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A few days more and we'll be there!

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Hi all,

I think it's great that we'll be able to blog about our experiences in Hangzhou and beyond. I'll be interested to see how many excellent photographers we have in the group!

Here's a map of the university campus (Zheda Zijingang fenxiao) where we will spend a lot of time.

Kristin

Map of Zhejiang University, Zijingang campus
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A Visit to Nara, July 9, 2010

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A Visit to Nara, July 9, 2010

Sharen Pula, The Park School

Our train sped across the basin of Kobe; the skyline punctuated the hillside. Storm clouds rolled across the peaks. The mountains, like sleeping dragons, awoke from their slumber. Puffs of heavenly smoke rose from their nostrils. The day's hunt would soon begin.

A Visit to Nara, July 9, 2010
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A Visit to Nara, July 9, 2010

Categories: , .

A Visit to Nara, July 9, 2010

Sharen Pula, The Park School

Our train sped across the basin of Kobe; the skyline punctuated the hillside. Storm clouds rolled across the peaks. The mountains, like sleeping dragons, awoke from their slumber. Puffs of heavenly smoke rose from their nostrils. The day's hunt would soon begin.

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All Aboard

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On Tuesday night we departed from the Beijing Railway Station on a train bound for Hongzhou, the "honeymoon capital" of China and the site of the inspiring West Lake. We spent about an hour in the station before boarding, watching Chinese travelers sleep on mats on the floor, eat at McDonalds, and generally wait for their trains. At this point in the trip, waiting for transportation is not an unusual experience. An overnight train, however, was new for almost everyone in our group. When we stepped onto the platform at 6:45, we found our car.

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All home safely

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Our departure from Japan was mildly stressful at the beginning but then turned into the usual grind of a long trans-Pacific flight. The bus that got the group to Itami airport was right on time (it arrived at Itami at about 6:40) but the line to get us all checked in was rather slow-- this being the downside of the Japanese "attention to detail" that we have all been praising up until now. The last two members of the group made it to the departure gate right as boarding was beginning; talk about cutting it close.

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Amazing Race

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Japan Journal Day 19: Friday, July 16, 2010: 9:43 PM Kobe Time

Today was our free day, free Friday if you will. I had lots of ideas over the weeks how I would spend this day. Originally, I was thinking a hike in the mountains, but after hard core hiking with Brad and Scott, I didn’t think that was necessary. Another thought was to visit the Emperor’s Palace in Kyoto. This was the residence of the Emperor for over 1000 years, until 1868. But, I had already spent 2 days in Kyoto, and I didn’t feel like spending another 4 hours on crowded trains.

First destination, the Garden.  We think this is a great idea. A small snack in China Town.  Already got lost once, but still think this was a good idea. Cable Cart to Rokko Mountain.  This is officially when I start questioning this endeavour View from Mt. Rokko......a moment where it seemed like the hike up and getting lost 4 times seemed worth it. Trying to figure out how to get to the other side.  Tired, hungry and ready to take a cab. THE cure for all those who have an irrational fear of heights. Kobe tower and another building not on our list to visit, but it looked interesting so it's included free of charge. Tim on the right path to looking for a wild boar.  Note I'm not moving at this point, too hungry to move. Finale, Tim eating the most delicious and most expensive Tuna he will ever taste.
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An additional blog for July 3-Free Day

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Greetings!
We were encouraged to navigate Beijing (in small groups)without our tour leaders David and Lauren. At breakfast, we finalized plans and the following represents an overview of our activities and impressions:

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An Independent Day or Exploration ... Thu 8 Jul 2010

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A trip by several of the (mostly) social studies, led by trip co-leader Hiroshi Nara, found us on the train from our base (Sanomiya) in Kobe, off to nearby the Ashiya neighborhood. We were in search of Jun'ichiro Tanizaki's (author of "In Praise of Shadows") museum. Not knowing precisely where the museum was, we meandered somewhat aimlessly through a tidy and neatly arranged Japanese neighborhood. In fact, for me, it was getting there that was most of the fun.

Jun'ichiro Tanizaki's museum - Kobe, Japan Outside a Sake brewery - Kobe, Japan Being served samples of Sake
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And later that day ... another kind of educational experience ...

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And the second part of our mini-bus tour took us to the Otsuka Museum of Art ... or as someone else called it ... "The Fake Art Museum" ... oh, yes ... there is a story here, my friends ...

Our new friend, Art-kun ... slow moving, but well read ... Being able to see the actual size of the works of art was incredible ... A little Vermeer, anyone? Reproductions, yes ... but to see these works together ... amazing!
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Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom

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Angkor was the political and religious center of the Khmer Empire from 802-1432. Angkor Wat, “City which is a Temple,” was built by Suryavarman II (1113-50) as a dedication to the Hindu god Vishnu (Protector of Creation). It is the largest religious structure in the world, measuring 1,626,000 sq meters. The layout is based on a mandala (sacred design of the Hindu cosmos). Unusually among Khmer temples, Angkor Wat faces west and toward the setting sun, a symbol of death, which makes scholars surmise that it was not only a temple, but initially designed as a mausoleum for the king as well.

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