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I have been very busy these past few months, with work, travel, and updating Todd’s Wanderings. As I am sure you have noticed, I have redesigned the layout of the blog and I will be adding new features in the coming months. More importantly I bought a new Sony camera, the evidence of which you will find in all of my latest posts, starting with where I bought the camera…Japan.

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In late August I met Kay (during her home leave) in Japan for a 10 day vacation. I lived in Japan for 5 years but have not been back in over 2 years. Despite traveling during the hottest and most humid time of the summer we had a great time. We spent some time in Tokyo, in Kamakura, and up north in Gunma Prefecture to escape the heat and the traffic.

Just outside of Shinjuku Station. Coming from Sri Lanka it was amazing to be in a big city again, with so many options for food, drinks and shopping.

This not a line for a roller coaster. 45 minutes in line gets you all the Crispy Kreme doughnuts you could ever ask for… I am amazed the builders thought to leave room for long times!

After a few days in Tokyo we traveled by train down to the beach near Kamakura, one of Japan’s ancient capitals.

The beach was nice and relaxing and not crowded at all.

Too many surfers for too few waves.

No vacation spot in Japan would be complete without a row of vending machines selling every possible drink…including hot coffee.
We headed closer to Kamakura where the old and new mix comfortably together.

A crowded shopping street.

A cute couple in traditional summer yukata.

Hot job

Kamakura’s most important Shinto Shrine, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. The current shrine dates back to 1180 and is dedicated to the patron gods of the Minamoto family and of the samurai in general.

Donations of Sake

The main shrine

We headed back towards Tokyo on the cozy little train line.

We swapped trains in Tokyo and headed to Karuizawa, in Gunma Prefecture. We took the “smaller” train on the left and headed up into the Japanese countryside to cool down.

We arrived in the small town of Tsumagoi about 3 hours later.

The whole area is crazy about cabbage and these two characters can been seen everywhere promoting the local farming industry. I have never liked cabbage, but Japanese artists can make anything look good…and oddly enough cool and sexy.

The active volcano Asama-yama dominates the area. There was an active warning in effect so we couldn’t get any closer.

A peaceful lake up in the mountains.

In the wake of a previous eruption the townspeople built this Buddhist temple in the lava flow to protect against future eruptions.

Buddhist Temple
Kay and I from the Temple’s veranda

Two happy looking “oni”, demons, posing for my picture

Back in Tokyo we went to a Sake house where we drank sake from all over Japan.

Afterward we said goodbye to Japan at a small local wine bar with Kay’s sister and husband.

After Japan I flew to Cambodia for 3 weeks of work…

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