Japan, March 2014: Discovery voyage in a country on the other side of the world
Japan, March 2014
Discovery voyage in a country on the
other side of the world
By Annet van Betuw
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 1
Japan, here I come!
Amsterdam, March 6 Seoel, March 7 Hiroshima, March 7
Meeting my husband Rob Jongman in Japan,
no more skyping but IRL
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 2
Hiroshima airport > Saijo, apartment Rob Jongman
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 3
Rob worked 3 months at IDEC, Graduate school for
International Cooperation and Development, Hiroshima
Lots of excursions, starting in Saijo
March 10, Sake excursion in Saijo
What do you say in the
Netherlands if someone
makes a photo, asked the
guide. ‘Cheese’ we
answered, so he did and
we laughed. In Japan
people count 3, 2, 1 and
take a picture.
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 4
From spring in the
Netherlands to cold
Rob tasting the
good, healthy pure
water in Saijo.
Therefore there are
Sako breweries in
With Dutch eyes
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 5
In traffic cars come first, even if there is a pedestrian crossing. One gets used to it. But
surprising is that pedestrians and cyclists join one road.
Walkways are only at main roads. Mostly there is no or a small walkway. And often cars are
Parking is an other issue: Japanese are very good in parking backwards, even without inside
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 6
• 13-18 March, 61th Annual meeting of the
Ecological Society of Japan
• Earthquake 15 March, early in the morning!
Read my blog, sorry just in Dutch
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View from our
room, 20th stock
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 8
Rob giving his presentation at 61th Annual meeting of
the Ecological Society of Japan.
Nice dragon play after conference dinner.
Hiroshima, peace memorial park
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Being in Hiroshima, I had to go to the museum and parc. In the museum
(of course) you are not allowed to take pictures, but I forgot and
remembered after making this picture. Sorry. I was impressed by the
tekst on this poster: nuclear weapens are the fruits of war.
The tree is one of the two or three trees that survived.
On Sunday, March 16, we visited the nice island of Miyajima, the island of Gods, known
from the floating Torii gate. There were many tourists, a samurai and deers used to beg for
food. Actually we did not visit the temples and shrines, but decided to go up with the cable-
way and walk down. That was very nice, although my knees complained a lot!
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 10
March 20, dinner IDEC staff
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Rob’s official farewell from IDEC took
place on March 20. We were invited
to the staff’s dinner. In all Japanese
houses and some restaurants (like
this) you take off your shoes. If you
go to the toilet, you can use slippers
that are waiting for you.
Rob talking to Prof Nakagoshi. They already know
eachother from 1986!
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 12
After dinner we took the Shinkansen to Kyoto. A very
nice city. Here are some impressions from the
wonderful market that we visited on March 21.
Kyoto – Kiymizu-dera
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March 22 we visited the
amazing temple of Kiymizu-
dera. If you climb there, you
pass a big cemetary. It was very
crowded, we did not know that
it was a day off in Japan
With Dutch eyes
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 14
“What is this?”We wondered in
Hiroshima, seeing a lot of young girls
walking with the front of their feet bowed
to each other. ‘Fashion’ we heard. Yes, it
probably will cause knock-knees or other
physical problems, but if it is fashion…
Once we noticed it, we saw it everywhere
like here in Kyoto and not only teenagers.
We were also fascinated by all the girls
walking with short skirts and bare
upperlegs… even when it was very cold or
Kyoto – Highashi-Hongan-ji Temple
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The Higashi-Hongan-ji Temple is amazing. Just look at the picture
from the website InsideKyoto and you understand. But I was even
more touched by a small ‘incident’. At the temple there were
posters about collecting money for the victims of the tsunami
three years ago. While having a look from a distance I saw a
woman slowly walking there and starting to cry, soundless and
holding her hands before her mouth.
Of course I did not make a picture. The photo that you see
here, was made the next day, when we went to the
railwaystation, passing the temple again.
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 16
March 23 we had to go back to IDEC, Saijo, being
present at the graduation of the students. We stopped
at Himeji, to visit the castle. Unfortunately the castle
was under construction and we were short of time.
Then a young teacher asked if her students could ask
something in English. The girl in the white jacket did and
was very happy that we understood her and answered
some questions. Some days later we experienced the
same in the hotel in Aso: young children really enjoyed
asking some questions in English. This is very good,
because most Japanese who we met (apart from
students and staff) hardly speak or understand English.
