Okay, so I said I wasn't going to post any more holiday snaps! But I thought I'd tell you a few things about what we observed while in Japan.
You don't go to Japan for the architecture (I guess the war is a lot to blame for that, unfortunately). But the temples and shrines are beautiful.
You don't go to Japan without a phrase book. Jenglish abounds as this sign attests. Apparently the reason is two-fold, so says my friend's Japanese fiancee whom we met in Tokyo. The Japanese language doesn't have letters and sounds like 't' and 'r' and 'l' which makes it hard for them to pronounce many English words and because they, in general, perfectionists (their food presentations are examples of that), they don't like to do anything unless they can do it well. But the Japanese people are so super friendly, polite and respectful and go out of their way to help, that the language barriers do not matter. However, they do appreciate it enormously when you try and speak their language, so giving it a go is a must. They also apologise profusely even when they are not in the wrong!
Be open to new and different cultural experiences: like eating a meal with the owner's dog at the table next to you; eating types of raw fish and sea creatures you've never seen before (dead or alive); and taking part in a the Japanese onsen (hot spring) ritual which, if you can get past the fact you must be naked and communal (but sex segregated) you will wish you had them in your home town.
And if you go in winter, you must check out the snow - there is tons of the stuff - and, of course, build the obligatory snowman (but try not to make him look evil likes ours ended up looking!).
P.S. I have just been down to the house and guess what? Forgot the camera! Can I blame it on jetlag??
Anyway, there isn't a lot to see - just steel framework - which probably wouldn't have photographed so well. Feeling excited about the progress, though.