The Final Cost

Big Ass Carp
Big Ass Carp

I think that all the expenses are in from the Japan trip. $14,787.01. About 40% for transportation, 40% for hotels, and 20% for everything else.

Thank you MomIda for financing the trip from the otherside. MomIda is most likely spinning in her grave – can you do that if you were cremated? MomIda, like Carlton, never spent money. I am reminded of a friend of mine – she says she wants to live long enough to spend all the money that her late husband refused to spend.

I don’t like this template very much – have to recreate the one that I killed right before going to Japan. I replaced the template it didn’t like very much with this one that I like less. Now, that is what we call progress.

OK, I am starting to get the old theme back… Almost all good again.

KitKat anyone?

KitKat Truck in Japan.

Trying to “do something with” my photos from Japan. You may recall that in May I finished “doing something with” the pictures I took in Alaska 10 years ago. Well, ten years from now, I may be too senile to “do something with” these images. So, I’d best “so something” sooner rather than later.

Nothing will be done with this KitKat truck picture. Who would have expected to find a truck full of KitKat Bars in exciting downtown Ishinomaki. Check out

Notes to self:

  1. Investigate Nestle Group as a potential investment for the international part of equity holdings.
  2. Cell phone, turned off, holds a charge nicely for 30 days.
  3. Next time take 2 bras.


For no apparent reason, the Airness developed a little disk issue. I was going to pack the Airness down to the Apple Store and say “Fix It” or email the son-in-law and say “what now?”

But, I decided that I should be able to RTFM and repair it myself. (It was surely a software issue.) Which I did. Everything seems fine now – but, I’ll keep my backup current and check the file structure at least once a day for a while.

Maybe the Airness has jet lag? I have over 2,000 images to cull down to say maybe 500 with say 50 to print into a book. What I really need is a powered USB hub. 128Gig isn’t a very big drive. And the Airness just has one USB port. Honest, Mr Jobs, I would have tolerated another, say 2 ounces for a second USB port.

Back Home

Back home. Got the last images out of the camera and into the computer.

The Fuji TV Building
Quick shot from the train - might be the best one from the trip
Taking the good stuff in for the night
Last look at the Ginza

It was a good trip. Where to now?

Did some work on my investments today. Sent some stocks to my foundation. Sold out my entire Nash Finch position. Bulls get rich, Bears get rich, Pigs get slaughtered. Took my profits and spent the proceeds on Potash, John Deere and E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company – aka du Pont. Why? Russian weather.

The Russian wheat crop is toast. North American farmers will ramp up wheat production. What will they need? Fertilizer – Potash. New gear to process the wheat – John Deere – and seeds -du Pont. That is the rationale.

From Tokyo

Real Time: Friday August 6 at 0645

The 65th Anniversary of the Hiroshima A-Bomb. For the first time, the US ambassador is going to the ceremony. That is a big deal here. Also, you might think that Japan would not have nuclear power plants. You would be wrong – they have 56. And, like us, have not a clue as to where to put the spent fuel.

Leaving tomorrow. The first 12 hour flight is a little daunting. But, the second time – you know you can make it. Watch a movie. Listen to the iPod – I have a new book on the iPod. Eat. Snooze. Walk around the plane. Eat. iPod. Snooze. Walk around the plane. Maybe watch another movie. And then you are over Kansas. Almost home.

How about some photos from Tokyo?

Why you should consider podiatry as a career.
Reflected Madness
I shouldn't even be looking in the window of a shop that sells real diamond tiaras.

And how, exactly, does one shop for a tiara? “Hi, I like a nice tiara. In diamond, please. Size medium.”

From Tokyo

Realtime: Wednesday, August 4, 6:25AM

A few random shots from yesterday.

Is it public art or an advertisement? Like so many things Japanese - I haven't a clue.
Department stores in Japan have entire sections devoted to "Funeral Wear".
Old Edo Castle wall and the New Tokyo

Another sunny day with great blue sky and fluffy clouds.

From Tokyo

Real Time: August 3 at 0700

Yesterday was all about food.

Tokyo street ca 1958

We headed to Yokohama and the noodle museum. The time is summer of 1958.

The basic shoyu style plain raumen

The price of a bowl of noodles was not ca 1958. But, it was still good.

