Sunday, April 14, 2013


We are trying to increase the activity of the Jollyboat fleet at PMYC, and a good step in this direction was the Jollyboat Championship started yesterday.
There were 12 boats racing on the event, with only 3 left in the shed ( a few others not at the club), but the reappearance of Spartacus JB 34 (Gift from Denis Paskins) was great. This will be a club boat so hopefully will help sailing school continue getting on the water.
We have a historic picture at the Club of the first ASHES series when we had almost all the found/ known JB's on the beach 22 of them, So we have a way to go!
Maybe next year with the Club's 125th Anniversary may be the incentive.
The race brought some JB skippers who had changed fleets to come back. They did very well!!

Friday, April 12, 2013


We had a festive night on friday celebrating Campbell Paul's 60 th birthday in his beloved scottish tradition at a ceilidh. a social event at which there is Scottish or Irish folk music and singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling.
We had the music incl Bagpipes, dancing and some stories of Campbell
We all had to wear some sort of tartan and there were lots of great genuine gear as well as creative dress!
My school uniform tartan skirt $2.99 from Op SHop


Monday, April 8, 2013

Kyoto; Home visiting!

We were lucky to catch up with Sakurako and her family including the charming Takumi now 4 yrs old
After a lunch of green tea noodles we walked up the huge staircase at Kyoto station

Then Takumi  insisted on raiding his back pack and donned his fighting gear!!
The latest Character 'The wizard' He has these rings that are as big as his hand and clip on his belt when not in use 
 Since its TV debut in 1971,Kamen Rider (Masked Rider) is arguably the most popular superhero series. Captured by an evil organization, the hero of the story is turned into a cyborg with superhuman powers. After escaping from the villains, he fights on the side of justice. The Japanese love characters that have to overcome tragic fates, and they are especially fond of this kind of story.
Children have long idolized Kamen Rider, who rides a powerful motorcycle and fights using martial art moves and special attacks. Pretend battles often begin with kids striking the unique Kamen Rider pose, accompanied by yelling, "Henshin! (Transform!)" A long-running, popular TV franchise, Kamen Rider is now on its 23rd series.
We then went to Masako's home and chatted as Nick assisted with construction that Takumi was doing.

We then had a superb meal of sushi, and other dishes.

Takumi would carefully spread the rice with his fav. topping, Salmon Roe, then when it was wrapped would squish it firmly so it didn't fall apart

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Kyoto : Shrines etc

With this being Nick's first trip to Kyoto we had to do the three main shrines/ gardens we like.
First was Yasaka shrine, a great Vermillion coloured one walking  distance for our hotel.
Initial Construction of this shrine, also called Gion shrine and the site of the Gion Matsuri Festival, was started in 656. It is the special site for New Year visits to honour ancestors.(trying to compare things to Australian history impossible )  It also has crowds moving through to Maruyama park that is a greta Blossom viewing spot.

Celia had a guide book that had a walk to the next Temple Kiyiomizudera and this walk proved  a real treat.

The walk took us down narrow lanes with old traditional style buildings.
The Kiyomizu temple was founded in 798, and its present buildings were constructed in 1633, ordered by the Tokugawa Iemitsu. There is not a single nail used in the entire structure. It takes its name from the waterfall within the complex, which runs off the nearby hills.
The slopes are covered in Cherry trees so would be a magnificent sight with them lit up.

We walked to Nijo Castle, because although we had seen Nagoya Castle this time we could go and look at the rooms with ancient wall screens.

The next stop was Kinkakuji Beautiful!!

The Gold Pavilion
Then we walked down to Roanji Garden, stopping for lunch of  Ramen on the way 
This is a Zen garden but I don't think the throng of tourist were doing much contemplation; But it was a very peaceful spot!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hiroshima and Miyajima

It has been quite a few years since I was in Hiroshima, and the Peace Dome park has changed quite a bit. More Park like with gardens, bushes ordering the paths and less of a great  open space. The effect of it is the same though, impossible to imagine the horror of it and the immediacy of death.

