Visiting Japan

Last October I was very lucky to have a holiday in Japan.  It was somewhere I had wanted to go for many years and I decided not to put it off any longer.  I had always thought I would go there for cherry blossom time in the Spring but, after I read an article about how beautiful the Autumn colours are in Japan, I changed my mind.  In the light of recent events it was a very fortunate decision.
The trip far exceeded my expectations.  The gardens and temples in Kyoto were awe inspiring.  I had never heard of the island of Miyajima, just off of the coast of Hiroshima.  It was so beautiful, the mountains, the forests, the wild deer in the streets and the floating Torii gate.  I also went to Iga Ueno and did some ninja training, really, I have the certificate!
I was surprised how easy it was to use public transport and navigate around the cities and the countryside.  Japanese people in restaurants, shops and on the streets were generally helpful, polite and charming.
It has been shocking to watch the news reports of the earthquake and tsunami.  Although the areas I visited were not affected, the scenery and houses look very familiar.  I can’t even imagine how you start to clear up and recover from that sort of devastation but I think everyone has been impressed by the calmness and dignity of the Japanese people.
 I hope to go back Japan sometime and visit some new places but in the meantime my thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected.