Friday, September 14, 2007
Yokohama, Japan

Konichiwa! (Hello!) Our arrival in Japan was in a misty drizzle. The Japanese customs officers took 5+ hours to go through all of our passports and clear the ship. While that was happening, a cutural group came aboard and performed beautiful dances and music, including the famous Lion Dance. I went into Yokohama and took the train to Tokyo Bay and the monorail to Miraikan to the Museum of Emerging Science where the first Japanese shuttle Astronaut, Dr. Mohri is the director. I had been e-mailing him and our late ship arrival prevented our meeting but he left me a free pass. Then I took the subway to Senjoji Shrine past the Ginza district. The next day I took a group bus tour to Mt Fuji and Hakone National Park. It was nice to see country after experienceing a city of 12 million people. Japan has half of the population of the USA in 14% of the land size (about California-size). The mountian, a stratovolcano, was clear for us and beautiful. We went on a cable-way and a boat in the park, which is not quite as you might imagine as there are towns and businesses in the park. I had Japanese noodles and did well with chopsticks. The Yokohama welcome committee took our free photos on polaroid and printed our name in characters for us for free. Today we steam to Kobe with only about 200 on board of the 1000...many are going overland. So many of us went in the pool aft with most of the students gone. It is muggy and partly cloudy, about 85 degrees. Tomorrow, Hiroshima.

Posted by Nancy @ 12:28 AM pst

Sunday, September 9, 2007
There Be Whales Here!

After office hours every day, I go forward on the outside 7th deck with my triangle chair, binoculars, field guides and this time, my video camera. Many come by to chat and look and ask questions. One Life Long Learner told me that she has never seen a whale, despite being on an entire previous SAS voyage. We talked whales and within 5 minutes, I saw a spout and pointed it out to her. She was ecstatic, as you can imagine. It sure made me look good! We watched it for some time and I took some video. It was a bush-shaped blow that went to the left which made me think sperm whale. While I can't say for sure the species ID, it was a whale, none the less. The night before I gave my Power Point presentation called Park Ranger with photos and video clips and it was well received. The day after tomorrow we will be in Japan. I understand there is no internet in Kobe, as the ship uses a satellite and that is one of it's 'shadow' areas. Another is Istanbul. Toodles...Doc Nancy.

Posted by Nancy @ 03:56 PM pst