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Article: Sake anyone?

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    Sake anyone?

    2 Comments by happy daze john in oz Published on 6th July 2018 12:26 PM
    Part one of my cruise to Japan and South korea


    For those who have traveled to Ireland they will know it is reputed to have some forty shades of Green, the lush green pastures giving it the renowned title.

    Flying into Tokyo airport Narita one could be excused for thinking the aircraft had taken a wrong turn. From the air all that can be seen on the approach are fields of green, lush green Paddi fields, rice the staple diet of Japan. Along with a multitude of vegetables some fish and seaweed to complete the diet. Meat is something of a luxury for many.

    An open mind on our approach not knowing what may befall us as we entered the airport.
    It is said that first impressions make a lasting impression on the mind and this is very true in Japan.
    Singapore has one of the most advanced and precise airports where efficiency is the rule of the day.
    Whilst it is a world leader even they fall behind compared with Japan.

    The first and maybe the most impressive thing is the manner in which immigration is handled, politeness and efficiency going hand in hand is something to behold. It is exact and thorough in all aspects, from finger printing to facial recognition all done in prompt timing and with a politeness never experienced in any airport before. Some how there is a gentleness coupled with efficiency putting the traveler at ease in an instance. Having your passpoprt taken by two white gloved hands, inspected and returned in the same manner along with a bow of the head to go with it is something very different.
    A country where PC and gender equality are not an issue, all members of society respecting the other.

    Once completed one goes through customs without any questions being asked and then to baggage collection. Here one wonders if this is real as checking each piece of baggage and wiping away any marks or dirt are airport staff ensuring that all luggage is clean when you take it away.
    It is obvious one of the most busy industries is the making of white cotton gloves. All persons in any public domain, taxi drivers, fork lift drivers, all airport staff wearing them.

    Once clear then to the railway station within the airport precinct. Japan Rail is one of the worlds finest when it comes to rail systems, efficiency, timing and cleanliness being the order here.
    Purchasing tickets is a very simple matter with staff who have a very good command of English.
    Once on to the platform you are guided to the exact spot where the door for your nominated carriage will arrive. A gentleman in full uniform much like a soldier, white gloves, guides you there.

    On arrival there is no rush to board, on the opposite side the doors open, passengers alight, once clear those doors close and the doors for those boarding open.
    The carriages are pristine in their cleanliness, no graffiti or rubbish on the floor. Carriage crew who ensure you are comfortable in your seating with luggage areas away from the seating.

    Timing of the train is imperative to their efficiency, the train will leave exactly on time, not a second before or after.

    Once out of the station one could think you were on a train in England, green shrubs and trees line the first few kilometers on the line with small double storey houses visible along the way. But the deceit is short lived as the train gathers speed and from the window one begins to see the real Japan.

    Rising from the ground like giant monoliths reaching for the stars, towering apartment blocks the tops of which disappear in the low clouds, some as high as 50 storeys with an average size of 40 square meters. Row on row in their hundreds, and even to their thousands, like soldiers on parade.


    Below, spreading like the web of a spider or the tentacles of an Octopus the road system. One that many nations would be so proud of but some how have never managed to complete. Three lane highways and multi storey bridges, freeway on top with slower lanes below. But the traffic is never heavy, most workers going by train. But there is a a politeness even on the roads, no cutting in, no road rage all travel in an orderly manner. As a result accidents and road trauma are well below that of any western nation.

    After WW2 Japan was little more than a basket case, much destroyed by nuclear bombs it was reduced to rubble.
    But like the Phoenix it has risen from the ashes to become the power house of industry it is today.

    A country of exceptional beauty with gardens manicured to such a degree that it is hard to understand how much patience is required to reach such perfection. But perfection is the manner in which they live.
    All aspects of their daily life is governed by perfection, a people of such inner beauty where even language barriers do not prevent them from being willing to assist the traveler. A country where the traveler may wander in perfect safety, a feeling that is at once evident from the time you step off the aircraft.

    Any one arriving in Japan with neck problems will after a few days find the problem gone, so much bowing refreshes the neck muscles.

    Shrines and memorial markers are everywhere, on road sides, corner blocks and even in deep country regions. A deeply respectful nation who care not only for the elderly but the place where they finally lie. Throughout the nation no rubbish will be found on roads, hedge rows or even building sites. No graffiti as the punishment for doing so is so severe and to be caught means loosing face, the worst punishment possible for the Japanese. Drink driving, a fine of US$3,000.

    All along the coast mountains and hills rise like sentinels guarding the foreshore, snow capped mountains, even in summer, abound with wispy clouds hovering over then like a brides veil.

    A nation reliant on fishing for much of its food supply. Along the dock side a plethora of fishing boats of all sizes, many new and gleaming white against a sky of blue azure. Whilst there are some, rusted and worn, like an aged seaman on his final voyage. Nightly they go and from the shore the gleaming lights of so many small craft light the sky.

    They are large smokers but they will never smoke on the open street, set aside from the main roads are smoking areas. Some may be part of the local cafe, others small gardens with seating and never a cigarette butt to be seen on the ground.

    A nation that takes care of the workers in ways maybe not seen in the west.
    Road side workers need to relive themselves at times. No going behind the nearest hedge here. Toilet buses are provided for them, and the toilet system in Japan is very different.
    Along the outside of the toilet seat are a number of buttons. The red one heats the seat, but be warned press for too long and the pain may be too much to bear.
    Once completed a series of flushes are available depending on gender. A gentle wash followed by warm air to dry. This is the ultimate wash and blow dry.


    Japan is a vehicle building nation, one of only 16 left around the world, but many of the vehicles are for home sales only, small and almost cube like in design they fill the roads with fuel at around US$1.95 a liter.
    The people are so orderly in their manner that they will not cross a road until the green walk sign is on. Even if there is no traffic they will still wait. Police in white coats regularly patrol the streets so crime is at a low level.

    We visited a number of ports around the nation, all provided a very warm welcome and there are so many wonderful sights to see. Well experienced guides will escort you to many places of interest explaining the history of the nation and the part played by the Samurai over the centuries.
    A nation that at times has been very tribal and war like, attempting on occasions to invade both China and Korea in the search for more land. But that was many centuries ago and now a very different nation
    where peace and harmony now rule their daily lives.

    Part two later.
    Last edited by Doc Vernon; 6th July 2018 at 08:50 PM.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Sake anyone?

    And after the Holiday once again back home and yet another great story of your Trip and exciting times John,look forward to part two (although may be you went twice around LOL I have Edited the second repeat out)
    Thanks nice one
    Cheers
    Senior Member and Friend of this Website

    R697530

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    Default Re: Sake anyone?

    Got a bit confusing at times as it was two cruises in one. A6 day one from Yokahama to S.Korea and one Japanese port, back to Yokahama then back to S. Korea again before the next Japan ports.
    Then she was off on another 8 day as far as Russia and back.
    We had the 6 and 8 all rolled into one.
    Happy daze John in Oz.

    Life is too short to blend in.

    John Strange R737787
    World Traveller

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