Sayonara Japan!

Exhausted after another sleepless overnight flight back to Australia, we tackled Sydney’s rail system. Cam struggled with a cocky ticket seller. What happened to “the customer is king” service we received in Tokyo? While conductors and drivers of trains in Japan were perfectly polished in shiny-buttoned suits, hats and white gloves, our train into Central…

Kids’ picks

We’re on the final leg of our journey, on the shinkansen back to Tokyo, with our flight later tonight. We’ve asked the girls what their favourite parts of our trip have been. While I know they’ve enjoyed just absorbing all of the new experiences, I’m not that shocked to hear temple visits or schlepping luggage…

Fox on the Run

Kyoto has been beautiful. The city is big, but manageable, the people have been lovely,and our house comfortable. But I will admit that we have become a little temple/shrine fatigued. I’m not sure if a survey has been done as to whether there are more churches in Rome, or more temples in Kyoto, but I…

Darkness and Light

I was apprehensive about visiting Hiroshima. I don’t like the thought of deliberately exposing myself, or the girls, to war, grief or death. But at the same time, staying hidden under a veil of happiness and comfort isn’t particularly realistic. Awful things happened to innocent people, and this would be a way to show our…

Ninjas and Pickles

We launched into today with such hope. After the temple-a-thon yesterday, we thought a kid-friendly change of pace was in order, and so decided to head to Toei Kyoto Studio Park, or as we’d been talking it up “Ninja Park”. Toei ┬áis a Japanese film and television production company, and they have a massive lot…

“Can I please have your autograph?”

Are autograph books still a thing? My precious book in the 80’s and 90’s had gelati-coloured pages with gold edges, and I was so excited to have a bunch of car drivers’ signatures (Keke Rosberg, Niki Lauda) gathered by my dad, and then the scribbles of celebs I’d met in my early days of radio…

Arigato gozaimaaaaaaa……

…aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas! That’s how you say thank you like a local in Tokyo. Make sure you drag that final vowel sound right out until you need to catch another breath! As we sit here on our first Shinkansen fast train trip, hurtling through Japan’s many towns at 270 kph en route to Kyoto, I thought it’d…

Bargain Huntress

Happy Mother’s Day! My little mik-moks (that’s not Japanese…just a St.Clair family exclusive word) gave me beautiful cards made at home, a mini canvas, and a promise to buy me something special from…my favourite place on earth…a second hand/antique/junk/flea market! I’d scoured the net to find different markets in both Tokyo and Kyoto while we’re…

The Happiest Place on Earth

Tokyo has two Disney theme parks – Tokyo Disney, and Tokyo Disney Sea. We decided that one dose of Disney would be enough. It’s doubtful we’ll ever go to a US Disney Park (pretty low on my travel bucket list), so this was a good chance for a theme park fix while the girls are…

Totoro, Totoro!

If the films “My Neighbour Totoro”, “Kiki’s Delivery Service” or “Howl’s Moving Castle” mean nothing to you, you probably won’t be interested in our day at the Ghibli Museum, Tokyo. Studio Ghibli, and its brainchild Hayao Miyazki, has produced some of the highest grossing films in Japan, all animated, and their 2001 film “Spirited Away”…

“Don’t Talk to Strangers”

That’s what we say to our kids. We drum it in from an early age. Sometimes when you’re travelling however, it’s in talking to strangers that you can open up a world of discovery. I’ve been sucked in before with stranger talking…shuttled to a Bangkok tailor and being “encouraged” to purchase clothing by a tuk-tuk…

Tokyo day 1

When the flight co-ordination team at Qantas were deciding on an appropriate time to fly Sydney to Tokyo, I’m sure they must have consulted a sleep deprivation expert; “Be sure they are their most uncomfortable right when their bodies are usually hitting deep sleep mode. Hold off their main meal until they are near starving,…