Monday, January 17, 2011

09. My Visit to Japan and China - May 13, 1992 to May 28, 1992 (16 days)

Japan and China - Travel is a very good survival mechanism to keep your spirits up, avoiding the negative, and keeping up the positive.

Trip to Japan and China from May 13, 1992 to May 28, 1992 (16 days).  Escorted tour conducted by TBI Tours 

May 13, 1992. Leaving Orlando via US Air Arrived at Philadelphia.
                        Leaving Philadelphia and Arrived at New Yok JFK.
                        Leaving New York JFK Airport via Japan Airlines.
                        Crossed the International Date Line and arrived at Narita Airport, Tokyo.

May 14, 1992 - Greeted by the Tour Manager at the Airport and transferred to Shiba Park Hotel, Tokyo (3 nights).

JAPAN: Japan is an island country in the North Pacific Ocean. It lies off the northeast coast of mainland Asia and faces the Soviet Union, Korea and China. Four large islands and thousands of smaller ones make up Japan. The four major islands -- Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shokoku -- form a curve that extends for about 1200 miles (1900 Kilometers). About 123 million people are crowded in these islands making Japan one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The Japanese call their country Nipon or Nihon which means source of the Sun. The name Japan may have come from Zipangu, the Italian name given to the country by Marco Polo. Mountains and hills cover most of Japan, making it a country of great beauty. Japan's big cities are busy, modern centers of culture, commerce and industry. The Japanese manufacture a wide variety of products including automobiles, computers, iron and steel, plastics, radios and television sets. Life in Japan reflects the culture of both the East and the West. At various times in Japan's history emperors held great power. However the 1947 Constitution states "the Emperor shall be the symbol of the State". The Emperor's duties are therefore entirely ceremonial. He inherits the throne.

TOKYO: Capital of Japan and one of the World's largest cities. Tokyo is located in East-Central Honshu, at the head of Tokyo Bay- founded on 12th Century Village of Edo. Its Sea-port is Yokohama.

May 15, 1992. Morning sight seeing tour. Visited the Imperial Palace Plaza,Meiji-Jingu (Meiji Shrine), Asakusa Kannon Temple, Nakamise shopping arcade and returned to the Hotel. Next at leisure. During the night I strolled around the downtown area.

May 16, 1992: Toured to Toshogu Shrine in Nikko in the morning. In the afternoon my relatives Mr. Sasi and his wife Mrs. Uma came to the hotel and took me to their home in Yokohama. We traveled in the Metro train, the fastest train in the World, to Yokohama. It was an exhilarating experience which I thoroughly enjoyed. On the way I sampled a Japanese dish known as Sushi. Although this fare consisting of raw fish or snake rapped in rice may not sound appealing, in actuality however, it is very pleasing to the Palate. After finishing the meal in their house, Kannan and Vivek, their sons, took me back to the Shiba Park Hotel.

May 17, 1992: Departed from Tokyo to Nanyuan Airport, Beijing, China.

CHINA: Official name is People's Republic of China. The World's most populous and third largest country in East Asia. Three great rivers, the Huang, the Chang Jiang and the Xi-Jiang. A form of writing was in use in China from 1525 B.C.  After World War II, a civilian war (1946 - 1949) established the People's Republic of China under chairman Mao Ze-dong. Mao launched the Cultural Revolution (1966). China made great strides in modernization and social and economic development. In 1971 China was admitted to the United Nations. It is one of the five members who possess veto powers in the Security Council in the United Nations Organization. There are over 20 cities in China with more than a million inhabitants each.

BEIJING (Peking): Capital and second largest city in China. It is a major cultural, commercial, communications and industrial center.  Founded by the Zhou as a frontier town on the North China Plain. In it is preserved the Inner or Tatar City containing the Imperial or Forbidden City.

On arrival at the Airport, greeted and transferred to Beijing Toronto Hotel, Beijing. Rest of the day was free. Went around the hotel to view the city and night stroll along the city streets.

May 18, 1992: Sight seeing. Visited the Forbidden City, not inside though, Tienanmen Square and the Summer Palace.
KPPillai with Sri RVenkataraman, President of India Xian City, China, May 22nd 1992

May 19, 1992: Excursion to the Great Wall, the only man made object visible from the Moon.

Great Wall of China: A fortification cosisting wall, watch towers and guard stations extending 2400 Kilometers (1500 miles) in a winding course across northern China from Gansu Province to Hebei Province. For most of its length it runs along the Southern border of the Mangolian Plain. It was built originally to keep out Nomadic invaders from the North and the continuous wall was built in the Third Century B.C. The average height of the wall is 7.5 meters (25 feet) and the average thickness at the base is 7 meters (23 feet) although at most points it tapers to a 3.5 meters (11 feet at the top).

I walked form the base to one of the watch-towers on the top. It tool 2 hours to me to reach the top on this winding course. Looking down from the tower was thrilling and exciting. On the way back to the photo center in the Great Wall, the camera man decorated me with the Chinese Monarch's royal regalia, the Crown, the Scepter, the tiaras and finery as the Chinese Monarch and made me sit on the throne and took a picture of me for $10/- I will always treasure this photograph.

In the evening visited another relic of ancient China, the Ming Tombs and returned to the Hotel.

May 20, 1992: Flew from Beijing to the ancient capital city of Xian. Arrived and transferred to the Xian Garden Hotel.

Xian: Formerly Chang-an. Capital of Shaanxi Province - North Western China, situated in the valley of the Weitto, it was the capital of the Qin Dynasty (225 - 206 BC) and at times of the Han and Tang dynasties.

May 21, 1992: Today's highlight was the visit to the tomb of China's First Emperor, guarded by thousands of Terra Cotta warriors, still under excavation, the tomb is an amazing sight (Terra Cotta: a hard brownish red to yellow waterproof material composes of Clay, fine sand and sometimes pulverized pottery waste usually unglazed, used in pottery and building construction).

A LUCKY DAY: After visiting this extra-ordinary tomb, we visited a Buddhist Temple in the City. A memorable and unforgettable incident happened to me. When we were returing from the Temple, there was an announcement through the  loud speaker, that the traffic was closed for 2 hours, as the President of India, Sri R. Venkataraman is visiting the temple. This announcement excited mem what luck to have an opportunity to see my President in the foreign land. When Sri Venkataraman, the President of India was passing to the temple with his wife, First Lady Smt. Janaki Venkataraman, I took many pictures of them. I wanted to go near them to have perfect angle for the picture, but the security men would not let me in. I was waiting at the entrance of the gate for another opportunity to take a picture. As the Presidential Party was returning, I greeted the President with a loud voice saying "VANAKKAM"  in Tamil meaning "Good Morning". When he heard the Tamil greetings, he at once saw me and made a signal to go over to him.  Seeing his signal now the security men rushed and took me to him. He blessed me and tapped on my shoulder and introduced me to the Chinese Minister and Buddhist Monks who accompanied him.  I shook hands with all of them. I greeted Mrs. Janaki with the same word Vanakkam. She was also so much pleased and inquired about my native place and other things. When I said, "My Native Place is Trichy" she at once exclaimed, "O, you are my neighbor" as she is from Tanjore, adjacent to Trichy. Then I went along the Presidential group for an hour. This was perhaps the most auspicious day in my many years. The camera and video men took so many pictures of me along with the President and Mrs. President. Don't you think this day an auspicious one for me?
KPPillai with Sri RVenkataraman, President of India Xian City, China, May 22nd 1992
Another Lucky Chance: After returning to America I wrote a letter to him thanking and requesting him to send a picture of him along with me. The President himself spared some time among his multi-farious activities and took so much pain to find a nice picture of mine along with him, since others did not know me. So he by himself selected a nice one. His Press Secretary mailed the picture by Certified Mail to me. I enlarged the picture and made each copy of my four sons' houses. Thanks to Mr and Mrs President.

May 22, 1992: Flew from Beijing to Shanghai.

Arrived and transferred to the Yangtse New World Hotel, Shangai.

SHANGAI: Largest City in China, lying within, but independent of the eastern province of Jaingu, on the Hunangpu River at its confluence with the Chang Jiang Estuary. One of the World's leading seaport, it is also the most important industrial, educational and cultural center of China.

May 23, 1992: Full day of sight seeing in the busy city. Visited the Bund Shanghai's famous Riverfront promenade lined with European-style buildings. Strolled through Yu Gardens and the Old Town. Enjoyed a performance of the World famous Shanghai acrobats night show in a theatre.

May 24, 1992: Flew from Shanghai to Hong Kong. Transferred to the Omni Marco Polo Hotel, Hong Kong

HONG KONG: British Crown Colony in Southern China, consisting of Hong Kong islands at the mouth of the Zhujiang River (Pearl River) and about 230 islets in South China Sea,  Jiulong (Kowloon Peninsula) and the New Territories on the Chinese Mainland. The island was leased to Great Britain for 99 years in 1898. Hong Kong is a free port and major commercial, banking and manufacturing center. Capital is Victoria also called Hong Kong.

May 26, 1992: Explored Hong Kong in a motor coach. The giude explained the history of Hong Kong while we were passing through the city. Visited Aberdeen Fishing Village.

Aberdeen, the floating city where generations of families continue to spend their entire lives aboard colorful junks and sampans.

Visited Stanley Market: The bustling market place a popular center for clothes, rattan furniture and souvenirs. Visited Repulsed Bay. Visited Victoria Park -- Top off the sights at the Victoria Park offered a panoramic view of the magnificent Hong Kong and returned to the Hotel.

May 27, 1992: Flew back to America via Japan Airlines. Crossed the International Date Line again and arrived home safely.

No comments:

Post a Comment