Category: Travel (page 2 of 6)

Brian and Kristina and some hidden news-can you find it?

It has taken me a long time to get this post up. Brian and Kristina’s flight was approaching Tokyo on March 11 when the earthquake happened. We were still able to have a fun week with them.

Brian and Kristina finally got to Tokyo early Saturday morning after spending the night on the floor of the Nagoya train station. I was so excited to see them! After some pancakes and a shower they were ready to go. I wasn’t so sure about riding the subway, but id din’t say anything. We went to Ueno for lunch and then walked around the park for awhile. The museums were closed. Kristina played on the swings while we watched.

Next, we went to Shibuya so Brian could see the statue of Hatchiko and then we just wandered around a bit.

Monday we went to Meiji Shrine, Harajuku and Omotesando.


Kris and I at Meiji

At most shrines they have wooden plaques that you can purchase and write a prayer or message on. This one in Spanish made us laugh. Jose is hopeful that when he gets back to Spain Teresa will have dumped Pablo and will be his girlfriend. Not usually the kind of hope expressed here.

Kristina and Brian at Takeshita Street

Trying on the wares

Yummy Crepes

We saw this plastic food display at a restaurant. This platter of food was actually on their menu. It was huge!

We saw this interesting guy in Omotesando.

Monday night we made a cake and celebrated Rick and Brian’s joint birthday a little early.

Tuesday morning we were up early and on the shinkansen to Kyoto. It takes just over two hours to get there. We walked to our traditional Japanese style hotel, the Ryokan Shimizu and dropped our bags. We went to Nijo castle, Kinkakuji and Ryoanji.

Nijo jo

Meditating at Ryoanji

The Zen Garden at Ryoanji

Fire buckets



Brian chose Shabu Shabu for dinner. We had a great meal and a view of the city.

Wednesday we got on the train with our first stop being Nara. We walked through the deer park on our way to see the big Buddha.

Deer Park


Love Japanese Translations

Pagoda at Horyuji

Horyuji has some of the oldest wooden structures in the world.

So cold my little Babushka

For the Birthday dinner, Brian and Rick have the same birthdate, Brian chose okonomiyaki.



After Okonmiyaki we went to visit a temple whose grounds were lit up in the evening. The bamboo was amazing.

The next morning our first stop was Sanjusangendo Temple that houses 1,000 staures of Buddha. We were only allowed to take photos on the grounds.

Then we walked to my favorite place in Kyoto, Kiomizu Temple. It is on the side of the mountain with views over the city.


What would a visit to Kyoto be without seeing some geishas? These girls were involved in a photo shoot.

We loved having Brian and Kristina with us!

A room with a view?????

When I travel back to Tokyo I lose a day when I cross the International dateline. So it takes two days to return, but not really. It just feels like one really long day. I ususally get to LAX on a very early flight and wait for my Singapore Air flight which is either at 1:15 or 2:45pm depending on daylight savings time. I end up spending a lot of time in the Star Alliance lounge at LAX. In the back corner of the lounge there is a smaller, quieter room that I like to hang out in. It has actual windows and I can soak up some sun and relax. Today I plugged in my laptop and worked on the Relief Society stuff I was behind on, uploaded and edited photos and worked hard to update my blog. Recently, they have been doing construction at LAX and so this was my view today.

I have until the end of the month to continue posting everyday. I have gotten behind at times, it’s not because I don’t take pictures. It’s just because I get busy and don’t make the time to create the post.


Today I was up early and went to Walmart. I had a few things to pick up for a friend here in Tokyo. It never ceases to amaze me at how much 3 little bags of stuff can cost. After breakfast at the hotel Rick dropped me off at Susan’s house and he went to the temple. Susan, Nicole, McCall and I ran errands all morning. I finally bought fabric for my dining room chairs (future post). We all went to Iggie’s for dinner. Then after a visit at Susan’ we went back to the hotel so I could finish the quilt (comforter) I was making for my talk about the Holy Ghost. I can’t believe I forgot to take a photo of it when it was finished, but here is a photo of the fabric I used. Instead of quilting it, or tying it I sewed it together with flower and ladybug buttons.


Although we had planned to stay in Tokyo until we leave for the Christmas holidays, we are leaving again today. Our great niece, Presley, said that if she could have anyone in the whole world baptize her it would be Rick.  So we are making a quick trip to Utah from her baptism. So today we board a flight on our favorite airline. We are so excited!!!

