week including Saturday. 50% go on to college. Students clean there own school. High school is not compulsory in Japan. The school year begins in April. Students walk to school, there are no busses and they do not drive.

I’ll be looking for a job myself when I get back to St. Louis. It was a nice day. We enjoyed the castle too.

Figure 2 Japanese Students

Figure 3 Artist

Figure 4 Judo

Schools dated accessed 1/09/2009

Went to the airport Osaka International Airport (大阪国際空港, Ōsaka Kokusai Kūkō?) (IATA: ITM, ICAO: RJOO) about five to catch our plane to Honolulu—David showed up with about forty-five minutes to spare for an international flight which caused us a lot of anguish because Jim and I weren’t sure what to do if he didn’t get there. I.e. leave for Hawaii without him or miss or flight and wait for him to show up. In our youth we had not made any back up plan. This is the old International airport the new airport in Osaka bay didn’t open until 1994.

Have you been to Japan recently?Do you live in Japan?  Do you agree with what I said? What were your experiences? How has Japan changed since I was there 30 years ago?

Please post your comments below. COMMENTS WELCOME

Marhaba 27 languages

3340 Morganford

ST. LOUIS, MO 63116

(314) 865-0301 Fax: (314) 865-0549

WELCOME in arabic. Italiano: BENVENUTI in arab...

WELCOME in arabic. Italiano: BENVENUTI in arabo. Slovenčina: VITAJTE po arabsky. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Linguistic Skills: fluent in German, studied for language identification –

404 Das angeforderte Objekt existiert nicht auf diesem Server.

  1. French, bonjour
  2. Spanish, Buenos dias
  3. Italian, buon giorno
  4. Arabic, marhaba
  5. Chinese, zǎo shàng hǎo
  6. Japan (Katakana, Hiragana), お早うございます
    (ohayō gozaimasu)
    お早う (ohayō)
  7. Farsi, sobh bekheir
  8. Dutch, Goede morgen
  9. Russian, dobroe utro ДОброе Утро!
  10. Ukrainian, Dobroho ranku
    Доброго ранку!
  11. Turkish, Günaydın
  12. Uzbeg, Hayirli tong
  13. Korean, 안녕하십니까 (annyeong ha shimnikka)
  14. Danish, God morgen
  15. Norwegianbokmaal God morgen
  16. Swedish, God morgon
  17. Hebrew, boker tov

    broken toe
  18. Gaelic Dia duit ar maidin
  19. Akkadian,
    Codex Hammurabi

  20. Hawaiian, E ôlelo mâlie , Aloha kakahiaka
  21. Amharic, Hello: tadiyass (informal)
  22. Bulgarian, dobro utro
  23. Romanian, Bună dimineaţa

  25. Polish, Dzień dobry!
  26. Udmurt (Volga Russia), Ziech chuknaen
  27. Mordvin, Шумбрат!
  28. Chuvash (Tatar)
    God old Turkish script
    , Chuvash (Russia) Yra ir pultar
  29. Finnish, Hyvää huomenta
    Hungarian, Jó reggelt (kívánok)
  30. Thaiสวัสดีครับ/ค่ะ (sawùt dee krúp/kâ)
  31. Komi бур асыв good morning!

– Видза олан!– How do you do!– Чолöм!– Hello!– Кыдзи тэнo шуöны?– What is your name?– Райда.– Raida.– Зэв мича ним!– Very beautiful name!– Аттьö, а тэнам мый нимыд?  – Thank you, and what is your name?– Витьö.– Victor.– Бура!– It’s great!

  1. Latin, Salve! 
  2. Greek khaire (rejoice)
  3. Akkadian, Codex Hammurabi
  4. Syriac

    Montage of languages. Prototype header for the...

    Montage of languages. Prototype header for the language portal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leaving Hong Kong 1979


Guangzhou (Photo credit: -Mare)

Tuesday cond’t from on to Beijing

The flight From Beijing took about three hours. We flew to Baiyun (White cloud) Intl Airport CAN, the old one which closed in 2004. A new airport with the same name opened further out in 2004. White cloud was the name of the hotel the last time we stayed in Canton, the same as the airport. We had to go back to Canton, something about leaving from the same port you entered.


Almost every city we visited on this trip now has a newer larger airport. We had a new guide this time-Miss Wu, a girl this time. She was very nice and more mature than the last two. Now we are staying at the Dong Fang Hotel (Tung Fang, 东方 明, Oriental Pearl) built in 1961 and popular with Chinese government officials and ministers  with 700 rooms it is the largest hotel in Canton.  The rooms and location is better but the service is bad. It takes forever to get dinner served. We are afraid to make negative comments for fear of having our journal confiscated.The size reminds me of the Rossiya in Moscow (see:Yes there is more)

After dinner I went for a short walk and then returned to the room. This is a subtropical climate, hot and humid.  There are many three storey buildings here, many with porches.

Wednesday Canton.

Our second time in Canton/Kwangzhou 廣州; pinyin: Guǎngzhōu,  Guangdong Province,  South China.  This morning we visited the deaf school. The school seemed to be trying to help the children but there really wasn’t much they could do. Treatments included medicine, laser, acupuncture and magnetic needles—which was nothing more than an old nail with magnets. We also saw acupuncture and children in learning situations as well as a musical and pantomime performance, all quite good,

After lunch I walked to the Sun Yat-Sen memorial with Jim and David. It was closed but we could see inside. The big event for the afternoon was the boat ride on the Pearl River. We went upstream awhile, and then came back down passing bridges, Shiamen Island (former foreign concession) and some ships in port. It is a huge river with a large delta

After dinner, Jim and I went to the People’s park to see the local entertainment. Something our guide told us about. She said she thought young people liked to go out in the evening. It was very thoughtful of her. It was very inexpensive. We went to hear local music from Kwangtung Province of which there was very little. There were some singers and dancers as well as two comical plays—one Chinese and another western farce (all in Chinese) the actors even had makeup to build up their noses.

Thursday Canton/Kwangzhou

Chinese commune

Maps of Guangdong Province, China

Maps of Guangdong Province, China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For our last day in China we went to the Lukong People’s Commune 人民公社; pinyin: rénmín gōngshè; it was a great disappointment. They were definitely expecting visitors. They had air guns and souvenir shops and even water buffalo carts and bicycles ready for hire. Like the much touted Tachai (Dazhai) commune in Shansi in the North it would prove to be a complete economic failure and would in turn be abandoned. At this point, 1979 fully 70% of the Chinese population is rural, with deforestation then as now a big issue. China is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Despite its large size nearly half the country is under populated with great tracts of desert in the west largely uninhabited. After the obligatory political indoctrination seminar we got down to business. Chinese history is divided into two parts before liberation, 1949 were nothing good happened and now when everything is great and everyone is happy not to be exploited by foreigners anymore. I must add however that the Chinese did suffer greatly under the Japanese in WW II.

As for the rest the medical facilities looked poor, the crops were good the home we saw was definitely a set up. It’s a shame this was one of our final impressions of China. We also joined two other groups twice our size for the visit about 60 people. We have been spoiled with our little bread bus.

After lunch at the commune we went to the Canton zoo.-the best in Asia according to some and the largest in China. One in another of my long love affair with zoos. Saw the golden monkeys, south China tiger,white elephants, which actually look pink and the endangered brow-antlered deer. (See Nara, my blog Now let’s get to Japan.) and red and black Pandas of course (see Moscow and London blogs.) The red pandas looks like a large raccoon without stripes (also at Munich Zoo). The Amoy or Chinese tiger is now thought to be extinct in the wild one hasn’t been seen in the wild for 25 years and may be the ancestor of all tigers. South China tiger I’ve been searching the world for those beloved pandas.

South China tiger

South China tiger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a fine zoo, large with tropical plants growing all around, just like the Honolulu zoo in Hawaii. Where I also saw the Sumatran tigers on that trip too, thirty years later.  Newer zoos have been built in Peking and Shanghai now and I’ve heard the Canton zoo is now a bit run down.  That is a shame, I still have positive memories of this zoo.