When I was here last there were list of chains of  paper cranes hanging format the bell of the children's memorial, ( Sadako's memorial) Now there are so many that they're in booths set up around:  and when you bring cranes to hang there is a sheet for you to register them. It is a hugely popular thing for schools to do Some of them are complex designs not just chains.
This time I visited the Museum, and one aspect that amazed me was that since 1968 The Mayor of Hiroshima sends a letter of protest to any Government  performing any nuclear test. There are 4 .5 walls of letters! We don't seem to beagle to give up the race in case someone is more aggressive. I would not feel too secure in Japan, so close to North Korea at present.
One of the 5 walls of letters 
After this somber visit, we went by long tram trip through the 'burbs to the Port to get the ferry to Miyajima Island. This is the site of the Itsukushima shrine ( actually it is the real name of the island Miyajima is the popular one. Itsukushima is a large, red-lacquered complex of halls and pathways on stilts, originally so built that commoners could visit without defiling the island with their footprints.

These days, strict measures are taken to ensure that the island's sole town retains a classically Japanese Edo-era look. Deer wander freely through the streets and parks. There are still a few bits of concrete warren that have snuck in, but the seafront promenade is particularly attractive, it would have been lovely to see  later in the day, when the stone lanterns are lit.

    Friday, April 5, 2013

    Japanese Tradition

    Over dinner we were asking Nick how he was enjoying the trip and what he liked. He reminded us that one of the interesting things about Japan is the blend of advanced technology, and innovation as well as the enjoyment of traditional culture.
    Huge crowds flocking to Senso-ji
    Water fountains at entrance to a shrine 
    It is not uncommon to see many women in Kimono, often they are older,women but at festival time young people incl men wear kimono and yukata ( the blue and white patterned n robes) Department stores have a howl floor devoted to Kimono and accessories. Many newlyweds will have their photo taken in traditional kimono, and when we came across a traditional wedding at the Meiji Jingu shrine, it was not just the foreigners rushing up to take photos!
    Traditional festivals dating back hundreds of years swell the population of many a smaller town. In Takayama in the Hida Mountains, they have a parade of Floats ( tai) that date back to 1700's and the performers are all dressed in traditional costume. The pop swells to 5 times for the bi annual celebration. There are streets of old buildings, selling traditional toys, foods and charms as well as crafts, and it is busy even on the cold and wet day we were there!!
    Hanami (Blossom viewing) They even remove their shoes on the blue tarp!
    While Japan has taken on commercialization with a passion, many of the items date from generations ago .
    We had a ball in a 'toy' shop in Tokyo with lots of gadgets and kitch items that were being snapped up by all ages.

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    Cherry Blossom: Sakura

    We are lucky to be here for the cherry blossom season, and Hanami ( Blossom viewing.)

    “In the city fields 
    Contemplating cherry-trees...
    Strangers are like friends” 

    Tokyo's blossom flowering was the earliest on record, due to a warm spell 2 weeks ago. ( a cold snap greeted us!! ) So the blossom while everywhere is not as thick as I saw in  2008 ,but rather light drifts of petals in the breeze and a carpet of pale pink under the  trees, almost like snow.
    However further south and inland, at Nagoya it was still lush and looked fantastic when we toured Nagoya Castle, albeit in light rain.
    It is such a wonderful sight and trees pop up into every view.

    Monday, April 1, 2013


    It is great to travel in Japan with people who love the food.

    Celia and  I of course are committed to Japanese cuisine, and our two travel companions, Nicholsa and Anne- Marie were also keen and game for anything. The surprise to them was how cheap the food is. We average $5 for lunch and lashed out tonight for $20.
    Last night we went to dinner with Kazuki's parents ( he stayed with Nick's family while at their school for a week or so) anD we went to his amazing HUGE Sushi train place. There were 6 of us and the meal came to  ¥4800 about $50 aus.

    Plates from the Sushi Train
    Train bento
    We have had Ramen, ( noodles in soup with pork and Vegas) Tonkatsu, c(rumbed pork cutlet with side dishes of rice miso sop and salad), ebi tendon, (Prawns on rice), tempura, and  a western French meal ( most expensive) sitting in a room with cherry blossom in flower and petals drifting down. A sort of upmarket Hanami. ( cherry blossom viewing party)
    Our 'Beef Set"  
    Tonight we had Hida beef in Takayama. Not a lot of beef but enough food to feel full, and it was $20 each incl drinks.Nick has enjoyed the meals and seems to be getting enough to eat.
    We have a western, a La Japonais, breakfast called Morning service. A choice of set A, B or C about $5 incl coffee.

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