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Old 23rd June 2014, 11:50   #1
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Default My Trip to Japan: Cars, Trains & more

HI, i had been to Japan last year. Kyoto, Kobe, Hiroshima and Tokyo. Being a "Anything that moves" Lover and a BHPian, i took these pics. Hope you guys like it.

Travelogue:
This was my first international trip and what an amazing one it turned out to be. As part of a workshop i went there with my colleagues. My current boss has worked there for few years so he was our guide.

We took a ANA Business Class Direct flight to Narita from Mumbai. My first experience flying Business Class, it was an All Business Class aircraft. Took 9 hours to reach. I'll say it was not too comfortable. The seats did not become a flat bed. The food was ok. That is where we got out first taste of Japanese food.
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Old 23rd June 2014, 14:42   #2
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Flight to Japan: We took a direct Non stop Business Class flight. I was super excited as this was my first International Trip.
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Narita to Tokyo train journey took us through one of the tallest and dense forest ive ever seen. Also Japan knows how to utilize land very well. They dont leave any space barren and use every inch carefully.
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Tokyo: Wow, what a place. Filled with life, superbly well dressed people, super clean. The weather was so perfect, pleasantly cold and beautiful blue skies.

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The train that we took from Narita Airport to Tokyo was exactly the same train that we have at Delhi Airport Express.

We were super hungry, but being our first day in Japan, we did not go for a Japanese Meal. We found a nice Indian Restaurant and had desi food in Japan. There are a lot of Indian Restos in Japan as they love our food.
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This is their Police Station.
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The beautiful buildings.
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Old 23rd June 2014, 15:39   #3
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Roppongi, Tokyo: Whole day we walked through the streets of Tokyo. I think it is the best way to see a city and actually understand their culture and the way people live. The city is really pedestrian friendly.

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Old 24th June 2014, 13:17   #4
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Default Re: My Trip to Japan: Cars, Trains & more

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th June 2014, 15:44   #5
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Nice photos. Reminded me of my lovely days in Japan. It is a great place to live and work. Though it is very expensive.
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Old 24th June 2014, 18:34   #6
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Kyoto: This place is a perfect blend of a modern Japan with glimpse of the traditional, more subtle culture. It amazes me how humble and compassionate the people there are towards each other. You see them smile, you see them be courteous, they are soft spoken. As an Indian, i found the entire country to be too silent :-)


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The Beautiful houses in Japan. As they follow the Zen Ideology, the houses are in a quiet surrounding. Water plays an important element in their culture hence you have flowing stream of water, its like a small river, flowing very close to the houses. Its so peaceful and soothing just to experience this ambiance.

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This is a very unique restaurant. There are no prices mentioned on the menu. You are charged basis your behavior. Yeah, so basically, mostly foreigners go in there, the owners will observe how Japanese you behave, how many things you do right ( they kind of have a routine while eating ), so the more boxes you tick, the lesser your bill will be. Interesting right ?

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Old 24th June 2014, 18:51   #7
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Kyoto Imperial Palace : A very royal traditional place. Surrounded with huge tall trees, the entire palace is made of wood and what a piece of work it is. Flawless Symmetry, beautiful representation of Zen Culture. Peace and Tranquility all around.

The guy writing this had traveled the world and had even been to Delhi.
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The entrance of the Palace.

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The presence of flowing water adds to a very soothing calming effect on us.
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The flawless Symmetry. Hundreds of years ago, made using wood.
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This is like asking for a wish, the Japanese Style. You get these blank wooden planks where you can write your wish and tie it in the temple.

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Some more pics of the houses around the temple.
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Old 1st July 2014, 09:58   #8
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Hiroshima: This was quiet an emotional trip. I am hugely interested in history, world war stories etc and to be there at Hiroshima is an experience which is humbling, scary and in a weird way makes us ashamed of the acts we humans have endowed on each other. After this trip our group kind of became very silent, just reflecting on the struggle the country went through after the war.

