Life in progress


JusJoJan 29 – Kamakura, Japan – Part 2

It wasn’t the perfect weather to go to the beach, but for me, living where the nearest large body of water is Lake Ontario, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Pacific Ocean. So off to the beach I went.

PacificI wrote this about the day:

I could have spent much more than the two hours I was there had I been able to sit. The weather was cool but quite comfortable in my winter jacket. A group of adults were there with their children, one of which–a two year old boy–was completely naked. Not something you’d see in Canada.

Soft, deep sand and gentle waves… Again I was warned about the hawks, but the crows were in abundance. The highlights of what they were eating were a stingray and a small (2-2.5 ft. long?) shark.

The conch shells were many – giant clam shells and starfish as well.

blue starred star

The next day it rained, but nothing was going to keep me indoors. I walked with my umbrella to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, where there was a wedding going on. I didn’t get any pictures of the bride, but I did spend 500Yen to make a wish and write it on a wooden board. It’s probably still hanging there.

Some pictures:

Near the front gate

Near the front gate

Autumn colours in December

Autumn colours in December

green reflection

A reflective pond

I wrote:

I want to go shopping in Yokohama, but I’m reluctant to leave the quiet of here. Five days in Tokyo will be busy enough.

And they were. To be continued.

JJJ 2015

This post is part of Just Jot It January!!


JusJoJan 22 – Kamakura, Japan – Part 1

From Yokohama Station I hopped on another train which took me to the little seaside town of Kamakura. I’d done my research online before I went – it’s a place with lots of Temples, a little shopping street (by little I mean narrow, not short) and had what I thought would be a nice, inexpensive place to stay. In a word, it was beautiful.

Villa Sacra in Kamakura is a little inn with several uniquely decorated rooms. A very old, traditional Japanese house, the floors creak, the ceilings are low, and the hospitality is fabulous.

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The room, however, was quite small. I spent most of my time out wandering the shopping street, eating at Mister Donut – hey, it was cheap and free refills on the coffee! – and walking. Oh boy did I walk. I’d estimate about 4-6 hours a day, rain or shine.

I was in my room for the only earthquake I felt. At first I thought it was someone leaning against the wall behind me. The walls were thin enough that I could feel the people in the next room, but the rumbling sound and the extensive swaying of the entire room led me to believe otherwise. When I looked it up on the internet (I had excellent WiFi), sure enough I was on the outskirts of a quake. It wasn’t nearly as frightening as I thought it might have been, probably because if the house had been standing that long already, it wasn’t likely to fall down while I was there, right? Right.

Besides, I had other things to worry about. I wrote this in my notebook over coffee:

December 9th, 2014 – Mister Donut, Kamakura

I’ve been sitting by the window for about 20 minutes on this lovely bright sunny day and so far only one person has walked by in sunglasses. Okay, now it’s two. But that’s among hundreds. This must be a nation of people with eyesight issues.

Not that that’s the biggest danger here – every 3rd hydro pole has a sign that says “Be careful of tsunamis,” stating that here we are just a little more than 5 meters above sea level. Be careful – as though if you see one, just step around it.

I think I’ve been bitten by a mosquito. In December. Life is good.

After that I took a day trip to Enoshima. It is, apparently, the honeymoon capital of Japan. In a way this seems appropriate, like if you can handle the uphill climb here, you can handle being married.



December 9th, 2014, Enoshima (Island)

An island carved in rock and surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, yet not too far from land that one can’t walk here across a bridge, it is populated by shrines and hawks. I’ve now seen my very first “Beware of the Hawks” sign.

I tried to get a few pictures of the hawks but they’re fast fliers.



I managed to nab this one in a tree.

The weather was gorgeous – in the tens to low teens, celsius the entire time I was in Kamakura. The food was fantastic and very inexpensive – I managed to eat for between 500-1000 yen ($5 to $10 Cdn.) most days. Lots of seafood, as you can well imagine.

I was going to write about my entire time in Kamakura in one shot, but there’s still so much to tell. I’ll try to write again soon!

This post is part of Just Jot It January: click the link and join in!

JJJ 2015



JusJoJan 12 – Yokohama, Japan

After my horrotacular first evening in Tokyo which you can read about here, I rose early the next morning, got my shit together, and headed off to the train station. Fortunately it wasn’t the same station from which I’d wandered the night I arrived; it was much easier to find. You can bet I asked for detailed directions from the hotel staff when I checked out though.

I was on my way to Kamakura, but the plan was to stop at Yokohama Station to meet Jay Dee, most famous from here on WordPress at I Read Encyclopedias for Fun. Here’s a link to his latest post. Fortunately our meeting went as planned, and we had a lovely chat over coffee (for me) and cocoa (for Jay). After that I hung out at the station for a while. Here’s what I wrote afterward, and a picture I took from inside the station:

Having a couple of hours to kill before I was due at my next hotel, I found a nice pillar to lean against and I just stood there for about twenty minutes, enjoying the mild temperature blowing in from outside. In the air was the aroma of cocoa and as I watched the people walking by I felt as though I was floating comfortably in a sea of humanity. It struck me how incredibly safe it is here — children as young as perhaps seven years old, one with a four year-old trailing after her, passed by unaccompanied by an adult.


Yokohama Station, from my pillar


Eventually I left my post and went to speak to an information clerk who told me how to use one of the ghastly train ticket machines. I did so with no problem though. I wouldn’t have had any idea had I not been given instructions.

So off to Kamakura I went. It’s a wonderful little town south of Tokyo and I’m so glad I decided to spend the next four days there. I’ll write more about it next time.

This post is part of Just Jot It January. Please join in! You can find everything you need here:

JJJ 2015