Sushi Sign

Ximen, Taipei

Taipei Day 2

Today we headed to the station near our hotel and went to several areas of Taipei to just look around. We began at Longshan Temple. Since it was a holiday 10-10-10 and they are celebrating the beginning of their 100th year there was a lot of praying, singing, and incense burning going on. It was very interesting to watch.

After Longshan Temple we went to Ximen, but everything was still closed so we took the train to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. It is a beautiful square with the memorial at one end flanked by a concert hall and a theater and a wonderful gate at one end. It was beautiful open area made more interesting today by the huge inflatable balloons scheduled to be part of the parade later this afternoon. Here are the photos.


Chiang Kai-shek Memorial



National theater



The Gate



Happy 100th


We left this area and took a train ride up to the top of Taiwan to a stop called Danshui. It’s a seaside town and for some reason I didn’t get many photos there. We did eat some yummy pork dumplings.

From Danshui we hurried back to Taipei to watch the big parade. The spot we selected wasn’t very crowded and it was as much fun watching the people watch the parade as it was to watch the parade.


Marching Bands



Patriotic Dog








The couple above cracked me up! they took turn taking photos of each other in front of “every” float, band, etc.


Taipei Hell's Angels????






Future "Angel" in training



Cute Family






Father and Son


This father and son had the best time at the parade. It was easy to see what a close and wonderful relationship they have.

We ended the day by going back to Ximen for dinner.


When I was attending university people would often say “Keep on Trucking.” It was on bumper stickers, hats etc. It was the same as saying, “Hang in there” or in Japan we would say, Ganbatte.” The image on the bumper sticker was of a man leaning way back and really stretching his leg out to take a huge step. The artist made the foot in front much larger proportionally to emphasize the big step. My friends and I would often “truck” across campus, taking huge steps to see if that got us places faster. It usually did.

We saw this statue in Taipei and it reminded me of “trucking.” The alarming part for me is that he is missing his head. I wonder what that means?

Day 1 Taipei

I have lost my enthusiasm for posting my photos from this past weekend. I am having some issues with my blog and hate to bug my incredibly busy IT guy. My photos are going in the the draft as text and then every so often part of the text show up on the blog and right now I don’t know how to fix it. I like to be able to see how it actually looks while I am creating the draft.

Here goes attempt number 3.

After breakfast we took a cab to the National Palace Museum. This is where they keep all of the items they brought with them when they fled China. It’s a beautiful and well laid out museum. We enjoyed our morning there.

National Palace Museum

After the museum we rode a bus to Shilin Station. Their was a giant mosaic at the entrance to the station that took me by surprise. When I first glanced I just thought it was Buddah, I probably just noticed the hat and face. A second look surprised me.


Riding the train

We took the train from Shilin into town to see Taipei 101. Until recently it was the tallest building in Asia.

Taipei 101

To ride the train easily in Taipei most people buy an Easy card. It is the equivalent of the Suica/Pasmo card in Tokyo or the Oyster card in London. You add money to the card and then at the ticket gates you just scan it rather than having to buy multiple tickets each day. On the street near Taipei 101 we saw bike racks that had really cool bikes that were all the same. To rent the bike you scan your easy card and the bike unlocks. When you return it you scan your card again and are charged for how long you had it.

Easy rent-a- bike

The Tin Man

Freight Bike

Colorful Mime

Taipei Troubadour

After a short break at the hotel we took the hotel shuttle to Shilin Night Market.

Shilin Night Market

The photo above is of a huge indoor food court. In Singapore it would be called a hawker center. We wandered around awhile trying to decide what and where we should eat. We bought a bag of yummy sweet potato balls and ate them while we wandered. We both had bowls of noodles and orange juice. The juice was the best ever and cost as much as our noodles. Here are more photos of the market and shops nearby.


We leave tonight to fly to Taipei for a weekend break. Now, while it may seem a crazy thing to do it’s not much different than flying from Texas to Utah for the weekend. That is about the same amount of time to fly from Tokyo to Taipei.

Saturday’s Outing

Yesterday we took a train two hours each way to visit a friend in a hospital. It was good to see so much improvement in him. As we got out of the city I was hopeful that it would be cooler. The train was gradually climbing and my ears even popped. I could see mountains in the distance. Cooler temperatures were not to be. It was as hot there as it is in Tokyo. Here are some photos I took. All but the first one is from the train.

This is where we went

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