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it's a long way from whitley bay... Hi everyone and welcome to our journal where you can see and read what we've been up to and where we're going next. We hope you enjoy it, and would love you to keep in touch with your news, and send us your comments! Lots of love, Sarah and Phil x ;)


JAPAN | Friday, 16 November 2007 | Views [1053] | Comments [6]

we finally saw Mount Fuji - from the plane when we left!!

we finally saw Mount Fuji - from the plane when we left!!

What can we say about Japan?  It`s fantastic! 

After the cold of Russia it was just great to get somewhere where we didn`t need to wrap up for sub-zero conditions and could stroll around in 20 degree warmth. 

We arrived pretty jetlagged on Tuesday morning at 8am Japan time after a 9 hour flight on which neither of us really managed to sleep.  Partly because of a 20 stone Russian man squashed in next to us and partly because Die Hard 4 on the inflight movies was just too entertaining not to watch! (well for Phil anyway)

We managed to get to our hotel by about 11am and it`s a really amazing little Japanese 'Ryokan' inn.  It has hot spas, water fountains, with stepping stones over a stream to get to our room, which has traditional-style futons and tatami mats on the floor. And perhaps best of all, it has a heated toilet seat - Phil is tempted to stay here for ever! Though we are still trying to get accustomed to the shoe routine - there are three different pairs of slippers to wear for different parts of the building: one outside pair, one toilet pair, and one for in-between!

On Tuesday afternoon we had a slightly sleepy walk about Tokyo - managing to get down to the water-front, where we had a sushi picnic, and then went for a ride on the monorail across the harbour where there were some fantastic views back towards the city.

Wednesday was a sightseeing day around Tokyo, first to Ueno park - a big area of shrines, museums, zoos and a boating lake - with lots of cherry trees (not in blossom but in beautful Autumn colours). On our way around we got stopped by a guy claiming to be a DJ from a Japanese radio station, who asked if we were English and if he could interview us. Phil was asked questions about his favourite bands. He mentioned the Arctic Monkeys, which we think the guy took to mean the Monkees! Sarah was asked to talk 'sexy talk' from a Japanese script, about a pop star she'd never heard of. She gave it her best shot but we think some of the sexiness may have been lost in translation! The web address we were asked to read out for the radio station was www.j-wave.co.jp - check it out! (and any Japanese speakers out there, please let us know what we said!!) 

After this star turn, we did some more walking around the city - to the Akihabara electronics district, and then up to an old Edo area - where there were ancient shrines and lots of souvenir shops (our fridge magnet collection is coming along nicely!)

On Thursday we travelled by bullet train to Hiroshima. It's about 500 miles but as it takes less than 5 hours, we were able to do it in a day trip. The trains are amazing - about twice the legroom you get in the UK, spotlessly clean, and punctual to the minute.

Hiroshima is now a very modern city - kind of Tokyo on a smaller scale. The only signs of what happened in 1945 are the A-bomb dome, which is the name given to one of the only structures to have survived the blast. We visitied the Peace museum - which tells the history of the city focusing on the impact of the bomb, and the efforts that have been made to re-build it, but also the lasting and devastating effects of the blast. A very moving place but a very worthwhile experience.

We also managed to take a ferry out to a small island off Hiroshima's coast, called Miyajima - in contrast a very tranquil place with lovely shrines and nature walks. Plus hundreds of friendly deer wandering about - some so tame they were even trying to board the ferries!

Today we visited Mount Fuji. We'd love to tell you all about it but unfortunately we didn't see it! By the time we'd reached it, it was covered in clouds and drizzle - so it was a rather sorry sightseeing bus ride that we took around the lake, trying to imagine what it would be like on a clear day instead. So it was more a case of Nowt Fuji for us... (sorry that's Sarah again!)

Tomorrow we're planning to visit the famous fish market early on, then the Imperial palace, before taking another bullet train to Kyoto.

