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Fish and Chips Heaven...
Submitted by bugsly on Friday, June 16, 2006 - 23:00 Australia | Boat | Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Walk

Doyles Fish and Chips by the Bay has the best fish and chips I have had so far on the trip. We took the ferry to Watson’s Bay and enjoyed lunch on the water. It was great. Afterward we explored the town a bit and then caught the ferry back to Sydney.

Bugsly


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Stuffed Animals and Pearls
Submitted by bugsly on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 22:58 Australia | Boat | Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Walk

This morning my Dad and I returned our rental car and then went to the Australian Museum. They had a special exhibit about pearls. There was a natural history exhibit as well with lots of taxidermied animals like crocodiles, kangaroos, and many animals in jars in preservative. It was gross! And it also smelled bad in that room…

Bugsly


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Sydney...
Submitted by bugsly on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 22:56 Australia | Car | Foreign Language and Music Study | Life Sciences | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Walk

Today we arrived in Sydney. Our hotel is nice and right on the harbour. We went for a walk to see the city and eventually caught a really good meal right on the bay. The fish was fresh caught and cooked right away. It was delicious.

Bugsly


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Yodobashi with Dad
Submitted by bugsly on Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 16:17 Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Japan | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Train | Walk

Today I went on the train to Tokyo with my Dad to a place called Yodobashi. It's like an electronics wonderland for him. Anyway, we visited the golf course on the 8th floor of the building and had lunch on the 7th floor.

After that, we explored the entire complex with books, glasses, computers, Nintendo accessories, you name it, they probably had it! After about two hours of walking around, we stopped for a quick ice cream sundae or two and headed back for the train.

56 minutes later, we were walking back in the rain. We heard a car go by with a speaker on top saying something very loud in Japanese. We didn't understand it, but when we got back a couple of minutes later, the rain had started falling heavier and heavier and thunder and lightening was getting closer.

We arrived back to find Miyako, Mom and Michael closing the shutters on the house. The car we had heard going by, was actually a vehicle announcing that there was a typhoon warning. About one half of an hour later, the thunder was right above our heads and the lightening was even closer. By 11:00 pm it had passed and there was silence in the skies.

Bugsly


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Toyota Factory Tour & Nine Trains in One Day
Submitted by bugsly on Tuesday, May 23, 2006 - 16:10 Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Japan | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Train | Walk

This morning we left Kyoto really early. Kazuo dropped us off at the station and we said our goodbyes. We hope to see him again in Kyoto on another visit or if he comes to see us in California.

We got on the first of 9 trains of the day and made our way to Toyotashi for a tour that my Dad arranged of the Toyota Factory.

The tour of the factory was incredible. First we saw the assembly line and how innovative they are with their automation and tools. They saw them building the Toyota Prius. In this factory, they build almost 2,000 cars a day.

After the assembly line, we toured the welding shop. It is all automated and robots do all of the welding and moving of parts from one station to another. It was quite funny to see them working all in unison, almost like they were dancing.

After the tour was over, we had lunch and headed back to the train. Many trains later, we arrived in Kamakura again, most happy to rest.

Bugsly


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Kyoto and Kazuo
Submitted by bugsly on Monday, May 22, 2006 - 15:55 Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Japan | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Train | Walk

On Saturday we traveled on the bullet train to Kyoto. We got there at about 4:00 and Kazuo, the owner of Bon Guesthouse, picked us up. On our way to his guesthouse, he took us to see a Shinto shrine called Shimogamojina. It was very large, and extremely peaceful. It had a very large entrance gate painted orange and black.

When we arrived at Bon Guesthouse, we got settled and then headed to the market with Kazuo. We shopped for fish and groceries for a sushi dinner.

Michael, Mom and Kazuo made dinner while Dad and I explored the neighborhood.

When we got back, dinner was ready and we feasted on delicious home-made sushi. Kazuo was sushi chef in many places including New York City. It was a fun evening and after dinner we showed our new friends Noriko and Kentaro how to play Rummikub. We had a great time together!

Sunday morning we got up early and headed to the To-ji Temple Market. My Mom had heard from a friend that it was a great experience. And it was. It was hot and crowded, but full of interesting and great finds (and great food!). I found an antique black lacquer box with inlays of flowers and desgins. My Dad sampled various foods with limited success. Michael and I had soy donuts covered in powdered sugar, they were great!

After the market, we went to lunch and then made our way to Bon Guesthouse for the evening. Kazuo made another wonderful dinner, Japanese Curry with brown rice.

On Monday, Kazuo took my Mom and I to several amazing temples. The first one was called Honenin Temple and it had beautiful Zen gardens to walk through.

The next temple was Nanzenji and it had incredible gardens. There were ponds with lilypads, beautiful buildings, stone lanterns and blooming iris. The Koy fish in the pond were HUGE and colorful. There were also turtles swimming in the pond and sunning themselves on the rocks.

After that we had a picnic lunch in the grounds of Kenninji Temple in the Gion Geisha district of Kyoto. The temple grounds were beautiful and peaceful.


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Arriving in Kamakura
Submitted by bugsly on Saturday, May 20, 2006 - 15:44 Car | Core | Fly | Foreign Language and Music Study | Japan | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Train | Walk

Thursday we traveled all day to Japan. First the flight which was 4 hours, then the subway in Narita, then the express train to Kamakura, then a taxi to the home of Miyako where we are staying in her guesthouse. It was 9:00 pm when we finally got settled.

Dad and Michael went to find food for dinner and were able to get sushi and noodles at the local "Union" grocery store.

On Friday we went to see the Daihatsu Buddha, the giant Buddha in Kamakura. It was HUGE. There were lots of school kids visiting since it's the time of year when kids from Tokyo visit all over Japan on field trips.

After the Buddha, we went to visit Catharine Nagashima who is the daughter of Edrica Huws, the patchwork artist. My Mom was really excited to meet her and see more of her mother's work. We had a great time at tea with her and her grandchildren, Sieffre, Steffan and Ffiona. Michael is going to go to school with Sieffre one day next week. We had fun playing board games together.

After that, we all went to dinner at a place where you cook your own food on a hot plate in the middle of the table. It was delicious! It was a great day and we hope to see them again next week!

Bugsly


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Cinnamon Toast and Tea
Submitted by bugsly on Thursday, May 18, 2006 - 15:38 Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Hong Kong | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Walk

It's great to be back in a familiar place. We are staying at the same hotel (The HW Mariott) as the last time we were in Hong Kong. There is a typhoon warning so they are taking down the flags and closing the pool. It's really windy.

We had dinner at a restaurant called yè shanghai and it was delicious. Our friend Walter in Santa Cruz suggested we go there.

We are packing for our journey to Japan tomorrow.

Bugsly


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Tiananmen Square and Chairman Mao
Submitted by bugsly on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 22:59 Car | China | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Tea | Walk

We set off for the short drive to Tienanmen Square first thing in the morning. When we arrived, it was already crowded. The biggest line was to see Chairman Mao’s mausoleum. We wandered around the square and looked at the enormous portrait of him on the outside gate of The Forbidden City across the street. One odd but interesting thing that happened to us twice while in Tiananmen Square was that people from the area asked to have their photo taken with us.

After Tiananmen Square, we crossed the road underneath and came up on the other side at the gate for The Forbidden City. The Forbidden City is where the emperors lived with their families and servants for hundreds of years. Anyone outside the royal family was not permitted to enter.

When Chairman Mao came to power, The Forbidden City was opened to the public for the first time. We wandered through many ornate and intricately painted gates and buildings.

After The Forbidden City, we went to lunch at Qianmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant built in 1864. We ordered our duck and when it came to the table, we were handed a certificate of authenticity bearing its serial number. They have served more than one hundred million roasted ducks in the restaurant. The chef cut up the duck at our table, and sliced the head in half, left and right. Upon studying its brain, our duck appeared to be less artistic and more intellectual. The duck was tasty with plum sauce. My Dad enjoyed eating the crispy fatty skin. I, on the other hand, did not.

After lunch, we headed to The Temple of Heaven where we even more people asked to have their picture taken with us (with their camera). The building itself is designed under the ancient circle and square motifs. The circle represents heaven and the square, earth. The main building had just been freshly restored. It was magnificent.

After we left there, we went back to the hotel and crashed for the night.

Bugsly


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Kowloon and on to Beijing!
Submitted by bugsly on Friday, May 12, 2006 - 23:24 Boat | Car | Core | Fly | Foreign Language and Music Study | Hong Kong | Physical and Health Education | Subway | Tea | Train | Walk

Thursday we visited a travel agent that helped us with our Japan Rail Pass. Then we took the MTR to Kowloon on the other side of Victoria Harbour. Kowloon was full of electronics shops. My Dad was in heaven. We went to a small jade shop that we walked by and I picked out a pair of earrings. The woman that helped us assured us that it was good quality jade and that the price was fair.

We then looked for a place to eat and on the way we went through the wedding dress district and saw lots of exotic looks for brides in the windows. After lunch we headed for the Star Ferry to take us back across the harbour.

We stopped by the travel agent on our way back to the hotel and picked up our passes. We had sushi for dinner at the California Sushi Restaurant.

Friday morning we packed for Beijing and said goodbye to Hong Kong for now.

Bugsly


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Fun Fact...

There are three types of "Kiwi's" in New Zealand. Kiwi birds, Kiwi fruit and the New Zealanders call themselves "Kiwis"!

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