We stopped at the monument of the 67 martyrs. Next we had a final tour of the city, starting with a visit to the friendship store, where I bought a cloisonné vase for my friend Rob and Mary who are getting married back in the States.

Next we stopped at the National Peasant Liberation Institute Guangdong Sight /Guangzhou/249.html date accessed 1/29/2009 for pictures then drove to the other side of the Pearl River-it was newer than our side but still B. L. (bad-looking) After dinner we went for a final walk through Canton for about forty-five minutes. Some people were still working even at nine in the evening, but many were relaxing in their homes. I was surprised by the number of televisions I saw, all black and white with roof aerials. The whole trip to China was well worth the money, energy and effort.

I should say something about the night soil collection. AS in England 150 years ago human feces is collected at night in the city and sold to farmers to use as fertilizer. Ghost Map date accessed 2/3/2009  David has been getting sick here.  After many years he lamented, Canton was not one of my favorite cities in ASIA or the World. History of Communist China

Lin Biao

Friday Saturday/Sunday Hong Kong

We now have four days in Hong Kong. We’ve been staying up late enjoying the nightlife and movies on TV. It’s been hard to keep the journal up to date. Our group originally started as a tour for realtors from Canada but when they didn’t get enough people they opened it up to outsiders. I’ve never been on this kind of guided tour before. They actually pick up and deliver your luggage for you. Because our group is so small, 14 people plus guide and driver we have a small Toyota bus called the bread bus instead of the larger motor coach. It lets us get around better and faster. It is brand new.

Dr. Wilson and Eddie. Eddie is and East German communist. He hates everything about China because it reminds him of the old country (DDR). He is 44, the same age as our mother. After us they are the youngest people on this trip. When only double rooms are available David has been rooming with Dr. Wilson. Dr. Wilson is a Black cardiologist from San Francisco, also in his late forties. He is really funny. He had an interesting experience to tell about the Nightclubs in Hong Kong. Jim had an interesting experience at a bar as well. He has just turned 20. There are fourteen people in our group including us, plus Elaine the guide. We have gotten to know most of them. Besides Frankie and Pat, Judith and Gladys there is also Miss Gold Shoes from Buffalo a nice woman who was always willing to share her opinions on everything and really did wear gold shoes. She took a liking to us.

We had an interesting time in Hong Kong. We are still with our guided tour. This trip to Asia lasts about two months we have just finished the first leg in the PRC(People’s Republic of China 中華人民共和國; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó). Two tours of Hong Kong were included in our package from Thomas Cook’s. The first was a tour of Victoria Island including the Tiger Balm Gardens, Victoria Peak, Aberdeen as well as various beaches. It was at this time that we saw Prince Charles on his official state visit to the Far East, at least his car bearing the royal standard. (Tag this is the start of the big orient trip)

Saturday included a cruise in Hong Kong Harbour, which included sampans, junks, Navy boats, etc. Some people in Hong Kong live their whole lives on the water without ever going on dry land. This is considered an outrage by the communists. One night we returned to Victoria peak for the sunset. Jim and I ate in a Chinese restaurant, not hard to do here, and a man insisted on buying our dinner.

Spent a day shopping on Kowloon and even took in a topless bar. Kowloon had many things for sale from the PRC and many of the things we had been looking for. Gram and Boppie (my grandparents) had been to Hong Kong and for many years my grandfather had is shirts custom ordered from there including a safari suit. That was either 1975 or ’76. I remember talking to him about that trip shortly before he died (January, 2000), which included Bali and Kuala Lumpur. One of the most interesting things was a walk through the back streets of Victoria Island. There were many old Chinese shops; selling chops (seal stones), herbs, crickets, snakes and even birds in small cages to be released for good luck. Cameras and electronics are everywhere. You can truly find anything you want in this shoppers’ paradise. The shops are small but the owners are friendly and love to talk. David and Jim ordered handmade suits.

Our trip was organized through Thomas Cook in Toronto so sometimes where we go people think we are from Canada. In Shanghai we got a big lecture on Norman Bethune a communist doctor from Toronto and personal friend of Mao Tse Tung. My first thought of travel to Hong Kong came at a travel agent in Regensburg  where I saw a big poster of HK. I’d never thought about it until I heard my friend Marylin from Lyon had friends in HK and was going to visit them.

