Photos from a trip to Asia

Below are photos and events that are not mentioned in the Diary from Asia - enjoy!

This man just arrived home in Pak Chong, Thailand after a long day of work at the lodge where we stayed near the Thai National Forest. He had caught a ride home in the little lorry that came to pick up Stephan and me after our excursions and dinner in Pak Chong -- I am taking the photo from inside the lorry.

As soon as he approached his door, his son rushed up to greet him excitedly, and he graciously obliged when I asked for a photo.

We stopped at this Walt Disney store near our hotel in Guangzhou, China to pick up some gifts for the children of our hosts. The staff was very friendly and helpful, holding the doors open after store hours so we could get our money from the hotel. Standing in the doorway is the man who will spend the night in the store.

At the request of the staff, Stephan is proofreading their "cheat sheet" of phrases they can use with their English-speaking customers.

Each evening after the store closes, this man sets up a cot (behind him) and sleeps in the store all night. Burglars had cleaned out the entire store one night previously.

Stephan gets to drive a car in Guangzhou, China!

These beautiful, hand-painted plates were on display in our hotel in Guangzhou, China. It is one of only three sets that were made, on orders from Chairman Mao to give as a gift of appreciation to Russia for helping the North Koreans in the Korean War. They tell a story about mythical heroes.

A plaque read: During the early '50's, a war between South and North Korea broke out as part of the Cold War. The People's Volunteer Army (PVA) of the People's Republic of China supported North Korea. With aid from the Soviet combat advisors, PVA was provided with aircraft pilots and weapons To thanks [sp] for the support from Soviet Union, Mao appointed the government to craft the 108 characters from one of the most famous Chinese Literature novel, the Outlaws of Marsh, into 108 exquisite china plates as the gift to Stalin.

The Outlaws of Marsh is an immortal novel in which it uses the 108 characters of man to portray different kinds of beings ranged from the outlaws to the notables, anarchists and philosophers, in the mid 13th century China. The stories were to symbol the civilian's unbearable injustice and arbitrariness, and was a call to oppose all corrupt governments.

The 108 china plates from The Outlaws of Marsh were made three sets at Jingde town, JiangXi, in 1951. Jiangde town JiangXi was well known for its fine craft manufacture. All plates were hand-painted and so, only a limited production of 3 sets were made. One of the three sets have been chosen as a gift to Stalin in the 1950's and is now collected as historical relics in the Russian Museum. W e are very lucky to have the other set of the three collected here for your pleasure to enjoy.

One of the few things I remember vividly from my last trip to Japan (in 1963) was the displays that many restaurants had in their windows, showing incredibly realistic-looking replicas of the food they serve (talk about a tactile menu, accessible to blind people!). I was delighted to see that many restaurants in Japan still have these displays today -- I would love to know how they make the display look so much like real food!

On the left, the food is real, on the right it is fake.

The display shown above stands outside a little restaurant in a mall, as seen to the far left, with a waitress who is working with Stephan to correct the little cheat sheet they have to help them serve English-speaking customers.

Some of the phrases are:

"I'll take you to the seat."
"Can you please wait for a moment?"
"There are all foods and drinks in the center hall for you."
"Please have a great time!"

On the city train in Tokyo, Japan

A man sleeps on the bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo.

The Japanese deal with rain like they deal with everything else -- with class, and lots of cool gadgets!
Stephan says that many stores and offices in Tokyo offer umbrellas that you could borrow and then leave it at the next place you go.

[Left] This art museum in Kyoto offers patrons umbrellas at the gate to walk to the building.

[below] You can leave your own or a borrowed umbrella safely locked when going into the museum, take the key with you, then use it to retrieve your umbrella when you leave.

[below, far right] Many places offer patrons plastic sleeves to keep their umbrella from dripping on the floor.

The door to the far left presented a tantalizing mystery at our hotel in Hiroshima, Japan. When we opened the door and peeked into the room, with no light except for the light from the hall, we could barely make out a ladder going down a hole.

I urged Stephan to explore and satisfy my curiosity (a curiosity which was strong enough to send a brave young man down the ladder, but not nearly enough to go down there myself!). In the photo to the near left, the room looks well-lit but that was from the flash of my camera -- it was pitch-black as he descended into the hole.

As Stephan went down, he brushed against something that felt like laundry, then stepped onto a plastic bag filled with something, and he came back up to give his report.

The next day, I went downstairs to see where Stephan had gone. Sure enough, there was laundry hanging near the ladder and a plastic bag at the bottom. There was another hole in another corner of that room, with a ladder going down to the next floor -- I figured that the ladder is probably alternated on each floor to prevent anyone from having to descend from any more than one floor at a time, avoiding any long falls.

This computer at a hotel in Japan advises the user to "Please turn on 100 yen coin to enjoy the contents."

I was fascinated to watch this woman helping people who wanted to buy train tickets in Japan. With all the customers, when she pointed to something on the ticket machine she would lean forward, and when speaking to the customers she would turn and face them, with head tilted respectfully.

The Tokyo Tower:

[far left] The elevator operator in the Kyoto Tower spoke with a soft, high-pitched enthusiastic voice -- she said that she LOVES her job!

[near left] A small boy at the top of the tower wears a coat surrounded by teddy bears.

Japan apparently has a milder climate than Maryland. These photos were taken December 9-11, when the leaves were still on the trees in the campus of the University of Tokyo [left] and poinsettias grow outside on the island of Shikoku [below] and in Kyoto.

Across the street behind me is the City Hall in Kyoto, Japan, near the historic section of Kyoto.

Sign imbedded at a corner in Shimbashi, Japan (suburb of Tokyo) reminds people not to discard their cigarette butts on the sidewalk.

We couldn't figure out what was meant by these odd markings in the sidewalks on the island of Shikoku, Japan -- is it where you are supposed to stand and have a one-legged pet duck stand between your feet?

Ah, the land of Sega, the home of so many computer games' creators -- the reason that, as a child, Stephan dreamed of going to Japan.

On the grounds of the castle on the island of Shikoku is a little cottage industry that makes bamboo fans.

First, the bamboo is sliced partway down into dozens of very thin strips. The separation stops where the handle will start. Then the strips are bent to separate them evenly, and a cord is wrapped around the top of the handle.

The next worker weaves a strip through all the recently cut strips, separating them into a fan shape, and bends a thin piece of bamboo from the handle up to the fan.

The fanned strips are then placed on a template and the ends cut off.

The finished product is shipped to the stores and gift shops, and a few are sold at the factory.

This shopkeeper on the island of Shikoku in Japan uses an abacus to calculate the purchase.

A bamboo stairway leads down to a nightclub in the historic district of Kyoto, Japan.

Stephan took these photos for my husband Fred, who loves trains! They were taken just outside the Shimbashi (suburban Tokyo) train station. Enjoy!

The last morning of our trip, when approaching the Shimbashi train station to go to the airport, we happened to see a television crew interviewing a woman.

Oh, the shame of it all, so much luggage! Photo in the far left was taken in the Tokyo airport where we stored a lot of the things Stephan had accumulated while living a few months in Japan. The photo in the near left was taken when we arrived home at Dulles airport at Washington, DC.

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