Sunday, February 17, 2008

Yoykosuko - Day 1 is Sunday, my first full day in Japan - I arrived last night and, after a ten hour flight (SEATAC to Narita airport), and subsequent two hour bus ride to Yokosuko, I am feeling no jet lag and should be ready to conduct business on Tuesday (Monday is a holiday - yea).

I am staying at the Hotel New Yokosuka, a nice hotel near the Navy base; seemingly close to the center of some metropolitan activity.

So what is my hotel room like? Think of a single room, where the one and only room is 9 feet wide by 9 feet long, and most of that real estate is taken by a bed, small desk, and small refridgerator.

I think you get the picture. The silver lining is that it is difficult to lose any of my possessions, they all conveniently surround me.

The town is bustling with activity. On a short walk I approached two different temples/ shrines, observed colorfully robed priests marching while beating drums, passed by two train stations, and visited a seven story high shopping plaza where, as you might imagine, the supermarket seafood section was stocked with just about anything that can be found above or below the surface of the ocean.

My first two dining experiences included dinner at a sushi house and at a fried rice shack. In the sushi restaurant, while seated at a booth, plates of sushi rolled by on a conveyor belt and you snatch what you desire before it is out-of-reach.

In the fried rice quick-stop, the rice combination dish is paid for at a vending machine, cooked by a chef, then delivered with a paper placemat. You see... the plate is steel, oven hot, and is frying your otherwise uncooked food as it is served. You actually cook the food yourself by stirring it around on the scalding hot plate, simultaneously lifting the placemat up to shield your face from the sizzling hot oil.

I am finding dining in Japan combines an ounce of pragmatism with a pound of risk.

There are temples secreted high up on hills above shopping centers; integrated small, tranquil spaces complete with statuary, traditional Japanese pagodas, and small gardens. Here are some of my temple pictures:

See the Youtube video below - the video depicts first impressions of mine while walking around Yokosuko . The audio isn't so great but I am working to improve it.


  1. Keep them coming Paul. Even though it's for work, I still find it so cool to be in Japan.

    R/ Mike

  2. Paul,

    Got to thinking that you must be posting pictures. Sure enough. Used one of the links to the Mountain pictures; sent it home and I am glad I did. They are nice pictures. Don't have time for all tonite; but there is tomorrow. Glad your trip is going well.

    Jim P.

  3. Great pics Paul. I'm so envious of your koto experiences as I also studied under kodamasan and will never forget it! Please send along a little message for me to Kodamasan that Lisa Thomas greatly misses her kind heart and beautiful koto music. My times with her were the best! Here's my email if she would like to get in touch with me:

  4. @Lisa Hello Lisa! I just noticed your comment after all of this time so am only now replying. I have been keeping in touch with Hiroko san often and will let her know you said hi.

    It seems my blog's comment settings didn't provide me with comment notification back in 2008.

    Anyway, thanks for the comment.
    Paul Williams

  5. @Mike
    Hi Mike. It has been over a year now since I returned from Japan. I remain very involved in Japanese culture, especailly music and now poetry. Check out the page link to my poetry blog if you have such interests.