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Janel

From Janel

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Hi,

 

I posted in the Admin Announcements about my first trip to Japan, which is coming up in three weeks. I realize that it might not be possible for anyone to post in that section of the forum, sorry. The Way would be a good place for asking questions or offering comments, if there are any.

 

Smiles to you all :) ,

 

Janel

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Great news ! Am sure you will have a fine time as Japan is a very hospitable place. Which areas are you heading to ? How long are you going for ? People there go out of their way to be helpful and friendly.

My only advice would be avoid the shiokara at breakfast (if offered - this is raw fermented squid guts... an acquired taste !)

Bye

Ed

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Hi Janel,

I tend to rise early and go for a walk. It was a nice thing to do in Japan because you get to see a lot of daily activity that only occurs in the early morning. I always like to stop for a coffee. If you need coffee in the morning like me watch out for the donuts because they might be filled with fish. Wow, what a shock to my morning when I took my first bite! If you ride in a taxi be ready for nail biting ride on the narrow streets. You will pass walkers, bikers and other cars inches away at a very high speed. Also a good thing to know if you are walking. Have a Great time.

Dick

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Hi Ed and Dick,

 

Thank you for the good suggestions! Wow, there is a lot to learn, I am finding! Have you both been in Japan?

 

I will spend my first nine days in Tokyo, doing a variety of things, with my friend and I hope to gain confidence on my own. Then she and I will visit Masami Sakai, a fifth generation Masanao family netsuke carver, who has been inviting me to visit her since 1993, each time we meet at the International Netsuke Society Conventions. The next day we will go to Takayama to see an interesting new show for wood netsuke, and perhaps stay in a traditional Japanese lodging. Back to Tokyo for a break of a few hours. The next day, a curator of Japanese Art from Los Angeles County Museum of Art will join me until we depart for the US on November 7. Together we will see more in Tokyo, then on to Nagoya, Kyoto, and then the last night in Narita, closer to our departure airport. She has some museum work to do in each location except Narita.

 

This whole journey sounds ambitious and wonderful at the same time. I am hoping to learn how to travel in Japan, and on another visit be able to visit with carvers, on a more slowly paced trip. This time, I don't know how to make those arrangements, unless something can be arranged between now and then on the days I have free in the Tokyo area. I will be gone just over three weeks.

 

Janel

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Hello dear Janel!

I so wonder with your remarkable news! Please, don't forget your digital camera, I think, we all will be waiting for your photos of cities, landscapes, netsuke (I hope so) and a lot of information about unusual and interesting things, traditions and etc.! :)

All the best to You!

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Hi Janel,

My son lives in Tokyo so I have been there to visit. It's a long plane ride from the east coast but well worth the trip. You will have a wonderful time. Did you get a rail pass? If you are going to be there three weeks it is a great deal since you go almost everywhere by rail. It will save a huge amount of money and time since all you have to do is show your pass.

Have a Great Time!

Dick

 

 

 

 

My website

www.erbonham.com

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Thank you Natasha and Dick!

 

I have a good digital camera, and the Japan Rail pass for three weeks. i have learned that I am in for a shock, for the numbers of people in Tokyo. Dropping into this great metropolitan area will be quite an experience, living in the country and having no one around most of the time!

 

There is much to do before departure, but some of the big stuff is now taken care of. Phew!

 

I hope to have learned enough about the camera to be able to take some good photos. I won't have the computer to help me "proof" them, so it will be a bit of trust that all is going well with it and my new skills with it.

 

I'll post some pics before I leave, if there is time. The weather and season now is quite photogenic.

 

Counting the days...

 

Janel

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You'll have a great trip. The Japanese in general are very service oriented, and very helpful, and I think you'll find that as you see how things work, your confidence level to be on your own will go up substantially.

 

Jim

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Hey Janel- I had the same pass when I was in Japan in June. It makes everything so easy. You'll have no problem travelling- signs, schedules and announcements both in trains and in the stations are in English too. In no time you'll start to begin recognizing Kanji and making some sense of things, too.

 

Have a great trip :)

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Thanks Mike and Doug,

 

Bit by bit things are getting arranged. Here is the current one to figure out. It has been suggested that I take some work with me, but I don't know how any work will be considered when going through customs to Japan and back into the US. The three pieces that I would considering bringing with me are made from these materials: Boxwood with amber eye inlay, Ebony with Jet inlay, Pink Ivory Wood, and Persimmon.

 

Does anyone know if ebony, pink ivory wood or persimmon (not likely) are of concern, or amber or jet? Any wood or material that is contained in CITES lists would have to remain at home.

 

Does one need documentation, does one declare such personal possessions? Does one just pocket them and walk through? I just don't know. I have not traveled internationally before.

 

Janel

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Janel,

 

I don't beleave the materials will give you any problems at customs but make sure you have documentation on ownership of said art. I am not sure of todays laws but when I traveled internationally that is the only problem I had when I traveled with my artwork. I found a homemade pssport of sorts for my work simular to a portfolio carried with the artwork usually works.

 

I am so happy you get to go to Japan, you will love it, congrads.

 

Luv,

Debbie

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Thanks Debbie,

 

I will prepare something printed, and also put links to their place on the web site, to show further connection to my ownership. Lots of work to do. Two weeks and counting!

 

Janel

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Hi Janel, i'm very happy to you, the japan should be a wonderfull country. I hope it will be a great trip for you.

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Hi Janel, I am so very happy to hear of your trip to the land of my ancestors. It will no doubt be an eye opening and life altering experience as all international travel tends to be, especially for your first trip. The five senses are assaulted by the "foreignness" of everything surrounding you. The sights, sound, customs, and tastes are mind numbing at first, not to mention seeing a people who's features are different than what you are accustomed to here.

 

When I was there, I felt like an alien even though I look the same. Interestingly, the children often pointed to me and called me "different" in Japanese. Even though I thought I looked the same, they were able to detect the subtle difference in my American upbringing.

 

Enjoy yourself, take kots of pictures, and maybe, if time permits, jot down a brief summary of your thoughts and impressions. The trip itself will be so overwhelming that you will find it difficult to remember all you experienced and felt.

 

Bon voyage.

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Hi Ron,

 

Thank you for your good wishes. I hope to be able to do some recording of the experiences and thoughts, but handwriting a journal seems daunting when I consider that I will likely not take my computer along. It is a big laptop, and with the rather big camera and my bags, it just seems to be like it would be too much. I will have to decide that when I have my luggage figured out. The days are going by quickly here!

 

Janel

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Hi Janel: Have a great trip in Japan. I know you'll not only learn a tremendous amount; but will make many enduring friendships. Your work is so well known now, they should make you a "living" legend. As to taking objects into and back from Japan, You might do what I have done. When you are leaving and going through the customs at this (the US) end, ask to make out a specific declaration for the items. The customs people have these forms. When you do that, they'll certify the form. With the form and the items, you should be able to re-enter the US with them without trouble. I have done this with expensive electronics that "might" have been acquired overseas and therefore taxable on entry to the US.

 

But above all - have FUN!!!

 

Can't wait to see photos and hear of your experiences. BTW, the idea of even a hand written diary is excellent. At "the time" I figured I could never forget things. But without writing them down, I find I would had they not been written down. So, even if it is a little 3x6" note pad, take notes!

 

Ralph

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Hi Ralph,

 

It is good to see you here! I hope that all is well with you. Thanks for the encouragements and advice. Time is getting short and there is much to be done! I've got some note pads, if I don't take the laptop.

 

Smiles to you,

 

Janel

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Hi Janel - yes, i lived there for two years (Sapporo - nice winters ;) ).

I'm replying late to this and I guess everyone has answered your questions ! I'd go for a notebook and pencil rather than a laptop but then I like to travel light (8kg max...).

Definitely try and stay at an 'inn' (ryokan) if you can - and I forget the details but they serve traditional food in the evening which is a good experience - alot of small dishes and alot of emphasis on texture.

Kyoto is interesting and try and see at least one temple if you have time - alot to chose from but there are some good zen gardens if that is of interest and also the temple architecture is very very interesting.

Shame you don't have time for a detour to Nara... A large scale bronze (?) Buddha to see :)

Take it easy - Ed

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Hi Ed,

 

Thanks for the suggestions. On one short three day trip with a friend, we are staying at a traditional ryokan in Takayama and I am looking forward to it. Both evening meal and breakfast will be in the room, as I understand it. On the part of the trip that includes Kyoto, we will not have much time there, it will be an introduction to it only, and will be a longer stay destination on a future trip.

 

It is not easy to take it easy, with the three days remaining before departure! Life is complicated, but it is good.

 

Janel

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Thank you Leon!

 

The last two days of preparation are looming. To flavor the tension, our son fell at work last Friday, and had emergency surgery to pin three pieces of the humerus bone back into place just above the elbow. He seems to be doing very well, but there is a little concern about some numbness in his pinky and ring fingers. We are hoping that time will repair the stresses that it was involved with. I feel a bit irresponsible going away but he and my husband will work together as well as they can to make the next weeks go the best for him. At least mom won't be around to smother him too much! This 17 year old boy is not too fond of that stuff right now.

 

I still have not decided whether or not to bring the computer. I have to pack my belongings, read the rules for carry on, and see where it ends up.

 

Meanwhile, I'll be scurrying these next couple of days!

 

Janel

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Thanks Jim. Avery seems to be doing very well so far. We will see him tomorrow when he comes home for the Minnesota Educators meeting long weekend. Well, I will see him briefly.

 

Soon the journey will begin!

 

Janel

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I have arrived! What a rush of feelings and worries before departure. Everything has gone smoothly so far! The hotel room is quiet and feels like a little oasis in a huge metropolitan city.

 

Talk about chasing the sun! I experienced the longest day of my life, except maybe for living in Alaska when I was to young to remember it. We flew up over Canada and the Yukon, then over Alaska and headed to Japan. It looked very rugged and cold down there.

 

We flew through the time zones and remained in the bright sun until we landed at Narita airport, and at that time it was late dusk. What an experience. Departure from Minneapolis at around 3 pm and twelve sun-filled hours later we landed at dusk, around 5:30 pm the next day.

 

Janel

 

I am going to stay up until my bed time, and try to click into a sleep routine that matches this location, and wake early to be ready for the day tomorrow.

 

Komada Makiko will meet me at the hotel and we will go to visit Komada Ryushi's carving class. I have never had an opportunity to watch other carvers at work, nor have I had a class, so this will be interesting.

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