My Asia Trip – part two

Forgive me for jumping around a little, but after 10 days of seeing so much, even I CANNOT keep straight what happened when! We had a drover who schlepped us around at our whimsy (you are not allowed to rent cards in China, and if you ever go you’ll see why–it’s not a place i’d want to try and drive) This particular day Kristen and suggested a park to go to, but neither Nancy nor myself could recall WHAT park it was. So we sat in the car, eating up our cell phone data, doing searches for ‘some sort of park or gardens’ I was connived i’d seen the place on a postcard previously in a shop. Nancy gets out and runs back to try and find the card to get the name!

She comes back with Yu Gardens. Turns out that was NOT where Kristen had suggested, but it was really neat nevertheless. All the photos on the aforementioned cards made it look serene and peaceful. Instead, imagine Times Square around a holiday—then add what felt like 2,000 people.

Oh–-and you can add a KFC too….



This is a simple iPhone panorama, actually!

robertnorman_1630 robertnorman_1631




It was as crowded as all hell ( although you would’t know it thanks to some selective framing and cropping), yet despite the immense, pushy crowd, I was absolutely fascinated by the architecture. We’re talking about 437 years old here!!!

A little info from the internet:

Yuyuan Garden is a famous classical garden located in Anren Jie, Shanghai. It was finished in 1577 by a government officer of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) named Pan Yunduan. Yu in Chinese means pleasing and satisfying, and this garden was specially built for Pan’s parents as a place for them to enjoy a tranquil and happy time in their old age.

In the 400 years of existence, Yuyuan Garden had undergone many changes. During the late Ming Dynasty, it became very dilapidated with the decline of Pan’s family. In 1760, some rich merchants bought it and spent more than 20 years reconstructing the buildings. During the Opium War of the 19th century, it was severely damaged. The garden you see today is the result of a five year restoration project which began in 1956. It was open to the public in September, 1961.


What you’re NOT seeing here are about 300 people pushing and shoving behind me as I take this photo.

robertnorman_1634 robertnorman_1635 robertnorman_1636

Just LOOK at that structure!!!

robertnorman_1637 robertnorman_1638 robertnorman_1639

We decided today to actually get into the garden part–mostly because it got us away from the crowds outside who were NOT paying!!

robertnorman_1640 robertnorman_1641

There wer a ton of little, cool details if you kept your eyes open!

robertnorman_1642 robertnorman_1643

This one if=s one of my favorites. I waited about 5 minutes to get a single, clear image without any people! There were all photographed with my Fuji x100, btw (goofy phototalk–sorry)

robertnorman_1644 robertnorman_1645 robertnorman_1646 robertnorman_1647 robertnorman_1648

“Excuse me–can you people move and get out of my shot? Thanks….”

robertnorman_1649 robertnorman_1650 robertnorman_1651


SO now we make a quick time-jump to Tokyo, which is about  2.5 hour flight from Beijhing. It’s funny–it all looks so CLOSE on the world map.

Not so much.

Water, soda juice and BEER vending machines!


sour lemon-head


This art installation was outside a REALLY terrific restaurant we went to , the Temple Restaurant Bar-check out the MENU–no seriously—


This was the Asahi factory tour building. Im still uncertain with that yellow thing is supposed to represent. Sadly we got there right during the time they were closed during the afternoon


In Tokyo however, there was a Kirin street bar, with ‘frozen’ beer. Really a rather odd concept, as they pour your beer, scoop off any ‘real’ foam and replace it with frozen foam from the equivalent of a slurpee machine.



The view from my room at the Park Hyatt, Tokyo (where ‘Lost In Translation‘ was filmed, as it turns out)

robertnorman_1657 robertnorman_1658 robertnorman_1659 robertnorman_1660

AHHH–thanks goodness for our amazing American exports.

And don’t forget ‘2014 Dreamy Christmas”


These are some random shots I took while in a taxi one night. Perhaps I was feeling creative. Or maybe it was the Sake.

robertnorman_1662 robertnorman_1663 robertnorman_1664 robertnorman_1665

Night view from Park Hyatt



There’s a lot of general weirdness to see in Japan if you really keep your eyeballs open. I’ll let you be the judge.


We were joking that this sign said: “Please keep your alien by the hand at all times”



I simply have no idea……

robertnorman_1670 robertnorman_1671

AGAIN--with the wires...what’s wrong with me??!!

robertnorman_1672 robertnorman_1673 robertnorman_1674

I also found the way sign were piled up and clustered really visually interesting.


AND YES–FOR NO GOOD REASON, a roller coaster atop a building right tin the city for no good reason.


These temples and gardens were tucked away right in the heart of the city.

robertnorman_1677 robertnorman_1678


The one really touristy thing I wanted to do ( other than go to Tokyo Disney on which I was outvoted and never let them forget my disappointment) was to go up this huge viewing tower called the Tokyo Sky Tree. Its the worlds tallest ‘tower’ ( not to be confused with the tallest BUILDING, I came to find out)

Here are a coupe of the view from way the hell up there!


Tokyo is DAMN big and spread out!


From inside the tower.

robertnorman_1681 robertnorman_1682

To ad to my Disney Agony, I could SEE the park VERY far away from the tower. Just keep jabbing that knife in further…..

For additional horror, there is a glass floor section.


In the Fish market – there sat a tuna head staring at me.


Lotsa brightly colored video stuff, which i’m certain was all 100% legal.



OH MY GOD–The Hotel Okura was a mid-century dream! We went there for an amazing sushi dinner ( one of the best ever) but I was almost MORE enamored by this incredible time capsule lobby!

robertnorman_1686 robertnorman_1687

Unrelated to the hotel–incense at a temple with curious markings.

various Tokyo images

A few more oddball nighttime Tokyo images for you. Next time we’ll cover a street market (with really creepy food), The Great Wall and The Forbidden City!


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.