Wednesday, November 27, 2013

 To those of you celebrating (American) Thanksgiving today: happy day and bon appetit!  Although we probably won't be consuming any turkey or cranberry sauce today, we are loving the fall colors of Japan and trying to maximize our last days here in Osaka.  Strolling through Shitennoji Park, we found some peace in the middle of a bustling city, and reflected on our deep gratitude for our ability to make this trip, and for our impending return to our loved ones in North America.

Below, Harold amuses a local ramen noodle vendor, creating a fun photo op in Osaka's American shopping district.  

Next, a gratuitous dog photo: me and Husky, one of my very favorite dogs at the abandoned animal shelter where we just spent two weeks volunteering in Tokushima.
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In a flashback to Lantau Island in Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago, you have here the world's largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha prior to 2007.  Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Looking up at the gargantuan statue while trudging up the multitude of steep, crowded steps is truly a humbling experience in this peaceful corner of Hong Kong.

One of many exquisitely-planned Japanese landscapes, featuring the impressively well-preserved 16th-century Osaka Castle, rising above the autumn leaves.  Osaka, Japan.
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Harold and some canine assistants build a new entryway at HEART Tokushima, a shelter for animals orphaned after the 2011 tsunami in northern Japan.  Our fun two-week stint at the shelter is coming to a close in just a few days, as we prepare to head back to the Osaka area to finish exploring before heading to South Korea.
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Can you spy us in this photo?  Hard to miss my orange jacket...  It will be prominently featured in upcoming photos, as it is getting chilly!  Here we are exploring some temples and a cemetery in Tokushima, Japan last weekend. 
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Sunday, November 17, 2013

This is a flashback to our stay on Pulau Weh, off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, in September.  I refused to leave the island until we had seen a clownfish, and this one revealed itself on our second snorkeling session.  He was quite disturbed by our hovering over himself, a baby clownfish, and their respective anemones, and ventured a great distance away from his refuge to bite Harold on the leg!  Apparently it did not hurt per se, but rather stung like a mosquito bite :)  Sorry to bother you, Nemo's dad! 
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Photo of the day

Last week's trip to Hong Kong seems long ago and far away, as I write from our apartment in rural Shikoku, Japan.  Visiting Hong Kong was a bit of an afterthought, as our travel agent had routed us through the territory's cheap airport as a way of transporting us to east Asia in an affordable manner, as we had requested :)  We ended up feeling quite fortunate to have caught a glimpse of life in one of the most densely populated areas on the planet, and were surprised to experience this incredible sunset on our first day navigating the city on foot.