Monday, April 25, 2005 Tokyo

We've been so busy I forgot the food (no we didn't stop eating!!)

We've had home cooked, cooked in an office, take away, eat in the street and in the restaurant. Last night we went to a disapointing contemporary art museum (They did sell Rodchenko bookmarks, diaries, cards and tea cups however!! as well as postcards from just about any photographer you could possibly know and many more besides) and then to a restaurant where there was no sign of English language or Arabic numbers, so we pointed at the display in the window and had Soba noodles (Maree's turned out not to be a soup and were cold and mine was piping hot and so I was able to make satisfying noises as I ate) Delicious and turned out not to be expensive

We have had white miso soup as well as brown, in a museum there was a cafe called Cafe de Musee which sounded promising but was tres ordinaire. We have Japanese breakfast at our hotel which sustains us well with its fish and rice and egg and miso soup. And we've had very filling fermented rice tea. Exploring food here would take a few months of focused attention.

This morning we did picket duty again at 8.00am (reminds me of those days in the 60s when I sometimes handed out flyers at a factory gate in Sydney). Tonight we are invited to a party a sort of farewell

We think it's going to be quite hard to leave, but at least we have a good grip on the amazing train system!!!

Another entry should focus on the clothing and the variety of dress of school kids but photos would be better I think

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Japan 3

We've been so busy I've had no time for email at all!!
since our last entry we have had

1) a 5 hour discussion with a railway workers "struggle group" where we gave a lovely gift of ties, diary and shirt from a Sydney city rail driver and were given in return scarf, badges and much else. The group has been goiung for 20 else. The group has been going for 20 years, and they were interested in any contact we could give them to railway workers elsewhere.We also gave them The MUA CD and "Trains of Treasure" and after our long discussion were treated to a great feast in their office in Tokyo. They in turn gave us a video!! Tokyo. They in turn gave us a video!! Then the in turn gave us a video!! Then the singing began with everyone happily joining in the chorus. After "Which Side Are You On?" one of them told us they thought the chorus was "Which Side Do You Want?" ... translation is a strange thing. Lots of photos were taken by all sides sharing cameras so as many as possible could be sure to get a photo with nearly everyone in it. Business cards wre swapped of course.

2) a meeting with a Philippines Support Group who had been working together for 18 years and had also made videos. Again it was agreat opportunity to share views and ideas about the "globalising" world we all find ourselves in. They were particularly interested in the work of APHEDA. More photos and business cards!! (but no singing... well it was in a public cafe)

3) a tour of the old capital and its temples and the Big Budha made of copper some 700 years ago

4) another picket line assignation

and most recently

a journey into the Ginza where we climbed to the 9th floor of a shop that specialized in all things to do with paper and stationary and such. We also went to look at all the food in one of the big department stores where we also managed to negotiate money from an ATM. We found the Sony House and looked at electronic and video future. Somehow the reality of such place never quite lives up to what is promised

So far most of out time has been with some wonderful people who seem to be involved in struggle of one kind or another and are particularly tenacious about it! A 23 year long picket is just one example!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Day 2 Takao

It's our second day in Japan and I've discovered the ' key on this mighty multi lingual keyboard this morning.

We started the day on an early morning picket line just around the corner from our hotel! and I sang "which side are you on"!!.

I'm sure the writer Florence Reece, a miner's wife in Kentucky, who wrote it in 1932 during a bitter miners struggle, would not have imagined that her song would travel so far.

Yesterday we discovered an amazing toilet with a heated seat and on top of the cistern a bowl rather than the usual flat top. When you flushed water form a tap drained ran into the bowl and drained into the cistern for the next flush so you could wash your hands and thus recycle the water!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Getting to Japan

took a little longer to get here than we expected !

DELAYED at Sydney and sat on tarmac till curfew then to Mercure Hotel for the night (well we got there at 1 for the night (we got there at 1.30 am) expected to catch same plan at 11.00am. Bus was to pick us up at 8.00am (but didnt turn up!) boarded at 11.30 only to find the delayed plane (QF21D) was delayed because of catering. Finally took off at 1.00pm and got out of customs (completely dazed) at Narita at 9.30pm. Luckily we d decided that it would be too late to risk getting across Tokyo to our destination Tokao by train so we asked to be put up for the night in Narita. We stayed at the Holiday Inn and watched more about the pope on CNN, had a great breakfast of miso soup with all kinds of goodies added.

This nourishing food gave us the courage to catch trains to Takao and then find our hotel! So we to Takao and then find our hotel!

So thats where we are and although I cant find the apostrophe on the Japanese keyboard so far I can do the usual things like email and this blog....every now and then I press a wrong key and it all ends up in Japanese characters, but I now know how to get back!! up in Japanese characters, but I now know how to get back!!!

The train journey was great just over 2 hours to get 100 ks across from Narita to Takao. Its spring here and the temperatures are roughly the same as Katoomba and the cherry blossoms are coming to an end.

And narita to takao was easy only one change of train and easy to follow signs (though we did end up sitting in a section reserved for the elderly and the pregnant!!)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

narita to takao looks easy!

Narita Express called "N'EX" provides rapid, frequent, and comfortable service to passengers traveling between Narita International Airport and Tokyo Metropolitan areas:

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

getting ready

got tickets
booked hotel
got maps
getting business cards