Monthly Archives: April 2012

You Only Live Twice…

..Once when you are born, and once when you look death in the face.

So wrote Ian Fleming in his James Bond novel set in Japan.

And he was right. You would need two lifetimes to really appreciate this fascinating country.

I’ve been keen to explore Japan since first visiting in 1971 -  and reading James Clavell’s novels.

The Cherry Blossom Festival and our 25th Wedding anniversary were two very good reasons  for going.

As usual we went with Explore and did their Shogun Trail tour. This time we had a really bright young Englishman as our guide – Mark had lived in Japan for three years, was married to a Japanese girl and spoke the language fluently. A really excellent guide.

We started in Tokyo and travelled down to the southern Island of Hirado via Hakone, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

We loved the fact that Japan is so clean, efficient  and safe. And of course I loved the fact that there were plenty of interesting vehicles to spot.  Fast trains, fast boats, and some fast cars too…

We took the Bullet train to Kyoto, and then again to Nagasaki.

Stephanie found the food somewhat intriguing.

She liked the blossom though.

We had an evening with a Geisha…

…and spent a day in a zen garden.

It’s never a real holiday unless I’ve been on a boat..

Oh yes, and there were also the trams – I love old trams.

And so to the cars…

VW ice-cream van

The japanese MoT is really strict – so there are lots of wannabe classics.

This was just silly!

A couple of fun trucks.

And there were plenty of exotics.

And a few more interesting vehicles

The only non-road-worthy vehicles I saw in japan.

Unfortunately the Hameji Castle where they filmed You Only Live Twice was closed for restoration – but this one on Hirado Island looked similar.

And finally – a picture paints a thousand words!