Tsuruga

 

DSC01619rA quiet town with a very unusual historical link.

We took a ship’s cruise, because I was unable to find a ‘walker’ guide.

DSC01625rAnother temple – Kehi Jingu Shrine, or as the locals call it “Kei-san,” I took the above photo, but as usual you couldn’t get a clear shot for the tourists :- o)

kehijingu_mainThis shot is from the Tsuruga Tourists Association site.
It is said to have been built in 702 AD. The 11-meter-tall torii gate is known as one of Japan’s three greatest wooden torii gates.

DSC01626rAs we crossed the bridge to enter we came across a bride & groom.

DSC01627rcCouldn’t get a clear shot of her because the lady in blue kept getting in the way, perhaps she was the bride’s mother making sure all was well with the dress. She did look lovely, and everyone wanted a photograph of her.

DSC01636rPart of the temple.

DSC01637rThe prayer board was not far away.

DSC01638rIt appears that as well as selling prayer boards and good luck charms, she also fixed radios & told jokes, because her customer was laughing his head off.

DSC01640rOnce again after the faithful had purchased a fortune slip, and it wasn’t what they wanted,  they would tie the slip to the line and walked away, leaving their bad luck behind.

DSC01641rThese ladies seemed to be working for the temple on a tea stall, and they were quite happy to have their photograph taken with Maureen & I. Perhaps they were the Japanese version of Mother’s Union.

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Maureen & I escaped because we wanted to see how the locals lived and we had visited quite a number of temples over the years. The above shows the local high street, which had Saturday stalls on the pavement – they were just setting up for the day.

DSC01647rThese ladies were trying to encourage us to visit their tea shop – if we’d have had more time perhaps we would have sampled their tea, but our time was limited, because we didn’t want to miss the coach.

DSC01650rPort of Humanity Tsuruga Museum

This is a museum – one that I’d never heard of, but a must for any visitor to Tsuruga.
We were not allowed to take photographs inside, so I have used the internet for those who are interested.

p_e-1-1-2sChiune Sugihara was a most unusual diplomat.

He was born on January 1, 1900 in Yaotsu-cho, Kamo-gun, Gifu Prefecture. His father wanted his high-achieving son to become a doctor, but the young Chiune desired a field in which he could use foreign languages, and at the age of eighteen, entered Waseda University’s Faculty of Education, Department of English Literature. He later passed the stringent exams for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His choosing to learn the Russian language, as recommended by an examiner during an interview, would determine his destiny.

Humanity Museum – 763 Polish orphans rescued between 1920 and 1922.

On September 1, 1939, the German forces invaded Poland and two weeks later on the 17th, Soviet forces stormed in from the east. Poland was divided and occupied according to the secret clause in the Nonaggression Pact concluded by Germany and the Soviet Union.
The Polish Jews were stranded without means to obtain approval to flee the country.  Their only escape route was Japan via Siberia.
They escaped to Lithuania but, Russian troops invaded Lithuania, and stopped the refugees from leaving.
They were now facing deportation to Siberia, so they contacted the Japanese Consul, Chiune Sugihara, to obtain a Transit Visa. The Consul contacted Tokyo for permission to issue so many transit visas – he was denied permission.
Sugihara, in an act of defiance, ignored the orders, and commenced granting visas.

The refugees who obtained the visas were then at the mercy of extreme hardship. While traveling to Vladivostok on the Siberian Railway, Russian Secret Police boarded the train and confiscated the refugees’ jewelry and watches. Many youths were arrested without reason and led away to forced labour in Siberia. By the time they reached Vladivostok and the ship to Japan, most of them had lost almost all of their money and valuables. From Vladivostok they took ship to Tsuruga.

The Jewish Escape Route lasted until 22nd June 1941 when Germany attacked Russia and the Siberian railways was closed to the refugees.

Hundreds escaped thanks to Chiune Sugihara.
From Tsuruga the refugees would make their way to Kobe, and then to China, Australia, US, Canada & S. America.
Read the links for more detail.

Across the road from the museum we were shown a diorama of Tsuruga – every boy’s Christmas wish.

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DSC01660rThe trains never stopped, the lights dimmed to simulate night and the ships came alongside, with their navigation lights lit. The ships also sailed during ‘daylight’.

