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  Wanderlust Home and Pet Care

Japan Cruise

September 12, 2014 We are now familiar with Vancouver’s bus and Skytrain system. The Skytrain took us all the way to the passenger terminal for the cruise. Our cruise ship is the Celebrity Millennium. In the past, we preferred Celebrity because of the great food. We’ll see if it is still great food. We sail 6 days before we arrive at our first port, Petropavlovsk, Russia.

September 16, 2014 Let’s see if I can summarize our activities for the last few days:

September 21, 2014

Sunday we had our first port of call in Petropavlovsk, Russia on the Kamchatka Peninsula. As we walked around, we came across the memorial of Captain Clerke. He was the captain of the Discovery ship that sailed with Captain Cook in 1779 trying to find a Northwest Passage across Canada. We found it odd that there was a memorial in this remote area of the world until our lecturer put history in it’s proper place.  The town was nice - nothing special but it was great to get off the ship. This area of Russia has lots of volcanos. We were very lucky to actually get to see them. They usually are covered up with clouds. It was very appropriate to see this statue of Lenin, after all this is Russia.

September 22, 2014

September 24, 2014 Otaru Japan  I had downloaded a great map of Otaru before we left the States so I knew where to walk. Actually it was more of a short climb to the shrine I selected. Once at the top of a small hill we had a lovely view of the harbor along with a small shrine, Suitengu. Hanging near the shrine were these pieces of cloth - I wonder what those are for?  We then walked down through the back streets with historical buildings to the canal. It was fun to have this part of the city to ourselves. Along the way we met a small child to whom we said “Konnichiwa”. His Grandma told him to bow and it was the cutest thing. We stopped to have a beer at the local brewery - it turned out to be a German manufacturer. It’s become a very international world.

September 25, 2015 Hakodate Japan.  Another wonderful map for this city indicated the city had a street car. We purchased an all day ticket, good for multiple rides. We found a temple at the end of route 5. I was blown away by it’s beauty. The carvings were amazing. The Koryuji (High Dragon) Temple was even visited by Commodore Perry in 1854. We were enjoying the buildings when a tour bus of 50 people pull up - time to go! Back on the street car to Motoi-zaka slope which took us to the old Hakodate government buildings and a Russian orthodox church. We were approached by children 10-12 years old. We wrote our names and where we were from into their spiral notebook. Was this a school assignment?

September 27, 2014 Tokyo  The port authorities offered the passengers a free shuttle to the Shinagawa train station. Once there I asked for directions to the post office for an ATM and we purchased the Suica card. The card is loaded with money for the metro/train fares - very slick! Then we decided to take the train to Kamakura to see the Great Buddha (Kotokuin Daibutsu). Thank goodness a volunteer was there to help us in Kamakura. The bronze statue (cast in 1252) is actually in the town of Hase so we had to catch another train. Once there we joined the ranks of people heading to the statue. It is the second largest Buddha statue in Japan and is almost 44 feet tall. We had lunch by pointing at pictures at a wonderful little restaurant. The town of Hase also had the Hasedera temple containing the 11 headed Kannon carved from a camphor tree which we visited. A Kannon is a future Buddha destined for enlightenment and represents compassion, mercy and love. On the way home, the train was not a direct train so we had to back track a little but we found our way back to the shuttle bus. We talked to some school girls while waiting for the shuttle. Once you had one girl talking, they all wanted to get involved. I packed the suitcases and then all four couples from the dining room went to Qusine (a specialty restaurant) for dinner. OMG the food was glorious and so many different small plates - we happily gorged ourselves.