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vagabonds3 "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." Mark Twain

Welcome to Japan

JAPAN | Monday, 29 July 2019 | Views [82]

Celebrating Japanese cruise on Maasdam

Celebrating Japanese cruise on Maasdam

FOR NEARLY 36 HOURS WE SLITHERED THROUGH FOG, accompanied every two minutes — as required by maritime law — by a blast on the Maasdam’s horn.  Gloomy though it was, Connie completed her daily 6-miles trudge on deck.  She was rewarded yesterday by a pair of Orcas that suddenly materialized, breached and disappeared into the mist.  She looked around at the empty deck and smiled, early-birdly.


    No little cat's feet here

It took several hours for Japanese immigration to process the forms, fingerprint and photograph 1200 passengers and stamp passports in Kushiro, our first port in Japan so we in Group 6 didn’t get ashore until after lunch.  It wasn’t a problem since we didn’t have any plans except to see the Red-Crowned Cranes.  


   Red-Crowned Cranes, Kushiro

The cranes are one of the symbols of Japan so even the taxi driver — with a little help from the visitors center — knew where we wanted to go.  We made an ATM stop at a 7-11 near the port for some readies.  I mistakenly withdrew 10,000 yen, about $970.  It’s more than I planned on but we are certain to use it up — and then some.  We have eight more stops in Japan on the cruise, plus however long we stay on afterwards.


   The hoard from the Maasdam

Even with our late departure we beat the tour buses to the Crane Center by almost an hour and we were getting ready to return to the Maasdam about the time the first groups arrived.  I got some good pictures of the cranes but can’t see what all the fuss is about.  True, there are only 3000 red-crowned cranes in the world and half can be found here on Hokaido.  But they aren’t any more exciting than our American sandhill cranes and certainly not as rare as the whoopers.

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  Japanese lanterns                         Tochi Drummers, Yokohama


The Maasdam was all tarted up for our arrival in Japan.  Lanterns festooned the Lido dining room and the servers were dressed Geisha-like.  In Yokohama a drum band entertained from the pier while 400 or so passengers departed, replaced by 400 new faces.  This is officially a new cruise, the Rising Sun cruise or something, but we will make a couple more stops in Russia, too.


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John and Connie, Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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