MaryFurr's "Zaibatsu Tears" Tour Album

Being the diary entries by one fox puppet and her human :) MaryFurr's second visit to Asia takes her and her companion to the home of magical "kitsune" foxes, the fabled Land of the Rising Sun...


February - July 2000

[In front of the Imperial Palace]

The year 2000 had only just begun (and I can say I was very happy there were no Y2K problems!) when Terry was assigned to a project in Tokyo, Japan for several months. Naturally, I joined him on his journey, and soon we were seeing the sights together. Here I am in front of the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo, on what was a sunny (if cold!) February day.

[Terry and I at Fujiyama]

No trip to Japan would be complete without a journey to see Mt Fuji! (Or "Fuji-yama", or "Fuji-san", depending upon who you talked to.) Unfortunatly, when we got to the mountain in March it was shrouded in cloud so we didn't get a very good view, but it was still exciting because of all the snow on the ground! I hadn't seen snow since we got snowbound in Leeds in 1997!

[Riding high!]

After our visit to the mountain, our bus tour took us to an area near Fuji known as Hakone. Once there, we went on a gondola ride over a mountain, then went on a fake sailing ship across the lake! It was a very cold day, I can tell you - although I have to admit it was winter.

[Me and the Bullet Train!]

Finally, our tour left the bus, and we took a ride back to Tokyo on the famous "Shinkansen" super-express, or as it is better know as, the Bullet Train! It took forty minutes to travel between Odawara and Tokyo Central station, a journey that our bus would take over two hours to complete by road! The train ride was very good - smooth, quiet, and fast! Every country should have one...

[New friends at Gala-Yuzawa]

It was only a few weeks after my trip to Fuji-yama that Terry and I went on another Shinkansen ride - this time to the Gala-Yuzawa ski resort in the Japanese mountains. While I wasn't able to go on the slopes myself, as you can see I was able to make some new friends at the ski shop!

[Me and a fox harvest shrine]

Back in Tokyo again!

What I noticed about Tokyo was that there were quite a lot of shrines - Buddist and Shinto - scattered around the place. And they were in all different sizes too, from the big ones at Akasuksa to the small harvest shrines in little corners about the place. Here I am in front of a rice god shrine near Hamacho subway station.

[Me and some Japanese furries]

Terry and I were very fortunate to be able to meet up with some of the Japanese furry fans while in Tokyo. One day we did a trip to Ueno Zoo and the Science Museum, and after that we went to a coffee shop in Ueno. Here is "Kirin", me, Ken Singshow, "Kitsune Inokuma", and "Zuilang".

(And yes, coffee is expensive in Japan. So is virtually everything else...)

[At the Magic Kingdom]

Of course, we couldn't go to Tokyo without visiting Tokyo Disneyland! It was an interesting experience leaving behind Japanese culture to experience a more American culture in the Magic Kingdom - which to me is still rather alien! Of course, the other Disneylands in the US don't have everything in Japanese as well...

[Robin Hood!]

Ooooh! Look who we met! It's Robin Hood! Another fox!

And such a dashing fellow!

[Me, Terry, Robin and Tuck!]

And see! Robin was so happy at seeing another fox, he got his friend Friar Tuck to pose with us! I was so happy! (So was Terry!)

[Me and some shady types]

We did meet another fox in Disneyland, though he looks a bit shifty for some reason. It's people like that who give us foxes a bad name *heheee*

I am not sure what that cat is up to though!

[Meditating!]

After Terry and I moved from the hotel in Hakozaki to an apartment in Iidabashi, I was pleasantly surprised to find another fox-shrine nearby.

"Quiet please. Ancestor worship in progress..." 

[Oh no! Monsters!]

Another famous inhabitant of Tokyo we had to visit was "Godzilla-san", that famous contributor to Japanese urban renewal :) We found him near Yurakucho station in central Tokyo, not far from Ginza - but I think he must have taken offence to something I said.

No, no, NO Godzilla-san! Put me DOWN!

[Godzilla-san!]

Phew! I am glad we got that sorted out. Arigato gozaimasu, Godzilla-san!

(I am sure he looks bigger in the movies!)

[Ambassador Ferret visits!]

Imagine my surprise when  in June I got a note from Melbourne, it was my dear friend Ambassador Ferret! It seems that he was taking Terry's friend Bernard to the United States for a "state visit" via Japan, so naturally I suggested that he and Bernard join Terry and I for his stopover! This picture is of us getting re-acquainted at Terry's apartment in Iidabashi, Tokyo.

[A Big Buddah]

One of the side trips we did was to a place called Kamakura, which was an hour south of Tokyo. One of the main features of the place was the large number of Shinto and Bhuddist shrines, including this one which has a statue over fifty feet tall!

Here is Terry, some of his workmates, and me in front of the statue.

[Kamakura garden]

There were also many gardens in the various shrines in Kamakura. Very relaxing... good places to meditate (whatever that means!)

[Kamakura shrine]

This is me looking out over the town of Kamakura, from the "Golden Bhudda" shrine. Kamakura is a coastal town, with lots of character. Terry said it reminded him of Greymouth in New Zealand. 

[Me and Terry at Kamakura]

Here is Terry and I at Kamakura, with the town and the coast in the background.

Despite being an hour from Tokyo by train, we never saw any countryside at all on the entire trip...

[Kamakura garden]

I LOVE Japanese gardens. So clean, immaculate, and well kept. Very restful.

I was getting a bit "shrined out" after the day in Kamakura. It was a very warm day as well - I did not think Japan could get so hot! It reminded me of the Philippines!

[The nice people at the apartments!]

In the middle of July Terry's work was finished, so it was time to pack up and return to New Zealand. I had to say goodbye to the nice people at the apartments, they seemed to like having me to stay with them! (Oh, and Terry too *giggle*)

[Grumpy in Sydney]

Yes, I am looking rather grumpy here.

We had some problems getting home, with our original flight from Narita to Sydney being cancelled, and we were transfered to a Japan Air Lines flight via Brisbane that made us miss our connection to Wellington! It was a trip where nothing seemed to go right for poor Terry and me: the flight was delayed further, we got confusing information at both Naria and on the flight, plus JAL seats are not the most comforable I'm afraid!

[Sleepy in Sydney!]

All this delay makes one very tired... so here I am sleeping some of my weariness off outside at Sydney Airport.

We were very lucky to get the last flight back to Wellington that day, even though it did arrive home some time well after midnight! I was very glad to get home!


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Copyright 2000 Terry Knight.
Last Updated August 2000
For more information contact: Terry Knight