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Without their fluffy coat, snow monkeys do not look quite as attractive. This one had just lept out of the thermal pool

Without their fluffy coat, snow monkeys do not look quite as attractive. This one had just leapt out of the thermal pool

What a month it has been!!!!  Most of the month was spent in Japan travelling with World Photo Adventures. I left home in 40+C degrees heat to arrive in Japan to single figure temperatures. We had snow storms and clear bright days; freezing temperatures down to -13C with a wind chill making it feel like -24C and beautiful light falling through gentle snow. We saw ancient castles and pavilions coated in gold leaf; neon Tokyo and interesting alleyways centuries old; a photo shoot with a Maiko; Red Crested Cranes and Stellar Sea Eagles on Hokkaido, and Snow Monkeys. An overwhelming experience for one who has never been to Japan before.

I tried to do posts as we travelled but that was not always possible and now will spend the next month doing post processing and posting more images to the blog.

Japan was a cultural conundrum – we spent time in Tokyo a modern city with westernised hotels and time in the rural areas where the only hotels open were the traditional Onsen hotel. These hotels only had Japanese food, the traditional Onsen or public baths and futons for sleeping on the floor. Concessions for westerners were western style toilets, but not in every room as there were shared facilities down the hall. Very little English was spoken and we relied heavily on our Japanese guide. In other popular tourist areas signs were in Japanese, Chinese and English.

A wonderful month taking many photos and experiencing a very different culture. Would I go back? Oh, YES!

On the home front, nothing has changed. The house property is still on the market, my dog Flair still loves me and the grass is growing and needs mowing. I welcome any comments on this my challenge to change my life and do come back on the First Friday next month to see what has happened on this journey of mine.

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