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Mice Net : December 2008
japan a journey to japan M story By Johanna Mc Kinnon I thInk I’m turnIng Japanese…. I really think so! uttering phrases like onegaishimasu (please) and arigatougozaimasu (thank you) to friends and colleagues upon my return to Sydney was unexpected and made clear what an impression Japan had left on me. But let me start from the beginning… waiting at Sydney International Airport ready to board my flight, I already felt like I had landed in Japan, surrounded with happy Japanese tourists making their journey home. I marvelled at the interesting fashion and gadgets they were showing off, and I couldn’t wait to get a closer look at their intriguing homeland. We landed at the Kansai International Airport in the late evening after a slight delay from Sydney. Our plane sat on the tarmac in Sydney for over an hour while engineers were madly trying to find the cause of water leaking from the cargo hold. I had my fingers crossed that my little red suitcase wasn’t soaked like a chamois after a car-wash. Luckily it seemed to all be a misunderstanding and we were on our way to the land of cherry blossoms! Before I knew it I was tucked up in bed at the Crowne Plaza Kobe, ready for the first day of exploration to begin. The Crowne Plaza Kobe is nestled in the side of Mount Rokko overlooking the sea-port city and having breakfast from the executive lounge and enjoying this view was a treat. The team from the Kobe Convention Bureau met our intimate group in one of the hotel’s meeting rooms where they presented a snapshot of the region. Now that we had our bearings, it was time to get outside and start exploring. Himeji Castle was the first stop, and this magnificent old structure gave us the dose of Japanese culture that we were after. Our Himeji Castle guides took us for a speedy tour, all the while pointing out the various Indiana Jones-style traps and secret passages. The structure itself is perched high and once inside the castle the narrow stairs awaited us. After seven levels of crouching and climbing up the staircases, it was all worth it to see the picturesque view of the region. With rumbling tummies we were off to Sakabayashi Sake Brewery for lunch, where we 110 mice.net