I was going to blog, but sometimes action speaks louder than words…
Archive for February, 2007
We went to the Meiji Shrine yesterday. It was exactly how I imagined a shrine to be. Peaceful. Beautiful. Moving. I will post pictures later. I left my wishes hanging from a wooden plaque in front of the shrine. It’s hard to believe this sanctuary is in the middle of Tokyo, when you’re strolling through the woods along a pebbled pathway. Sigh.
Today we’re off to the Edo Museum. More later on that experience.
Yesterday, we took a day trip outside of Tokyo to see Mt. Fuji. It’s amazing what a difference one hour makes to the landscape. The skyscrapers melt away into smaller towns and farm land. As you keep driving, the mountains appear on the horizon and the trees thicken into forests.
We arrived at Mt. Fuji and were able to get up to the fourth station (thanks to global warming the snow isn’t near as abundant as it should be). The day was glorious. Pictures will follow. Apparently, it’s quite common to go to see Mt. Fuji and only spot clouds. They call it a ‘shy’ mountain because it’s always ‘hiding’ behind the clouds. Anyhoo, it wasn’t hiding yesterday. *g*
After we left Mt. Fuji, we drove down to Lake Ashinoko. It’s a magnificient resort area that’s famous for its puzzle boxes and hot springs. (Didn’t get to partake of those, but I wished we could have.) We took a cruise on the lake, enjoying the sunshine and blue skies. The boat dropped us off at the Hakone Komagatake Ropeway. It’s a cable car that takes you up to the top of the Komagatake central volcanic cone of the Hakone range (1327 meters above sea level). The view, which you will see, was breathtaking.
Japan is so diverse. From its people to its geography, it has blown away all of my preconceived notions. I cannot recommend coming here enough.
I entered Phantom Warriors: Bacchus in a cover contest for the Houston Bay RWA chapter and it placed second. Yah!!! I received the notice today/yesterday. You can see the official announcement below.
Congratulations on being a winner in the 2006 Judge A Book By Its Cover Contest, sponsored by Houston Bay Area RWA.
We’re pleased to announce that your cover for Phantom Warriors: Bacchus placed Second in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal category.
He is by far my favorite cover. 😀 I’m particularly happy with this win because it was judged by booksellers and librarians in the US, Canada and Australia.
Spent the day wandering around the electronics section of Tokyo before returning to the major shopping area. Let me tell you, the Japanese take their shopping seriously. So much so, that they actually line up outside the department stores before they open. When the doors open, the people at the front of the line run inside. Now maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never found a store worth running into. I mean these stores were really, really nice and the chocolate was delicious, but…
Tomorrow we’re off to see Mt. Fuji and take a cruise on a lake. Again, pictures will be coming. Until then, ciao.
We made it to Tokyo. The flight was uneventful, which is just the way we like them. We got in too late to do anything beyond go to bed. At 3:00am the alarm went off. Talk about brutal. We’d made an appointment to tour the fish market, starting at 4:00am. (Pictures and links will follow. Right now I’m too tired to mess with it.)
I cannot begin to describe the tuna auction that takes place there just about every morning. It’s amazing to see (and you will once I post the pictures) all the different types of tuna waiting to be auctioned to buyers. There are frozen auctions, fresh auctions and live auctions. Each one is a sight to behold. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was also the first time I’ve ever seen a $40,000 fish. I’ll apologize now for my lack of description. I am burnt.
After the auctions, we went to a sushi restaurant that opened at 6:00am. It was in the fish market, so we knew the sashima would be fresh. You didn’t even have to chew. The fish melted in your mouth. I’d never had ‘real’ wasabi until today. What a difference. I thought I loved it before. I was wrong.
We decided to take a tour after our tour of the fish market. (We were afraid that if we went back to the room we’d pass out.) With that in mind, dh booked us a Tokyo city tour that included a tea ceremony (Almost broke the door. Don’t ask. Very embarrassing.), a river cruise, a tour of Tokyo Tower, Asakusa Kannon Temple, and the Imperial Gardens. (Again, I will be posting pictures.) Had a great time. Got to visit a lot of temples throughout the day.
We were too tired to go out wandering for dinner so we landed at Denny’s. Not my first, second or third choice, but it was close…and interesting. Who knew that tuna spaghetti and hamburger/tempura shrimp could be so popular. *g*
First impressions: Tokyo is massive. And when I say massive, I mean think massive and add a hundred. I’ve been to London and New York and neither of those places touch Tokyo on sheer scale. It truly is like Blade Runner, but a LOT friendlier. I’ve never seen so many skyscrapers. The highways are built above the city, so when you come into Tokyo you’re about two stories above the actual city level. It’s trippy and tad scary. Cities in the states tend to sprawl. Tokyo has built up, so everything (ie homes, businesses, hospitals, etc.) reaches for the sky. Despite it’s intimidating size, Tokyo is a friendly city and I don’t think I’ve ever felt safer. That said, if you aren’t into cities, then Tokyo is definitely not your thing. You haven’t seen a city until you’ve come here.
Well now that I’ve finished rambling aimlessly, I’m going to call it a night. It’s only seven here and it feels like midnight. I’m going to try to stay up one more hour, then it’s bedtime for Bonzo. Sayonara.
Next stop Tokyo.
As the time for vacation nears, I find myself trying to decide what to take (not clothes wise), but overall. See, the flight to Japan is twelve hours long. That’s barring any delays. At first, I thought I’d only take books (paper and ebook). I’m currently trying to pick the perfect books to take. *ggg* You’d think that would be easy, but I’m a ‘mood’ reader, so I’m torn. I am also pondering how many paperbacks to take (see previous sentence). Here’s the problem. I only want to take books that I can leave on the plane or leave in Japan. Two of the books that I’d love to take I want to put on my keeper shelf. Sigh.
Then there’s the bigger question. Do I take my NEO and write for part of the flights? It seems like the perfect time to get a lot done (ie no internet access, lots of time on my hands), but then I’d technically be working on my vacation. So you see my dilemma.
Other than the above, there’s not much happening at the Summers’ household. Went for a couple mile walk. Almost finished reading How to Write Sci-fi and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. Going to do a trial pack tonight to see if everything fits into the suitcase. Like I said, exciting. With that in mind, does anyone have anything cool happening? Any new sales to announce? Major breakthroughs? Time to share.