by Peter Nelson

 The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. And a very lovely spot it is.
The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. And a very lovely spot it is.
A badly-framed photograph of a lovely little stream. I wanted to capture the workings of those bamboo tubes in the bottom of the photo. The water from the upper tube filled the lower tube. Eventually, when the second tube was full, the added weight made that tube drop and empty itself in a never-ending liquid cycle.
A badly-framed photograph of a lovely little stream. I wanted to capture the workings of those bamboo tubes in the bottom of the photo. The water from the upper tube filled the lower tube. Eventually, when the second tube was full, the added weight made that tube drop and empty itself in a never-ending liquid cycle.

How polite are the Japanese? I’m glad you asked. One time when we were hitching, we had people who were travelling in the OPPOSITE direction from us stop to pick us up. They turned around, took us into their car, and drove back a hundred miles in the way they’d just come!

How rude are the Japanese? I’m glad you asked. At 3:00 in the morning, I was sleeping on a bench in a small train station somewhere, and this guy shook my shoulder to wake me up. What did he want? He wanted to practise his English!

How thoughtful are the Japanese? Well, I’m glad you asked. They are very considerate of the foreign visitor who cannot speak their language. Many restaurants have plastic models of the meals they serve on display in their front windows. So you just lead your waiter outside, and point to that shiny plate of food, and soon it will be brought to your table, steaming hot. But you have to be careful — very careful. I once pointed at what looked to be a tasty dish, and the waiter brought me what was displayed behind it — a quart bottle of Sapporo Black Beer! Not wanting to embarrass him, I drank it.

 A group of turtles climbing for the sun.
A group of turtles climbing for the sun.
The gardens of Japan are much too beautiful to capture in a single photograph. Their beauty is like a painting by a master artist. Indeed, their gardeners ARE artists, but they use spades and clippers instead of oils and brushes.
The gardens of Japan are much too beautiful to capture in a single photograph. Their beauty is like a painting by a master artist. Indeed, their gardeners ARE artists, but they use spades and clippers instead of oils and brushes.
 A massive temple complex in Kyoto.
A massive temple complex in Kyoto.
The entrance to a Shinto temple.
The entrance to a Shinto temple.