The Hiroshima city now, hard to believe that this place was completely flattened.
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The Hiroshima Museum
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The Peace Bell
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The story behind this cycle and helmet is so touching that i actually cried standing there. A boy was playing in the garden when the heat wave from the bomb killed the boy instantly. His father buried the boy. After many years they found this cycle and helmet buried. His father decided the bury the cycle and helmet right next to the boys grave. It was only after when the news of the museum spread that the father decided to dig out these memories for the world to see.


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The before and after pictures.
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Old 1st July 2014, 10:06   #9
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Some history behind the bombing.

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This is that T Bridge which was the target. The bomb exploded a few meters to its right at a height of a few hundred feet.
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The old structure is where the bomb exploded, to the left you can see the T Bridge.
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The targeted T Bridge.
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The bomb exploded a few hundred feet above this structure
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Old 1st July 2014, 10:15   #10
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Kobe: This was the last city we visited. Our conference was in kobe and what a beautiful city this is. Its one of the most prime ( expensive ) cities in Japan. Beautiful streets, clean and tidy. You can see flowers planted on the streets, polished and formally dressed people, its the place where all the big corporations have their offices. It was a beautiful port, nice museums. we also went to the Onsen, yes we did :-) This is a community bath, a tradition which the Japanese folks love. It was quiet an experience to see all your male colleagues, the boss, the boss ka boss, all, NAKED ;-) The water is fetched from a natural hot water source. Its one of those Must Have authentic Japanese experiences.

I will let the pictures do the talking for Kobe.

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Old 1st July 2014, 10:30   #11
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Default Re: My Trip to Japan: Cars, Trains & more

Beautiful pictures in the thread. The pictures of Hiroshima and the stories are really nostalgic and touching. Please continue with lots of pictures of the place.
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Old 1st July 2014, 10:36   #12
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Thank you Saket. At Hiroshima i really though i will take lots of pictures. But when i stepped inside the museum and started reading each and every story in detail, i just could not click anymore. These are pictures where only the shadow of the person sitting there is visible. Due to the extreme heat wave and its velocity the people were isntantly vaporized and all that is left is their shadow. Huge metal pillars bent like twigs, buildings flattened like peck of cards and life lost as if it meant nothing. It was disturbing, humbling and my respect towards Japan as a country, grew 10 fold. I really hope no country will ever use such a destructive force, no matter what the situation is. To read in history books is different, but to actually witness that place and see the pain in those stories is an altogether different experience.
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Old 1st July 2014, 10:46   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieselritzer View Post
T But when i stepped inside the museum and started reading each and every story in detail, i just could not click anymore. These are pictures where only the shadow of the person sitting there is visible. Due to the extreme heat wave and its velocity the people were instantly vaporized and all that is left is their shadow.....
That is spine-chilling. And yes, we simply cannot equate the magnitude of the terror and destruction in our mind just by reading in history syllabus. Japan definitely commands respect...not for what it has been through, but for what it has now become despite what it has been through.

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To read in history books is different, but to actually witness that place and see the pain in those stories is an altogether different experience.
Exactly. I have a Discovery documentary on the bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki. Watching the documentary sends a shiver down my spine everytime. We simply cannot imagine what those people went through and how Japan as a country coped this catastrophe.

Please continue with your story.
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Old 1st July 2014, 11:14   #14
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I know i have not done much of writing in this travelogue. Well let me try to jot down things that i learnt during my stay there.

The Japanese Culture: They are the most humble people I have ever come across. They wont shout, you wont see them angry. The Zen philosophy is so deeply embedded in them that it seems they all have a firm control over their mind and body. The are patriots, and to me patriotism isnt just about shouting "Anti-Enemy" slogans ( which we do a lot). For me, definition of patriotism is broad, that includes keeping the country clean, treating each other with respect and dignity, forgiving each other, loving each other and accepting each other irrespective of anything. These are qualities which i saw in the Japanese people.