Monday Hong Kong/Bangkok

Well, we are finally out on our own. As a final tribute to their incompetence Thomas Cook agreed to take us to the airport with the rest of the group at 11:45. What they didn’t tell us was that our flight left at 17:00 instead of 15:45 AS LISTED IN THE TICKET OR THAT WE COULDN’T EVEN CHECK OUR BAGS UNTILL THREE O’CLOCK—THEY WERE AWARE OF BOTH FACTS BEFORE WE LEFT THE HOTEL As a result Jim and I spent over five hours at the airport. At least David got to leave for a final fitting for his suit. I’m amazed by the computer network here, reservations we made in Chicago/St. Louis show up here in Hong Kong instantly. I know that’s something we take for granted now, with the internet, but back then it was gee whiz and a big deal. I began to think you know there just might be something to this computer thing. Back then computers were as large as rooms with dial-up modems and tape drives. Disc drives if you had one were as large as a washing machine had about 500k and expensive. Cell phones did not exist anywhere. Making a long distance phone call was an ordeal. We did not call home once in the entire two months we were gone, but we did write and send lots of post cards. No e-mail or internet cafes either. I got four letters from Katie on this trip HK, Singapore, Osaka and Honolulu.

. . .well that is all behind us now. We’re on our way to Bangkok, flying over Vietnam and Laos on the way over the South China Sea and to the south of Hainan Island. It is very warm in Bangkok. Immigration was no problem, except we had to state our address in Bangkok, although we had never been here before. Thais refer to their capital as Krung Thep City of Angels or Los Angeles. Many people in the countryside have never heard the word Bangkok, if you mention it they don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s an exonym.

Thailand is a Buddhist country. It is ruled by a king. The current King Rama IX is still King and is the world’s longest monarch, reigning monarch since 1946. The local currency is the baht (BHT one baht is worth about five cents. You can buy a lot with 5 baht (25c), Thailand has its own language and its own alphabet (Khmer) equally indecipherable. (Thai: อักษรไทย, àksŏn thai)

We left the airport and made the 25 kilometer journey into town by bus. For 2 baht (10c) a piece; despite numerous offers from taxi drivers to take us for only 150 baht ($7.50). We are truly on our own now. I think you’re getting an idea what kind of trip this is going to be from now on. Ten dollars is a lot of money and $100.00 is really a lot of money as I recall the remaining five weeks of the trip were done for between $1000 and $2000.

Finding a place to stay was not so easy. Katie and I had this same trouble when we got to Egypt on our honeymoon. Words of advice for world travelers always have a place to stay on the first night in a new city before you get there. After discovering that the youth hostel was closed and not finding much help from a local Thai or the two Mormon missionaries, who befriended us; we found a place to stay for 250 baht ($12.00). The only catch was the three of us had to share two beds and we were way out of town—thanks to the Mormons. Bangkok is a really big city. At least the place was air-conditioned and I got a good night sleep. I distinctly remember the hostel was outside, screened in and had lizards. We followed those Mormons to the southeast suburbs looking for a room on what turned out to be a goose chase. It turned out they didn’t know anymore about the city than we did. It was very frustrating, at least they meant well.

Tuesday Bangkok

David and Jim have not been feeling well, Lately and this morning David felt particularly bad so he called the US embassy to find a good hospital so off we were—luggage and all in a taxi To Bangkok General Hospital. The bill was quite reasonable—less than $10 a piece including drugs and without health insurance. I think it all started when we were still in China.

Afterwards we decided on a hotel—the Viengtai—we have a triple room with three beds, bath and toilet for $15 a day with breakfast included. Now $45 per night after 30 years, still a very good deal.

After lunch at the local Moslem restaurant—in the company of two local girls, but without David and Jim, it was finally time for some real sightseeing. As David was too ill Jim and I set in search of the National Museum-within walking distance of the hotel It was really an interesting place. Thailand has a tropical climate. It is the Monsoon season in Thailand. That means it rains everyday in the afternoon. We met some law students from The Law School in Bangkok. They offered to give us a tour of the City. We did not go with them, I think it was a scam.

Wednesday Bangkok

David is still sick but Jim and I took the water market trip this morning. As the trip started at seven , we were up by six. The hotel breakfast included fresh pineapple-btw. There are many interesting tropical fruits here and I intend to try them all. I think my favorite so far is the star fruit, so-called because it produces a five-pointed star when cut in cross-section. We are about 15 degrees north of the equator, my first time in the tropics. Daylight is split about 12 hours each year round with dawn at about 6:30.

The tour was billed as a real tour of the water market, not just something for tourists. Although overpriced at $1 per head it was still quite enjoyable. The boat held about 15 people max (ten joined us). First we whizzed along the Chao Phraya river Chao Phraya (Thai: แม่น้ำเจ้าพระยา), passing various temples along the way. The market itself was not all that much—just a few people in boats selling fruit—but it was the real thing and not just stage for tourists—besides we had 45 minutes of scenery on the way there. Next we went to a farm—which belonged to our guide—he raised coconut, lemons, and mangos. It looked more like a tropical forest than a farm. The return voyage also lasted about 45 minutes but was more interesting as we actually rode through the narrow canals. It’s one of my best memories.

After returning to the hotel by bus, David joined us for lunch at a local place—23 BHT ($7.15) for the three of us including drinks. They have an interesting way of serving soft drinks here, in a plastic bag with shaved ice. They keep the bottle for the deposit.

Afterward David returned to the hotel—Jim and I set out for a self guided temple tour. Our first stop was Wat Pho—the temple of the reclining Buddha. I had expected as small statue—actually the thing was huge.

Next we visited the royal palace and National Museum, which was also quite interesting. There we saw, the throne room and several of the official buildings as well as the temple of the emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaeo) as well as a model of Angor Wat in Cambodia. The emerald Buddha was a disappointment as it was small and far away a top a high altar. The whole palace grounds were fascinating however. Next we walked to the Wat Srakret—a good walk from the palace—but worth it. We passed through some rundown neighborhoods on the way as well as some sort of fortification and some other temples as well and also the Democracy monument. Some of the canals we passed were filthy and really smelled.

Anyway the trip was worth it as the temple affords a beautiful view of the city. Afterwards we met David for dinner. We actually ate at a decent place for once. Then we came home. I did laundry and took a shower, wrote in my journal and went to bed.

Thursday Bangkok/Ayutthaya Bang Pa In

Had a papaya for breakfast.—it was good. Today Jim and I ventured from the city to the former capital of Ayutthaya (Thai: อาณาจักรอยุธยา,). We saw many ruined temples and Buddhas from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries in Thai, Cambodian, and Burmese styles. We saw two huge reclining Buddhas and the largest bronze Buddha in Thailand. We toured the town by Salmer—the three wheeled pickup truck/taxi. It cost $6.00 for two hours—we saw much more than we could have seen ourselves. Buddha not sleeping, Buddha DEAD!

After lunch we went to Bang Pa In Thai: พระราชวังบางปะอิน—to see the former summer palace. It was very interesting. It was basically Thai with some European characteristics, including a temple in a pseudo gothic style. After returning to Bangkok the whole adventure cost less the ten dollars for both of us. Another organized AUS tour cost twelve dollars per person. After eating dinner we tried to find a doctor for David. Another evening without much excitement.

Friday Bangkok/Singapore

Well this was the last day in Bangkok. Spent the morning getting David to the Doctor again. He got some more pills.

Singapore Merlion

Chinatown, Singapore was an enclave for the ea...

Chinatown, Singapore was an enclave for the early Chinese immigrants in Singapore in the 19th and early 20th centuries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Left for the airport at 11:45. Flew south over the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea. Got to Singapore about 17:30 (18:00 local time) Singapore has one of those fractional time zones. Took a taxi to the hotel for S$44 Singapore dollars that’s $7.00 per person. After we got settled Jim and I went for a walk along the Elizabeth walk and had dinner. We had noodles (low mein) and Tiger beer—a local brand it was good, but served in 12 oz. bottles like beer at home. Saw the Merlion-the symbol of the city.