Saijo - IDEC
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March 23. After graduation at
IDEC of course a lot of pictures
were taken. After that there
was a small farewell party were
Rob was thanked by the
students and received a nice
24-26 March, travelling to Nagasaki.
March 24, Dejima
Dejima (Japanese: 出島?, "protruding island"), in old Western documents
latinized as 'Decima', 'Desjima', 'Dezima', 'Disma', or 'Disima', was a small fan-
shaped artificial island built in the bay of Nagasaki in 1634 by local merchants.
This island, which was formed by digging a canal through a small
peninsula, remained as the single place of direct trade and exchange between
Japan and the outside world during the Edo period. Dejima was built to
constrain foreign traders as part of sakoku, the self-imposed isolationist policy.
Originally built to house Portuguese traders, it was used by the Dutch as a
trading post from 1641 until 1853. Covering an area of 120 m x 75 m (9000
square meters, or 0.9 hectares), it later was integrated into the city.
In 1922, "Dejima Dutch Trading Post" was designated a Japanese national
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 18
Rob and Mrs Nakagoshi, who
joined us on our first day in
Nagasaki, looking at the first
cherry blossoms in Dejima.
Nagasaki – Botanic garden (1)
March 25, warm welcome by Prof Nakanishi
who showed us the botanic garden
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Nagasaki – Botanic garden (2)
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Nagasaki – story of Hashima
From the botanic garden we saw Hashima Island, now a ‘ghost island’ but being a coal
mine island in the past. Coming from a colemine family myself, I was hit by the idea
that people actually lived here. It must have been a hard life. Prof Nakanishi took us to
a small museum, showing pictures of the island when used.
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 21
picture from Wikipedia
We continued our travel on the south island via Kumamoto. We arrived in the evening
of March 25 and the next day Dr Abe showed us the castle and one of the gardens. It
rained and once again we had to use the umbrella’s that we bought in Kyoto. But it
was nice, especially when the two gentleman suddenly changed in people from
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 22
Very interesting is Aso (Kumamoto) and Mount Aso, a vulcano. We were not
allowed to go any further. Walking road and cable car were closed. You can
see the steam coming from the vulcano. We decided to go to the museum.
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Mr Hoashi showed us
area, vulcano, museum,
the caldera and temple.
To give you a better
impression, I wrote a
blog, which is translated
smart communication in
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 24
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 25
From streetview to courtyard
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From courtyard to shrine
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Having a look inside the shrine
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Kumano brush museum
Our visit to Japan was about to end. On March 29 we visisted Mrs and Prof
Nakagoshi’s house and Mrs Nakagoshi took us to the Kumano brush museum.
Of course, being guests we had to try some kalligraphy. I designed my
childrens names; read it from right to left, from top down. It ends with my
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In the afternoon we visited an island close to Kure. It happened to be ebb tide
and we could walk to these ‘wild’ oysters. Some 100 meters further we
noticed several (cultivated) oyster breeds in the water, as we saw on other
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 30
Hiroshima - Seoel
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In Seoel we had a whole day to spend, waiting for the flight to Amsterdam.
We took the train from the airport and next to that a tourist travel hop-on-
and-off bus. Soon Rob found the spot next to the river where he was in
2005, visiting a conference in Seoel.
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Reconstruction Cheonggyecheon River
This river was changed
into a highway and
later into a river again.
Rob was very pleased
to see the changes in
the past years.
Citizens of Seoel are
using it as a meeting
point. I found a nice
short video on
Youtube: best restored
river in the world
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What did you do at 13.00 h
While walking next to the river, we saw this girl working
on her exhibition in an open space. Nice idea.
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Seoel, mix of old and new
Seoel is a very modern city, but mixed with
tradition. The bus passed the residence of the
Japan, March 2014 - Annet van Betuw 35
10 meters from the road
Close to the busy highspeed road, suddenly
there are people walking, shopping, selling on
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We enjoyed Japanese (and French, Italian and Indian) food. But
coming to the lounge for frequent KLM flyers as Rob is, we were
very happy with ‘spruitjes, Brussel sprouts!
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Leaving at 0.55 Seoel, arriving 04.45 Amsterdam
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