A Travellerspoint blog

Home Sweet Home

sunny 16 °C

Here we are safely back home on our little Pacific island and although we've travelled 42,000 kilometres since January we have felt at home the entire time. Despite New Zealand's unique flora and fauna the geography is very similar to that of British Columbia - a rocky shoreline encircling ranges of snow capped mountains surrounded by temperate rainforests and pristine lakes...
The culture of New Zealand was also familiar to us and was reminiscent of the England of our childhood. There is far less American influence than in Canada, and British favourites like Devonshire cream teas, fish & chips, and Cornish pasties are everywhere.
Tasmania, with its tiny population, was built on the backs of transported prisoners and the architecture has a distinctly British style. This corner pub/hotel could be anywhere in England...
And this is an original 1825 hasp on the door of Richmond Goal – the first of Tasmania’s infamous prisons for women transportees...
We felt completely at home in Tasmania as we did throughout the rest of Australia. The main island of Australia is vast and although we drove some 7,000 kilometres in three weeks we barely scraped the southeast corner. Thanks to friends in Melbourne, Mount Victoria and Sydney, we got a solid introduction to local life, however it was the variety and quantity of wildlife that surprised us most. We loved seeing the flocks of emus in the outback. This mother had three chicks...
We especially loved seeing the kangaroos, the koalas and, of course, Australia’s iconic black swans...
You might think that we felt so at home in Australasia because of the similarity between our language, customs and cuisine, but, in truth, we felt just as comfortable in Japan. Maybe it is the Japanese people’s incredible politeness and honesty that we enjoy. We thought we had seen everything when the waitress chased after us with a 50 cent overpayment, until the check-out clerk at a Tokyo supermarket ran into the street because we had not taken the 1 cent change for a carton of milk. We have so many wonderful memories of this trip, but the flowering of the cherry trees at Kanazawa Castle will forever symbolize Japan in our minds...
Despite a few showers when we arrived in Tokyo, the sun soon came out and the Sensui-ji temple at Asakusa looked amazing in the early morning light...
However, it didn’t take long for the tourists to show up...
With Tokyo’s population exceeding the whole of Canadas it’s not surprising that the city has vast shopping centres. The best known is the Ginza where we went looking for a birthday card. We were directed to a shop with 17 floors dedicated entirely to stationery - all manner of paper, pens and cards – and were surprised to see that the 11th floor was described as ‘The Farm”. Could that mean stationery dedicated to agricultural business? No – it is actually a farm...
... a hydroponic farm growing vegetables for the 12th floor restaurant. Nothing surprises us in Japan and we spent our final night in the Akasasa district at the Ninja Restaurant as guests of our friend Yoshie. Ninjas were spies and assassins in 15th and 16th century Japan when it was
considered unseemly for the samurai warriors to engage in subterfuge. The ninjas were a feared underclass because of their believed ability to make themselves invisible and to kill silently. We were greeted outside the restaurant by a ninja warrior dressed entirely in black and led to our 'dungeon' through a labyrinth of dark tunnels and secret doors. We were then served a multi-course haute-Japanese meal by a 'Ninja' waiter who couldn't have squashed a rumour let alone a fly...
So, that’s it folks, another part of the globe explored and explained. We trust that you enjoyed the experience – we certainly did. We truly appreciate your presence, and your comments, and we hope you travel with us again the next time we pack our bags and head out on another Blissfull Adventure.
Sayonara for now.

Posted by Hawkson 20:28 Archived in Canada

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Thank you so very much for such well documented travels. I enjoyed it thoroughly. You have some hilarious friends. Loved their comments as well.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Welcome back to your island paradise. Beauty and kind people wherever you find yourself. Loved your travels. I enjoyed the entire journey but of course I have a special shrine in my heart just forJapan. Xoxo

by Trudy

Welcome home.
Many thanks for taking me to the wonders of Japan.

by Christine Lloyd

Well done Jim and Sheila!!

by Kelly Waugh

Luckily you are coming back to Gabriola and we will be able to hear more about your trip at our Book Club. And there is a message from my son Kelly right above me, even though he is far away in Colombia

by Jean McLaren

And as the dazzling early morning sun streams through our windows this morning, I knew you must be back on Gabriola.

by R and B

Glad you made it safely home before the quakes hit. Thanks for the trip & keeping me in the loop, b.

by Bob

Welcome back home.

by Janet

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