A crave for perfection: Yes their Shinkansen was always on time, their buses left and reached on time, our meetings and training started and ended on time, and its one of those qualities that has made Japan what it is today. They value time as a resource and ensure they use it in an optimum way. If each of us could do that, wouldnt that help our country grow faster and better?

Humility : I will share an incident that happened in Kyoto. We were staying on the outskirts of Kyoto, this was planned by my boss as he has lived in Japan, he wanted to give us a taste of a slower more traditional Japanese city. We were walking towards our Hotel and the lane was broad enough only to allow 1 car to pass by. If a car passed by, the people walking would have to stick themselves to the wall to allow the car to go by. While we were walking a car came from behind, we all glued ourselves to the wall ensuring the car could go by. A lady was at the drivers seat. While she was nearing us she slowed down before us, rolled her windows down, Apologized to each and everyone of us, and slowly drove away. We all were stunned. She was courteous enough to say sorry because due to her car we had to stick ourselves to the wall to let her pass, and walkers get the highest respect in the country. We all were touched, our boss looked at all of us and said, "Welcome to Japan"

Strength and will power : During our visit to Hiroshima, i read each and every word mentioned in the museum. we were inside for 2 hours. In those 2 hours I read things that no book mentions. Emotions that the people went through. Just after the bombing, the city took some time to understand what had actually happened. Within a few hours the re-construction and life saving efforts started taking place. Workers from adjoining cities rushed towards Hiroshima. There was no crying or loud weeping. Every one kept their calm. No one tried to take advantage of the situation by robbing or stealing others belongings. I cannot even imagine what mental strength it requires to keep your mind calm knowing that your house is gone, your family is gone, and you have no hope of living.

I also visited Kobe Earthquake Memorial. From what the pictures showed and the city i saw, there was a huge difference. Roads rebuilt in weeks, electricity and basic infra re-installed within hours, its as if some robots take over the place. There is no show of grief, no anger, no blaming Gods / Government, etc. They accept reality as it is and work on it. Something i wished we could do better, i wished I personally could do better, i am still trying.

I can write a book or give a day long presentation on what i have taken back from Japan. It was a humbling experience for me. Their appreciation for hard work, their crave for perfection, their craving for ease and simplicity, its amazing how a small country and leave such a huge footprint in the world.

I will share some interesting facts:

- The middle seat of the Shinkansen is broader than the 2 adjoining seats, this is to ensure the person sitting in between doesnt feel cramped.

- There is no Kobe Sizzlers in Kobe, folks in Kobe gave me a stupid look when i asked them is there any Kobe Sizzlers around ;-)

- The Japanese females love Indian Men, Indian Food and more over, Indian Men who can cook Indian Food ( its like an icing on the top)

- They adore Mithun Da, he has a huge fan following there

- Onsen, although you might think how weird it will be to be naked in front of all, no reaching there you realise that all are naked, so it doesnt matter. We laughed, shared funny stories, all while sitting naked in those hot springs.

- Tokyo does have amazing drifters, i witnessed a drag race, they told me not to take pics or make a vid. It was crazy.

- Our Shinkansen touched a max speed of 340 kms on hour, and the water in my glass didnt move a bit. Hats off to the engineers.

- The Ticket collector in the Shinkansen enters the compartment, bows down to all in the Japanese style and starts his work, and while walking off from the compartment he will again bow down, irrespective of if anyone is looking at him or not.
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Old 1st July 2014, 11:20   #15
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Zen Temple: We visited this beautiful Zen Temple near Kyoto. I have never in my life visited a place so calm, peaceful and soothing. Its extremely quiet. There were around 200 school kids who entered the temple with us and we thought that the peace will now be gone, but we were mistaken. We couldnt believe that how quiet, calm and disciplined these kids could be.

Some pictures from the Zen Temple :

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