Overall we've thoroughly enjoyed Japan - the people are lovely, the food is fantastic and the country is beautiful - a real mix of exciting futuristic cities, fabulous landscapes and fascinating history. We'd love to spend another couple of weeks here, but the camel races in Pushkar won't wait for us, so it's off to India on sunday!

Apologies for the lack of pictures to go with this entry by the way - the hotel computers won't allow us to upload them here. We'll try and get some up when we get to India early next week.

Sayonara for now!

Love from Phil and Sarah x x

p.s. our phones have only been working intermittently since Russia, so if anyone has sent a text, they may not have got through. We're hoping for more luck in India but will let you know.

Tags: On the Road



Great! - we went to Tescos!!!!!

Its wonderful to be able to follow you and read your experiences.Rob and I are at Farington Moss for Adams B,day.
(thank you for my birthday message it was the only one from abroadfrom adam )
Keep sending us news and we will all keep reading it. Luv from us here in Lancashire

  Auntie Ann Nov 17, 2007 6:21 AM


Hi, great to read all your tales. Loved the photos from Budapest. I;m off to Krakow in a couple of weeks so I guess I had better go and buy more jumpers! I can;t believe you;ve been to so many places and all we;ve done at work is debate our plans for next year, change them, then change them back again. Ho Hum!
Enjoy and keep up the writing...
Tash xx

  Tash Nov 17, 2007 8:00 AM


Sounds brilliant! no funny people on the Japanese trains then?! Thank you for the postcard. Apparently they have had loads of snow in europe last few days so probably quite lucky you missed that. Well I had a concert with manchester camerata last night (first time I have played with them) so that was good. Did I mention we have now got our allotment?! my reading material has consisted of lots of seed magazines recently to put in a big order soon! Today simon and i have both got most of the day off so we are cooking a big roast dinner and practising cranberry sauce and mums stuffing recipe (the parsley one!) a good excuse to eat yummy food! however we bought a huge and expensive new roasting dish yesterday to fit a turkey but got it home and it doesn't even fit in the oven- oops maybe got a bit over excited there! well keep up the news its great to hear what you are doing. I hope your flights to India were hitch free and that there were no 'die hard' movies to keep you from sleeping... please excuse lack of punctuation and paragraphs. How is the beard? XX

  anna Nov 18, 2007 10:35 PM


Hi Sarah,

Loving your tales from around the world... can't believe you think all this travelling lark is more exciting that work ;-) By the time you get this you'll be in India so I hope you had a top time in Japan. Its absolutely bl**dy freezing here so you have definitely done the right thing. Had a lovely run across Sainsbury's car park (you see what you are missing out on?!) in ice cold rain earlier which Jess for some reason thought was hysterical. Work the same as ever except lots to do without you here :-( I haven't spread tooooo much on to your old desk yet! Casper says hi (well he brought me ANOTHER mouse this morning so I am taking that as an international gesture of goodwill from him to you!) Have fun and keep in touch.Nick. Lucy, Jess & Casper x

PS In world news update, England given shock reprieve by Israel beating Russia and Macedonia beating Croatia

  Nick Nov 19, 2007 7:48 AM


Hi you two,

Shame about Mt Fuji but sounds as if you've had a really brilliant time in Japan. What happens if you're caught wearing the wrong pair of slippers?Looking forward to photos. (It's fun reading everyone else's comments too.) It's horribly grey and wet again here today. Gloooooomy. I wonder whether you did manage the fish market -5.30 am was it?! Will check out the whacky radio station website. The first class carriage on the train to Pushkar, mentioned in your email Sarah, sounds a good idea - you never know, after the previous experience you might otherwise be sharing with a camel! All for now, love mum xxx

  Mum (B) Nov 20, 2007 2:37 AM


Japan sounds fab and a sushi picnic is my idea of heaven. Sitting at my desk on a rainy Tuesday thinking of you guys in India. Loving your diary, fancy a job as our copy writer! Tom sends his best.
Ps. Your house is still standing (!), Clio and Brian say hi. They are loving it and looking after it very well.

  Jaye Nov 27, 2007 11:43 PM

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