From the Demel's of Vienna Shop

Back in the Ginza – we got chocolate treats from the Demel’s counter for our dinner. Our hotel room lacked the Demel’s atmosphere. But the pastry was great. Note to self: Start Dieting next monday.

Blue sky and puffy white clouds this morning.

From Tokyo

Real Time: Monday August 2 at 0630

A few from Tokyo

Nissan Concept Car
Fishy Window Display
How many Japanese policeman does it take to direct traffic at the intersection of two one way one lane streets?

The policemen are at the end of the alley our hotel is on. Less than 100 yards away there are another 4 police directing traffic. The US attempts to deal with unemployment with unemployment compensation, welfare and retraining. The Japanese approach is to use 4 men to do a job that doesn’t need doing.

From Tokyo

Real Time: July 31 at 0610 hours.

We will not even go into the trouble we encountered upon our arrival in Tokyo. The short version – the hotel could not be found, there was a driving horizontal rain, we killed 3 umbrellas in 20 minutes, soaked right down to the undies.

May the goddess bless Mazda. Much to the teenage person’s embarrassment, I marched into a Mazda show room and said in perfect English – I am lost. Please Help. And they helped. They couldn’t figure out the hotel map either. So, they made me a new, laser printer and hence semi waterproof map – wrote street names on it. Gave me an umbrella and sent me on my way. (The umbrella lasted about 5 blocks.) After about 10 blocks – I asked a cop for help. He said that we should have turned right down an unnamed street about a block back. We retraced our steps and that was it – within 10 more minutes – we found our little oh so french hotel.

Now some photos from yesterday. Yesterday was devoted entirely to watching the teenage person’s attempts to kick-start the Japanese economy by power shopping.

But first, the French version of the $25 Japanese Breakfast - not the best we have had.
Note to Old Persons - Abandon Hope Upon Entry
Got to get ice cream and corn flakes at the Hello Kitty Ice Cream Store.
Safely Back in the Friendly Confines of Ginza and our hotel

Tonight – big-time fireworks – if we brave the crowds and subway system – weather permitting.

Leaving Hiroshima

Real time: Thursday July 29 at 0630

A few shots from yesterday’s layabout day in Hiroshima.

Hiroshima Castle - at the top of the stairs.
Japanese air conditioning
Temple inside castle moat

Overcast today. Will try to get us out of here sooner rather than later. We have a subway ride in Tokyo from the train station to our hotel. And, I really want to avoid being on the subway with our backpacks during Tokyo’s famous subway crush time.

From Hiroshima

Real time: Wednesday July 28 0630 hours

Some photos from the last couple of days.

The A-Bomb Dome - Hiroshima
Miyajima Island
Miyajima Island - Everything in Japan is at the top of a hill or long flight of stairs or both.
Miyajima Island

Haven’t a clue what we will do today. The teenage person is getting geared up for 9 days of shopping in Tokyo. I have decided to buy nothing that I can buy back home unless it is way cheaper. Which means I don’t have much shopping planned. But, the old person can look.

From Kumamoto

Real time: Monday July 26 0630 hours

Selected photos from a lazy Sunday in Kumamoto, which is far off the western tourism track.

Start the day with a very Japanese breakfast

This hotel chain always has fried onion rings on Sunday morning. That would be fried onion rings, two kinds of soup – one with quail eggs. Tofu. Lotus root stuffed with hot mustard – that was a wake up call to the taste buds. A few green beans and carrots. A bowl of rice. Coffee, yogurt and a small roll.

I then left the teenage person to herself and her computer and wandered around town. I was tempted by $75 hair combs – but decided that the goddess would not be pleased if I spent $75 for a hair toy – and that she might show her wrath by visiting breast cancer and chemo on me. I settled for a perfectly fine $5 hair comb.

Another Day, Another Castle - Kumamoto Castle

By mid afternoon, I hauled the teenage person away from the computer and out to see the castle. Where, we found some unknown festive event in progress.

I don't have any idea what is going on here.
But, I suspect that alcoholic beverages where involved.

The day was topped off by a visit to the the delightful communal bath, where they have washers and dryers – so all my clothes got clean along with me.

This morning – we will head to Hiroshima for 3 nights, then 9 nights in Tokyo. Then home.