Japan, October '99

The view out our hotel window in Hachioji, a city about an hour west of Tokyo by train.

Jeff Boone was my traveling companion on this trip, and we spent most of the time wearing suits and ties, which allowed us to blend pretty easily with the rest of the crowd on the street. Here we are posed outside a very fancy restaraunt where our Japanese hosts took us on our first night with them.

Here we are, sitting down to dinner, enjoying the first of seven courses. Each table was set in its own little tea house, three walls of which were windows looking out on a traditional Japanese garden.

This is the view out the window.

After buying us some gifts in the restaraunt gift shop, our hosts took us to a nearby farmhouse, which had apparently been standing for several hundred years and was kept by the government as a national monument.

After our second and last day of meetings, one of our hosts took us to a local camera discount store, since I said I was interested in checking out digital camera prices. This is one of the first pictures I took with my new Olympus C-2500L SLR.

A typical night street scene in Hachioji.

Jeff and I had dinner at the hotel restaraunt on our last night, and were shocked to discover that the cheapest dinner on the menu cost the equivalent of $30/plate. This comes with everything, and includes dessert, a bowl containing three sections of fruit: an orange slice, half a canned pear and a carefully prepared grape. Fruit is considered a delicacy in Japan, and is priced accordingly.

The buffet breakfast at the hotel was more reasonable, and consisted of an American-style spread and a Japanese-style spread. The Japanese fare was far better, if you don't mind fish and seaweed for breakfast.

Our final day in Japan allowed us a few hours to wander around and take in the sights during the day, which was unfortunately the one day it poured down rain. (The two days spent in meetings were gorgeous.) Here is a sign in a circle that cycled through several messages. This one seems to be admonishing children to speak quietly in public places, with a precise decible level that should not be exceeded.

While Jeff purchased an umberella at a local AM/PM Minimart, I checked out the products on the shelves. I thought this bag of hello kitty litter was a riot.

One of the many novel aspects of the city is the use of space, which is always at a premium. Here we see a typical "garage," where cars are literally stacked one atop another using a mechanical elevator and placement system. The second image shows one of the turntables used to turn cars around without providing the space normally required to do so.

Along a small side street, we lucked into a Buddhist temple.

Here is a look at the interior.

Here is what must be a graveyard of some sort, next to the temple.

Some of the traffic barriers were exotically decorated. Here were some barriers on which they perched some beautiful sparrow sculptures.

Very popular amoung the young women were these amazing platform boots, which looked nothing less than trecherous to walk in, especially during a rainstorm.

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