Sunday, March 11, 2012

Some pics from my Japan trip...

My friend Nancy, her husband Paul and daughter Naomi.

Me and Rhonda and Rie - these were the lovely ladies who got this weary traveler through the airport, the train and on to meet Nancy so I could go home with Nancy.  So thankful Rie (on the far right) knew the language and knew where we were going!   Rhonda and I just followed behind.  Way to go Rie!
The never ending racks of slippers.  Here we had to change out of our personal slippers into the special "dining room" slippers at the retreat center.  Wow!  All the rules!  I was bound to make some major cultural blunder.
The roads were so narrow in some spots.  They were really like one way streets that they managed to drive as a two-way street.  Sometimes you had to pull way over to let someone else squeeze past before you could keep driving.  Nancy maneuvered like a pro!
Just had to include this pictures... oh the lovely heated toilet seats!  Notice the control panel on the side.  From what I could decipher, you could adjust the bidet, the heat and other things I wasn't sure about because I couldn't read the toilet!  Most places don't have any central heating and so public bathrooms were often cold - so nice to have a warm seat though!  :-)
 There were vending machines everywhere.  You would even see them just along the street.  Not sure why there were so many or if they were even full - although later in my trip I actually saw someone filling one that was just right out on the sidewalk. 
Saw some familiar places - although I was told the Denny's is NOTHING like what you would expect, unless you are expecting raw sushi and not sure what else.  There was very little English around the city so it was really rare for me to recognize anything familiar.  It would have been nearly impossible for me to get around if I hadn't had the benefit of having friends there who understood the language.

At a famous Buddhist temple in Nikko.  Was able to get out sightseeing one afternoon with some of the missionary ladies.  Not sure exactly what all I was looking at because, again, there was very little English so I wasn't able to read any of the signs.  This building is where you find the hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil, see-no-evil monkeys.  They are etched into the building and they are actually in a series of etchings that tell the story of a baby monkey.  Here are the monkey's...
A pagoda at the Nikko site.  Amazing detail.  One of the buildings in this "complex" was under construction.  Basically it takes two years to repaint a building like this because of all the detail.  Beautiful colors once they are done though!
A close-up of some intricacies you find on these buildings. So many things to look at on one building!  Amazing detail!
Not sure the significance of this bridge, but it was all blocked off so you couldn't go on it.  It was really pretty with the river running under it!

I wish you could see this whole building - the top part is in the clouds.  If you look closely you can see more of the top of the structure at the top of the picture - kinda hard to pick out though.  I wasn't sure what this building was but saw a Japanese girl taking pictures as we drove by (I was on the bus on the way to the airport) so I thought it held some significance.  I looked it up when I got home and this is the 2nd tallest structure in the world - next to one in Dubai.  It made skyscrapers pale in comparison!  This other picture shows the shape a little better.  It was so rainy/hazy that it was hard to get a good picture.

I thought this manhole cover was so cute!  They didn't all look like this but I was able to get a picture of this one from the bus.  

Well... more pictures later.  Checkout the JEMA Women's ministry Facbook album for pictures from the retreat: