Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Hello from Hong Kong! I finally arrived here from Japan on the 3rd of October. Iris tells me that I had just missed the National Day fireworks and celebrations on the 1st, but she promised me we'd have fun anyway! And boy did we have fun!
I met Iris' dog, Quila, and one of her many friends; here is a photo of me and a rabbit called Peaches. Isn't she cute?Iris lives on the top floor of a really tall building. In Hong Kong there is very little flat land in between all the hills and mountains, so all the buildings are built really tall, to fit in more people! This is the view out of Iris' bedroom window - isn't it scary being so high up? I really loved it though!Iris was busy volunteering during the first week and I got to go along. Iris really loves to work backstage in her free time. Seh does all this cool stuff in the theatre, where people come to sit and watch people act on stage. Iris taught me a lot about how to be a deputy stage manager, and I even got to operate the lighting console! Don't I look professional here?
Every day we would take the bus out into Central, the business district, and I got to see a lot of sights out of the window. They have really big buses in Hon Kong, and I loved sitting on the top deck! There was so much to see!
"Hong Kong" actually means "fragrant harbour" in Cantonese, so I was really excited to see all the boats in the harbour out of the bus window. These boats are parked in what is called a "typhoon shelter" it's where boats go to hide when a storm is coming. They call these storms "typhoon" in this part of the world.
We went for a special "dim sum" lunch in a really big restaurant. "Dim sum" means "touch the heart" or "order to your heart's content" in English. Dim sum is a Hong Kong speciality, and it's really yummy! You can order many things because each dish contains oly of a few bites of very tasty food. You order by writing down the number of dishes you want next to the name of the dish on the sheet of pater on the left. The food comes in bamboo steamers that oyu can stack on top of each other. Iris told me that they also call this "yum cha" which means "drinking tea". and they had a lot of tea in teapots to drink with the "dim sum". It was really delicious! I guess it was a very popular thing to eat because there were so many people in this huge restaurant.
Hong Kong has some pretty amazing architecture and Iris brought me around to show me alot of them. They were most pretty at night because they use a lot of lights to light up each building, so they really shine in the night! Here I am by the International Fiance Centre and the Bank of China - I am such a little bear in comparison with these huge buildings! There was also this little short colonial building with a dome, which is the Legislative council building - it is where a lot of the lawmaking happens in Hong Kong.
The Foreign Correspondant's Club here is also a colonial building - it is where all the journalists and reporters and politicians used to meet all the time! Now it is a private club but still full of interesting people. During the day Iris took me to see this one building called Lippe Centre which was designed by an Australian architect. The building looks like koala bears hugging a tree trunk. Can you see it? I wanted to take a photo of it because I'm a bear, too!
We also walked by Lan Kwai Fong, which is a really famous area full of bars and pubs. I took a picture but we didn't go in there because it was so crowded and not really suitable for a little bear like me!I had a really great time in Hong Kong and it was a nice place to end my tour of Asia. Iris tells me that she will miss me very much because I'm such a sweet bear. Now I'm off to America to see what life is like there. I can't wait! I hope you are doing well, Leonhard, and I will let you know how my visit to Florida went in my next post. Good bye for now and take care!
Monday, October 08, 2007
How are you doing? I 'm fine. I arrived at Yumi's house safely on Sunday 26th August. A few days later Yumi took me to some places.
We took a train at the nearest station to her house. It only took us 15 minutes to arrive at Kanazawa Station. KANAZAWA is the biggest city of Ishikawa prefecture where Yumi lives.
When I got out of the station I found a big red wooden gate which was a new symbol of the station. The gate was standed for Japanese drums.We went to Omicho market at first. The market is called "Kanazawa Kitchen". Some narrow streets were lined with the shops such as clothes shops, fish shops and grocery stores.
Then we visited Oyama shrine which was dedicared Lord Toshiie Maeda. The entrance gate with stained grass window was designed by two Dutch men and it was completed in 1875.
We washed our hands as soon as we entered the shirine as it is a sacred place.I found many wooden boards - "Ema" in Japanes. Ema are pictures of horses drawn on wood, the upper part of which has a roof, and presented to temples/shrines when making vows or when the prayers ad been answered. They are mostly used in praying for success in passing entrance exams of high school or university. I also found a statue of a man riding a horse. He was Toshiie Maeda (1538-1599).As we were little tried of the long walk, we went to Starbucks Coffee to take a rest. We had a mango flappuccino which was really delicious.Then we went to the Modern Japanese Literature Museum. We didn't enter it but had a look at it from outside. It was built as a school in 1891, so it is a pretty old building.In front of the museum I found a statue of 3 men . I was told that they were great authors born in Kanazawa. There was also a beautiful park with a pond where I saw some carps!After visiting this Modern Japanese Literature Museum we visited Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Compemporary Art which was just opened a few years ago in 2004 I was told.
I found some silver chairs in front of the museum and had a rest on one of them. It was very comfortable and I had great fun there watching this woman next to me with her parasol.
Then Yumi showed me a Tea Ceremony Room which was very interesting since I have never been to something like that before. I'm used from home to have tea just in the kitchen and drink it from your baby-bottle, so I was very astonished to see that people in Japan have such an interesting tradition.
Yumi and I entered the "Modern Museum" and I found a clear cube there. I wondered a bit what this was... And suddenly it even started to move! Well, I found out then that it was an elevator!!!
An exhibition of wedding photos was held at at gallery there so I learnt about the Japanese style of wedding here. The brides and the grooms on the photos looked really happy and the brides were really beautiful. Is it true that you and the rest of the family attended 4 weddings since I started my journey?? Wow, Leonhard, I promise to come back home before you'll get married yourself ;)I've got some news for you concerning this love & marriage things: Imagine I met a very cute doll-girl at another gallery!! Her name was Rika and she's 11 years old. I almost fell in love with her at first sight... But unfortunately we couldn't stay in the gallery with her... I think she was a Japanese Barbie!I also found an interesting swimming pool here in Japan. It was very strange because people could stand/walk under the pool. It was called Leandro's swimming pool because it was designed by "Leandro Erlich". I read a bit in the leaflet and there they wrote "The layer of water covers a thick glass border while the pool below the glass is empty." Stange, strange. I waved the people under the pool which was funny.Then I went to Turrel's room. I also got to read a leaflet (fortunately it was in English, I'm still very bad in reading Japanese letters... How about you, did you already learn how to read meanwhile?) and there they wrote "Through teh space of the cellin the audience could experience the sky in a peaceful environment." When I entered the room, the sky was gray and it was cloudy. I explored the wohle museum and a found a golden statue of a man called "A man measures a cloud". Then I went back to Turrel's room and this time it was raining and the floor was wet because the room doesn't have a roof.
Well, dear Leonhard, you see I made many new experiences during my stay in Japan. Now it is time for me to continue my journey and my next stop will be Hong Kong. I'm looking forward alot!
Good bye Japan and thanks for the nice time with Yumi!