A Travellerspoint blog

Japanese Birthdays

semi-overcast 25 °C

It is very difficult to believe that Sheila was celebrating her 15th birthday when the first Shinkansen high speed trains sped across Japan at an astounding 270 kilometres an hour on October 1, 1964. Thousands of the trains and their upgraded offspring now whisk us around the country at speeds approaching three hundred kph. But wheeled trains are old hat. They have been around for nearly two hundred years and Japan is leaping into the future with 500 kilometre an hour maglev trains next year. Sheila too is leaping into the future and here we are with friends Trudy and Christine in a yuba, (soya), restaurant in Kyoto celebrating her induction into the silver society...
She even had a proper birthday cake with candles thanks to one of the many authentic (and truly excellent) French patisseries here…

Although the thermometer still hovers in the high twenties, fall is coming to Japan and the fabled maples are just beginning to show their true colours. While maples may be the stars of autumn, the lofty bamboos of Japan are a stunning sight year round. This forest is in Arashyama…
Almost every home in Japan is surrounded by plants and there are wildflowers in abundance. It is amazing how many blooms there are at this time of the year. The beautiful waterlilies in the garden of the Ohara art gallery in Kurashki actually came from Monet’s garden in Giverny in France. However, there are many ancient formal gardens in Japan and we have visited some of the most striking. These are views of the garden of the Shugakuin imperial villa in Kyoto…
...and this is the famous 'dry' garden at the Ryoanji temple...

The Korakuen garden in Okayama, completed in 1700, is designated as a place of outstanding beauty and has three Michelin stars. The garden has its own rice paddy and tea plantation and it is a very popular place for wedding photos…

The arborists at Korakuen manicure each tree one leaf or needle at a time, while the gardeners carefully sweep every fallen leaf and twig from the waters which are teeming with giant carp…
Such attention to detail is commonplace in Japan, but surely nothing beats the young man whom we saw painstakingly removing every tiny misshapen and discoloured stonelet from the miles of gravel paths at the Shugakuin imperial villa.

Our time in Kyoto, Okayama and Kurashki has been especially memorable thanks to Trudy’s friend Yoshie and her cousin Dr. Jinroh Itami, together with Takashi and Chieko. Here is Chieko offering us oyster sembei – freshly made rice crackers, each containing a whole oyster…
Thank you all for your amazing hospitality and gifts.
We are now enroute to Hiroshima where we are hoping to dodge our second typhoon - Phanfone.

Posted by Hawkson 06:14 Archived in Japan

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Happy Birthday Sheila! What a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday! Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing.

by Sandra

Happy Birthday old girl. We see you have celebrated in style. We love all your pictures of Japan and where you have been. It is very enticing for a trip of our own.

by keith and helen

what a beautiful place. It makes me feel ok that I have a lovely little house, not too big but its cosy. I would like to see some of their houses in that small country. love Jean

by Jean McLaren

Ah, a Japanese taco. I must try that. We are in our second "r" month so good oysters here, too.

by R and B

As always, your posts are filled with history and real information, and, great photos. Thanks for all of it. And Sheila, I will make you my famous Blueberry-whipped cream-dessert, you know the one..:-) when you return!

by gottfried

I love it that almost every home is surrounded by plants. The bamboo forest was spectacular. Here's to a long life Sheila.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Many Happy Returns of the Day Sheila!!
with love from Kaye

by Kaye

Really beautiful pictures and gardens.

by The Vickerage

Many, many happy returns, Sheila...how special you are! What fab pics....looks so lovely. We went for our first (of many) visits to the new Museum of Human Rights right here in Wpg.....an awesome experience, too. Please come and visit and see it!
love to you both

by Sharron

Belated Birthday Wishes Sheila, l can see you had a fabulous time with Trudy, Christine and Dad. Lots of love to you.

by Amanda

From Shinkansen to sembei with stops in between! Great range of photos. Glad to see you were dry?

by Tom

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.