Saturday, April 08, 2006

April, the cruelest month?



It's April and I am packing and teaching extra hours so I can leave in about four weeks to go back to the States.

Bessie and I took another short trip to Japan to see Kyoto and some other historical sites. The gorgeous cherry blossoms were worth the trip by themselves, but we say many beautiful and amazing things. Kyoto has a spectacular new train station downtown which allows trains and buses and their passengers to come into a transit mall that houses shopping, restaurants, wonderful artwork, in superb architecture. Unfortunately the good photos of it are on Bessie's camera, not mine, and I haven't gotten copies yet. And the Nagoya airport, which is built, like most of Ellis Island on a landfill, allows one to watch sea and air traffic as well as spectacular sunsets. If you click on the photo you can see the plane taxiing out and the ship behind it.



While we were in Japan, I think in Kyoto but at a temple for sure, we saw people preparing for a wedding. The bride up close looked like a beautiful little doll.



Unfortunately, from a distance she looked like a clan member!




We saw a gold (real 24 karat) temple in the middle of a lake with a golden phoenix sitting atop the roof.


We went into a building that had a carousel built on the end of it outside. On the third floor inside was a Japanese village vintage 1920 or so, complete with shops and restaurants and music and movie posters of the period. Very charming, good food as well.







We went to Central Park and had a walk, though misty rain was falling.


Here's a look at Central Park, a huge gigando monster (we're talking Texas size here) shopping mall that goes three floors above ground and many floors and miles and miles underground.


We also took a trip to Japan's Universal Studios entertainment park, where we saw Macy's, the flatiron building, the Guggenheim, the entrance to the Metropolitan museum, and a subway entrance from New York; Ghiardelli square and fisherman's wharf (San Francisco); Versailles and the rive gauche (Paris), and other wonders of the world. Or not.




A few days after we returned from Japan I took a trip into Hakka country with my next-door neighbor Dennis and Bessie and a young man named Marvin whom I persist in calling Steven. He's quite charming, though, and answers to either name and smiles at me all the while. We need more men like this, ladies. Lots more. The Hakka were some early immigrants from the mainland who came to Taiwan to settle. Some of them dismantled their Hakka houses and brought them with, sort of like a huge puzzle, which they reassembled later. Amazing folks. They originally settled in an area north of Taichung and on the southern side of Taipei, after wiping out some aboriginal tribes to make room for themselves. Just like in America. We first visited Dennis' mother who lives in a big house waaaaay out in the country in the mountains.




With Marvin driving, we went around with Dennis to some reservoirs which have been developed by damming the rivers in a couple of places.






I can't imagine that the farmers using the river water are very happy, but the place has some really nice recreation areas now for folks to come enjoy, complete with gorgeous white flowers which fall like cherry blossoms in the wind and create what they call May snow.







One adventure on this trip was to see a really realllllly big Buddha.



This shot should give you some perspective. Note the little bitty tiny man in the forground sneaking up behind the Big Guy.


I like this one. It looks like he's getting ready to bowl over (that's a joke, Peter) the cranes and the building in front of him!













And speaking of bowling one over, here's a photo of my gorgeous daughter and granddaughter!



That's all for now, folks!