Friday, September 11, 2009

The last month

Hi all. Sorry for the lack of posts recently! I went on 3 weeks leave to Japan, and havent been flying a whole lot the few weeks before and after as i have also been sick. So in lieu of a flying story i thought i would post some pictures from my Japan trip as it was definately more interesting than most of the recent flying i have done! In other news on the flying front, i start on the beechcraft baron next week, so fingers crossed my checkride goes well (as i started writing this a while ago - i have done my checkride, which included assymetrics and instrument approaches in IMC - which im happy to report went very well!). I wont be flying it all too much, but it will give me some refreshing new stories and pictures to write about for the purpose of the blog.

This picture is self explanitory haha. You can see the route the pilots took to Singapore from Sydney. This was due to massive headwinds over central Australia. The normal routing (haha i hear them all the time on Melbourne Centre is Alpha Siera (Alice Springs) then either waypoint Timmi and Schee, which is the boundary to Brisbane centre.) Hope that made sense.

So i went to Japan, with a few days in Singapore. Was a great trip and thoroughly enjoyed being away for a bit. Japan is an amazing country and i would recommend it to anyone thinking of travelling to Asia. It was also good to spend some time with the old man ie - dad, as i dont think i had travelled or hung out with him basically since i had to move away fro flying. So it was great to catch up and just enjoy his company as opposed to his voice on the phone!

So we started in Tokyo Narita airport and from there we took the airport express into Tokyo city. This takes about an hour. We stayed in Tokyo a total of 5 nights, 3 in the beginning and 2 nights at the end before i flew home to Sydney. Covered a lot of ground in Tokyo and ate some amazing food. Some of this amazing food im pretty sure i dont want to know what it was, because the hindsight thought might not be as pleasant as the experience was when eating it.

This is a photo of the fish markets at around 5am on a fine and hot Tokyo Friday morning. Was great to see all the different seafood and the tuna auctions take place. Was definately a highlight of the trip as its something i have always wanted to see.

From Tokyo we headed south-west towards the 4th largest city in Japan, Nagoya. Nagoya was a great place, reminded me a lot of Sydney to be honest (found out later they were sister cities!). But it was a big city without the crazy amounts of people that Tokyo has. In Nagoya we visited the Toyota car factory, saw the castles and took a big walk around the pottery area in Tokoname.

They have some trains where you can view the trip from the drivers perspective. Was very cool! This was on the trip to the Toyota factory.

This is the main CBD area of Nagoya as viewed from the Hotel.

From Nagoya we continued to Kyoto and saw some amazing temples. I really enjoyed Kyoto, as i had read Memoirs of a Geisha and wanted to check out some of the places mentioned. However, once i arrived i couldnt remember a single place apart from Gion. So we visited Gion and enjoyed the ambience of the city. We were staying in a hotel opposite Nijo Castle, so of course i checked it out. The castle's floorboards are constructed in a way that they make a noise if you walk on them, no matter how quiet you walk. It is meant to resemble birds, and was made like that in ancient times so no one could be sneaking around. Was pretty amazing, the softer you walked the more sound it made.

This is the view from one of the temples which gave a good overview of the city of Kyoto.

From Kyoto we took the Shinkansen down to Osaka (a whole 15 minute journey). Osaka was just like Tokyo, and i cant say i didnt enjoy it, but it was so crowded. A few of my Japanese friends told me that Osaka is like Tokyo only less busy and compared it to say Sydney vs Melbourne. But i disagreed. I thought Osaka was so busy and had so many people all the time that it became a little overwhelming at times. But anyway, Osaka had a cool aquarium which we visisted purely to see whale sharks. Amazing creatures, big fish! We also did a day trip out to Nara, which was about an hour on the train, and saw some temples and the big deer park where deer just roam around. Definately worth the visit.

These are two pictures from Nara. The temple was an amazing structure, and housed a giant Buddha statue. And also one of the many deers roaming around. Living by the philosophy that you kick someone when they are down rather than help them (this is a joke we all say in Alice when we drink - im not that much of a jerk!!) i found it rather humerous watching other tourists feeding the deer and creating monsters out of them.

Here are two pictures from the Osaka aquarium. One is of a jellyfish and the other of one of the whale sharks. Im not one for that sort of thing when i visit the city, but im very happy i did!

From Osaka we also did a day trip to the North Island of Sapporo. We flew ANA and departed from Kansai airport. We arrived in Sapporo to a full ILS, which from my pilot perspective was kinda cool, love being in the soup. But it was a miserable cold and raining day, so we didnt do a whole lot.

In the soup either departing or approaching Sapporo. Was well cool!!

After Osaka we headed further south to Hiroshima. We visited the atom bomb musuem and saw the memorial there. That museum was quite moving and the effects that bomb had were so devastating. It was incredibly hot in Hiroshima and there was a Typhoon of the coast which im sure didnt help. I enjoyed Hiroshima a lot, but there wasnt a whole lot to do, the one night was more than adequate.

From Hiroshima we went back to Tokyo which took 4.4 hours in the Shinkansen. The journey was 894km long, which meant the average speed was 203km/h. But that doesnt include all the stops it made (roughly 8) so it definately is high speed and very efficient.

Tokyo Tower as viewed from the rooftop of a building in Roppongi.

Well apart from that i do not have a whole lot more to report! I am going to a new place tomorrow so i will take some photos of that and report on it later.