DSC01664rNote the ship at sea near what looks like a lighter coloured part of the sea – this is a viewing hole. From where I took the picture one could crawl underneath the ‘town’ and pop up to take photos of the town from the sea. The images on the top right hand side are, I think, reflections of a photograph of railway workers that was behind me when I took the picture. I didn’t know of this until I arrived home and transferred the images from the camera to the computer.

DSC01665rEven the buses and the general traffic moved around and stopped at lights.

All the men from our coach were clicking like mad and admiring the whole project, but our wives went to the souvenir shop after a couple of minutes looking at the display. Obviously the politically correct unisex concept was not in anyone’s mind, so please don’t report us to the PC police.

For some reason were taken to a ‘forest’ of pine trees . . . I’ve no idea why,

DSC01671rat the same time we were shown a beach –

DSC01668rNothing like an Aussie beach as the sand was very gritty.

DSC01670rcAs you can see it was not beach weather, even for an optimist like me in my shorts . . . the top for the day was 15 c (59F), not sitting out weather.

DSC01685rOf course we had to go round another market – not too bad, because they had plenty of samples, mainly fish and various seaweed etc.

DSC01687rThis stall holder was shaving seaweed in to very thin strip from a large piece of seaweed. It was interesting to watch his skill at getting slices that you could nearly see through.

DSC01691rThey had various restaurants & cafes. Some of the tour group had lunch others just made do with the samples.

DSC01684rI didn’t receive any free samples of crab at $81.50 for one crab . . .

DSC01693rVarious types of fish mixed with herbs and  . . . can’t remember, but it smelt ok.

DSC01695rThe smaller towns do make an effort to turn out for a ‘sail away’ & wave goodbye,

DSC01696rand the band with the Manga figures as well.

The one thing that sticks in my mind is that everywhere in Tsuruga was clean – we didn’t see any litter or graffiti. Tsuruga’s zebra crossings were different – once you had permission to cross, birds tweeted as you walked and stopped as soon as the light changed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diamonds of Japan

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Three guesses for our next destination. I was eighteen when I first visited Japan and have always wanted to take Maureen, so when a positioning cruise came up, at the right price, – I booked Diamond Princess. 

Diamond Princess1

We sailed in the Diamond Princess from Sydney to Singapore in 2016 so hopefully it’ll be like coming home. If you like days at sea, which we do, look for a positioning cruise because they are nearly all cheaper than a standard cruise, as long as you don’t mind flying home.TYO VoyageWe sail from Sydney to Darwin, Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia), Phu May (the port for large vessels visiting Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) in Vietnam, Nha Trang (Vietnam), Hong Kong, Osaka (Japan), Shimizu (the main port to see Mount Fuji in Japan) and Yokohama (also listed as Tokyo) The transit time from Sydney to Tokyo will be twenty two days.

Once in Yokohama many of the passengers will leave the ship and be replaced by a large number of local Japanese for a coastal cruise, which will also call at Busan in S. Korea.

When I made the booking I offered to the cruise company that we would do a back to back i.e buying a further cruise, as long as we didn’t have to move cabins.  They agreed, so we have extended our time onboard by a further seven days for the coastal cruise.

JapanWe sail from Yokohama to Busan (S.Korea), Sakaiminato (Japan), Tsuruga, Akita and finally Yokohama where we leave the ship and fly home.

I’ve not been to S. Korea, nor the western side of Japan, so this trip will be new for both of us.

The passengers will be predominantly Japanese, so it should be an interesting trip. I’ve been dragging the old grey matter in an effort to remember a few polite Japanese greetings. When I was at sea, the company for which I worked, traded between the Persian Gulf, Japan & China so I made a point of learning some Japanese and Cantonese. The Cantonese didn’t help much on the China coast, because they didn’t speak Cantonese outside of Hong Kong!

We are hoping that we will be able to repeat the pleasant time that we had in 2016, when sailing from Sydney to Singapore. I doubt that the same piano player, Paul Burton  will be still around, he was very popular.

We sailed from Sydney in 2016 on the 23rd March, and this year (2018), we sail on the same ship on the 22nd March.

This will be our second Easter at sea, and on the same ship – 2016 Good Friday was 25th March, which was in Melbourne, and this year it is 30th March, when we will be at sea.

Easter Sunday 2016, was in Adelaide, and this year we will still be at sea. It’ll be interesting to see if Easter at sea is acknowledged as a Christian celebration, or just a choco-holiday.

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The picture shows 2016 Easter on the Diamond Princess, but as the ship was in port, passengers had the choice of churches in Melbourne & Adelaide.