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Silk worms or octopus tentacles anyone?

A tour of “Old Beijing”



Chinese food was mostly good. (Janine would test it first.)

Aug 19 Miyajima: famous for its floating torii, considered to be one of the three most scenic views in Japan.

Aug 19 Hiroshima

A-Bomb Dome (right)

Stands at ground zero  where the bomb exploded, and now has been preserved as a UMESCO World Heritage Site.

Children’s Peace Monument


The girl with outstretched hands represents a victim of the bomb who believed that if she could make 1,000 paper cranes (Japanese symbol of longevity and happiness) she would recover from illness.  She died, but school children still send the paper cranes that adorn the memorial.

Aug 21 Himeji: The largest Samuri castle in Japan including a labyrinth of passageways and gateways to confuse enemies and a suicide quarter.

August 23  Nara

Kokuzo Bosatsu (Buddha)

Great Buddha Vairocana:

Largest Buddha in Japan (53 ft)

healing Buddha

The Todai-ji Temple is the largest wooden structure in Japan.

It is believed that if you can squeeze through this hole you will attain Nirvana.

This is the most famous of thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari (dog, above).  There are avenues of hundreds of torii (gates) that have been donated by business-men who come here to pray for prosperity.  We kept singing, “Torii’s of Orange Forever.” (“Strawberry Fields Forever,” by the Beatles)

Aug 22-23 Kyoto

At Gion corner in Kyoto we saw a show featuring the traditional arts of Japan including a tea ceremony, Geisha dancing, Noh theatre, puppets, plant arranging, and music.

Kinkaku-ji: the Golden Pavillion (and Janine and Dana)

Bill perfected ultimate fan opening swish/click.

Nijo Castle

Equipped with the famous Nightingale floors, that would “sing” when walked on to warn of intruders.

Sushi Bar.  Everyone tried it but Bill.  We all agreed that it was surprisingly LESS fishy than the NON fish items we’d eaten while in Japan. 

Aug 24 back inTokyo

Dana and Bill enjoying Hard Rock Café Tokyo

Tokyo Tower, a replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, only taller and orange, making it distinctly Japanese.

The spectacular view of Tokyo from the Tokyo Tower on our last night in the Orient.

Daniel, Dana, Curtis, and Janine

Aug 12 Kamakura:  Featuring Japan’s largest outdoor Buddha.  As with all Japanese sacred places, one washes before entering.

We also visited the Hasadera Temple in Kamakura. 

Dan, Bill, Dana, Janine, and Curtis


Aug 12-13 Mount Fugi.  We started hiking around 11:30 pm. . . .  

At about 6:00 am we reached the summit: 12,386 feet.


Dan, Bill, Dana, Janine, and Curtis

August 15-18 China (Beijing)



The Forbidden City

The Great Wall of China

Aug 14 Tokyo

The Tokyo Temple

Takeshita Street


Our guide said, “You’re not a real man until you’ve climbed The Great Wall.”  It was steep. (But not as steep as Mount Fugi.)

The Forbidden City was HUGE and decadent.

(Above) is one of many throne rooms.  (Right) is Tiananmen Square, with Chairman Mau.  It’s just outside the Forbidden City.

The Summer Palace.  Here we found the world’s largest outdoor corridor (right) and Empress Xixi’s famous marble boat. It’s said that the boat is the leader and the water is the people, so Xixi  built a marble boat for herself to show that she could not be overturned by the people.

Chinese acrobats are amazing.

Daniel, Bill, Dana, Janine, and Curtis in Old Beijing

Trip to the Orient

August 9-25, 2005

Bill and Dana left on the 9th, and arrived in Tokyo the evening of the 10th.  Janine and Curtis came the next day.  We met up with Daniel Bunn who gave us a tour of his navy base, his off-base apartment,  and hooked us up with a US bank, grocery store, etc.