"Desire to Travel to Every Corner of the World!" tim_japan's Profile
Asia is one of my favorite regions of the world to explore. It's so different from what I'm used to in the "western world". It has enchanted and captured me to such a huge degree that I ended up living in Japan - twice. The first time was as a part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) in Okazaki Japan from July 2000 to July 2001. Okazaki is near the city of Nagoya in the middle of Honshu between Tokyo and Osaka. The second time I lived and worked at a small Junior High School, Nishikanazawa, in Yokohama Japan from April 2004 to July 2005. This is a shot of Fuji-san taken on a flight down to the island of Kyushu.
Living in Japan gave me the opportunity to do something I really love to do - teach! The Japanese school system runs from April to March starting off in Spring with the cherry blossom season. We had an International Club at our school that met about once a weak. Each month we would study the language, food, and culture of a different country. Here is a photo when a friend of mine from Thailand came to speak to the group as a "guest lecturer"...awww aren't those Japanese students cute!
One of my favorite places in Japan is Kamakura. It's a historic seaside town that was once a seat of power for the ruling elite. There are so many beautiful temples with wonderful gardens. For me this place has a spiritual dimension. The town is peaceful and makes a great place to hike, explore, and renew your spirit. I was lucky in that there was a hiking trail from the back of my school to Kamakura (Kamakura borders Yokohama) that took about an hour. Here is a photo of the Daibutsu or Big Buddha.
You feel as if you can see the curvature of planet when you are along the coast of South Africa; the sky and sea seem to curve downward. Actually South Africa reminded me of California; it has stunning natural coastline like Monterey or Big Sur, beautiful lush, green and verdant wine country like Napa, and a remarkable and historic port city like San Francisco. In South Africa I am referring to Hermanus, Heaven & Earth Valley (God I love that name), and Cape Town. The people were terrific there too - whether it was the kids of one of the many townships or the Brits who had settled there - people were very kind and open.
One of the most rewarding parts of this trip was my visit to "The Swop Shop" in the Zwelihle township. Suspicious eyes turned to warm smiles as soon as we smiled and waved at all the children that were out and about on the grounds of the township. We were there to spend the day volunteering at the Swop Shop. An organization that has been set up to teach the kids a variety of things: respect for the environment by getting them to collect recyclables; working for something is rewarding - they get points in return for their recyclables which they in turn can use to buy things such as shoes, toothpaste, clothes, notebooks and so on. Those goods are donated by people like you and me. Please check them out here. http://www.swop-shop.za.net/
Down a very rocky, long, and winding road (and I use those words as loosely as the gravel underneath our tires) lies a little town by the name of Nieu Bethesda. In Nieu Bethesda the stars shine so very bright and the sky is so clear. Lack of street lights and industry does wonders for the earth's natural beauty. The town is absolutely lovely, filled with lovely people who run their businesses and their lives for that matter on the honor system. Yes, trust in Nieu Bethesday is abundant. Here in the heart of the Karoo you will find a wonderful micro-brewery as well as the Owl House. The Owl House was owned by reclusive artist Helen Martin. Helen Martin ventured out into the world only to have her heart forever broken. For therapy she began cutting and grinding glass to make glass sculptures and art. The Owl House is really one big art therapy project.
This little Inca guy was quite entertaining but for the life of me I can't remember what his schtick was but he definitely had a schtick and was very good at it to boot. On top of the talent he was a genuine and warm young boy. This was on the bus that was taking us down from the peak of Machu Picchu to the small town below where we were staying. Our hotel was right by a beautiful river bed; there were lots of street artists and merchants lining the sidewalks; up a path of long steps that went past many shops and restaurants and the occasional mini shrine lay a mineral bath for soaking and relaxing.
What has to be one of the most magical places in the world - Machu Picchu takes your breath away at first sight. The spiritual and healing energy that inhabits the mountains and valleys of this sacred land can be felt in a visit to Machu Picchu; perched about 8000 feet in the heavens of the Andes Mountains, it will entrance you and restore you. Unfortunately, my travel companion Nancy tripped and sprained her ankle on a visit back the next day. Some women stopped and laid their healing hands upon Nancy; and there were the nicest people in the clinic where she stayed to mend.
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