Singapore is an independent Asian micro state it is entirely one island. Located at the very tip of the Malaysian (Malay) peninsula. Chinese is spoken here as are Tamil, Malay and English. It was a British colony until1963- 1965. Independent of Malaysia 1965. It was occupied by Japan in the Second World War. First PM Lee Kuan Yew 1959-1990. The local currency is the Singapore dollar. You may have heard about the strict laws here against littering and public indecency .

Saturday Singapore

After breakfast we changed from the hotel (the New Seventh Storey) Hotel to a hostel ($6.50 per night for the three of us). The door on the hostel is flimsy plywood so we had to use our padlock for the first time. (JAG) Geographically located at latitude (1.2992 degrees) 1° 17′ 57″ North of the Equator and longitude (103.857 degrees) 103° 51′ 25″ East of the Prime Meridian on the Map of Singapore or JB. Ah!! So close. That’s about 85 miles north of the equator. Los Alvarez Mexico is the closest antipode. Singapore has an equatorial climate that means there is one season all year round.

Afterwards we rode on the double Decker bus to Prince Edward Road , which was the end of the line. Just a small road dead ending into. . .East End Parkway.  Named for Prince Edward the King who abdicated his throne, the Duke of Windsor, not the son of Queen Charlotte father of Queen Victoria PEI in Canada. There is also a Prince Edward Road in Hong Kong. We walked back up Shenton Way Chinese: , which is one of the main drags—stopped in a store that catered to Russian tourists.

Ate lunch at an interesting Market. It was an old pavilion with many food stalls serving many different cuisines. I had tofu and potatoes Indian style. food court date accessed 2/3/2009

Next we walked through Chinatown to Sri Mariammen temple the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. This is the first Hindu temple I have ever seen. Also saw a baby getting his first haircut. He was screaming his head off. Singapore has its modern parts, but many parts retain their old character.

Next we walked along the river to the Merlion and Elizabeth Walk—saw the Supreme Court building of Singapore, city hall, and Victoria Hall, as well as a cricket match. .Padang 政府大厦大草Next stop-the Raffles Hotel-for a Singapore sling at the long bar, yes it really was invented here. It was good-it had a gin taste I had expected it to be sweet, but it wasn’t.

Afterwards Jim and I went to the movies to see Foul Play with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. Jim has always been a clothes horse and a movie buff( I just talked to JAG and even after 30 years he remembers that film when we saw it where we were and who was in it. (Gram and Boppie saw it too but not in Singapore). It was very funny. Had dinner–satay the squared meat specialty, grilled and served on wooden skewers. Before going to bed we went to Albert Street. As they say you haven’t been to Singapore until you’ve been to Albert Street. Whips and birds and cats.


Today we went to Sentosa-Singapore’s island retreat. An island with an island, how quaint. Went swimming and got some sun. Took the cable car back across the straight to Mount Faber, Singapore highest point at a lofty 500 feet. Walked down the mount to an urban renewal housing complex at S$ 1000K better than Pruitt Igoe in St. Louis.

Went by the main fire station-an interesting building. Saw the Armenian Church (the first in Singapore) as well as the American embassy.

Went to Clifford Pier for a sunset cruise after eating dinner-only to find there were none on Sunday. Merlion and Elizabeth Walk again, with a stop for a fresh pineapple drink. Talked to some locals about life in Singapore.

Monday Jahore Bahru/Kotta Tinggi

After changing money at the bank we headed for the waterfalls of Kota Tinggi in Malaysia. Connected to Singapore by a causeway, this involved a bus ride of about two hours with two changes including one in Johor Bahru Majlis Bandaraya Johor Bahru (جوهر بهرو ), just across the causeway from Singapore. The waterfall itself was nothing spectacular, but it was nice, as was the ride up and we did get to see some of Malaysia. We passed many rubber trees on the way up and also saw a tin mine. It makes a nice day trip from either KL (Kuala Lumpur) or Singapore. Seven Up Company has lots of developers in Malaysia. I would learn that when I started working for them when I got back. I had a TA from Malaysia when I was in graduate school in Cincinnati. I Remember this was quiet a contention between the three of us.

We met some interesting people today including two tourists from Germany, a Dutch family staying at our hostel and the man at the bus station and a guy on the bus. In general people are very friendly and interested in their visitors.

I walked up to the government building in Jahore Bahru before returning. We got back about eight. Ate dinner at the stalls on Albert street and looked at some of the shops. I understand now Albert street is rundown and nothing like it was then.


Today we played tourist. We started at the Tiger Balm Gardens, just like the one in Hong Kong, but much larger. Had a nice talk with a man from Holland. Next we saw the instant Asia show, a series of dances put on for the tourists, including a snake charming ac in which members of the audience were allowed to be photographed with the snake. This was the funny part. Australian tourists they were closer to home than we were and they liked their Foster’s.

After a good lunch at the coffee shop we went to the Jahor sic (Jurong) Bird Park.

Saw many types of birds, including many birds of the ASEAN countries. Also saw the 10 meter (33 feet) waterfall, the largest manmade one in the world. Afterwards we went back to Orchard Road. Home of  TANGS AND  TAKASHIMAYA for some shopping. I bought a book on culture shock and looked at cameras.

In the 1970s, pioneering landmarks like C. K. Tangs, Plaza Singapura and the Mandarin Hotel came up and led the way for entertainment complexes. Brick by brick, and block by block, towers of glass and steel lined what used to be mud-tracks to make Orchard Road the premier shopping belt today. visit singapore date accessed 2/3/2009.

Ate at the mall again. Met Jim and Dave at the pier for the sunset cruise at Clifford pier. It gave us the night view of the island. It would have been better at sunset. There is very little twilight here. The day and night are almost equal year round. When it gets dark it gets dark right away. This is our last evening in Singapore.

Wednesday Singapore/Hong Kong

Today is the fourth of July, Independence Day back home. Today is the day we left Singapore for Seoul. There are no direct flights we have to stop in Hong Kong and Taipei. Before going to the airport we went to the Sultan masjid and walked around Arab Street. Not my first mosque. I’ve seen plenty of them in Istanbul and Morocco.

We arrived in HK about eight thirty in the evening. Where we stayed at the YMCA. Picked up Jim’s pants and David’s suit. This is our fourth time in HK. It was not a very exciting Fourth of July.

Thursday HKG/

My top 12 favorite places

1. Washington Monument

2. St. Louis, ARCH

3. Big Sur, Calif.

4. Waikiki beach, Honolulu

5. Hileakaua Volcano, Maui

6.Rome  St Peter’s, Colosseum

7. Moscow  State Kremlin Palace

8. Kronotski Volcano, Kamchatka, Siberia

9. Japan Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima,

10. Egypt Giza pyramids

11.  Peru Machu Picchu

12. Beijing Forbidden City Great Wall of China, Badaling


My top 12 favorite places in the World

St. Louis Arch

Gateway Arch, Saint Louis

Gateway Arch, Saint Louis

Washington Monument, USA

Washington Monument

Big Sur, California, USA


Big Sur, California

Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii


Waikiki Beach

SUNRISE at Hileakaua Crater, Maui, Hawaii

Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Sunrise

St. Peter’s and Colosseum, Rome



 Kremlin, Moscow

Kremlin, Moscow

Soviet Palace of Congress and Opera House

Kronotski Stratovolcano,

Kamchatka, Siberia, Russia


Kamchatka,Russia! (Photo credit: pluckytree)

Great Wall of China, Badaling  八達嶺 

Forbidden City, Beijing 紫禁城

Peking Forbidden City

Peking Forbidden City

Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima, Japan


The torii of Itsukushima Shrine, the site's mo...

The torii of Itsukushima Shrine, the site’s most recognizable landmark, appears to float in the water. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three Views of Japan (日本三景 Nihon sankei?) /pilgrimage/shikoku/


date accessed 12/26/2008

Machu Picchu, Peru, So. America

Machu Picchu

Giza Pyramids, Egypt

Giza Great Pyramid

Great Pyramid, Giza

Deir al-Bahri, Valley of the Kings

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