Thursday, December 28, 2006

My new website is online!

I've been working really hard for the last 3 weeks designing and building a new website and I finally have it ready! It has many photos and, in particular, I have new photos from my Japan/Thailand trip. Please take a look:

Comments welcome!

I recently returned from an excellent 2-month trip! I spent 2 weeks visiting with lots of friends in Tokyo, then flew to Bangkok for a month of travel. I didn't have any itinerary or reservations anywhere so I just played it by ear. I went to Bangkok, Ayuthaya, Kanchanaburi, Erawan National Park, Chiang-Mai, Tha Ton near the Myanmar (Burma) border, plus went on a 3-day trek staying at different villages each night and also did some whitewater rafting. The trek was a lot of fun! I was fortunate to get in with a really great bunch of people from various countries (France, Netherlands, England, Germany, Thailand) and that is always so important!

After Thailand I went back to Tokyo for 2 more weeks. I was able to meet more of my friends and we would usually get together and go to an izakaya (Japanese pub) in the evening for lots of good talk, beer, sake, and shochu (Japanese vodka). :-) I also had a chance to go to an onsen (Japanese hot springs public bath) several times. I have been to onsen many times over the years and I like them. They are really a Japanese obsession! I was fortunate that Japanese friends invited me to join them to go.

I was fortunate to meet some really cool people in Thailand. Thanks to all of you for making my travels better!

Carlijn (Netherlands)
Bas (Netherlands)
Sylvain (France)
Christina (France, Spain)
Tim (England)
Olly (England)
Pete (England)
Heino (Germany) & Phun (Thailand)
Good & Woot (Thailand)
Allen (U.S.A.)
Elena & Michelle (Italy)
Patricia (Singapore)
Brent & Dennis (Canada)
Brunella (Italy)
Diny & Mielu (Netherlands)
Bernd (Switzerland)

Of course, I am so grateful that I was able to meet many old friends in Tokyo and have such a good time! I'm looking forward to meeting you again soon!



Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Longneck Karen Girl

I have my new website mostly in place and now I am starting to work on the Thailand photos. As soon as I have gone through them all and prepared some of them I will upload them to the site and then I will post the address. Here's a sample. This is a young Longneck Karen girl in a northern hilltribe village.

For some time I have really been wanting to buy a couple of new lenses, but at the moment I am maintaining lenses for 2 different camera systems: Canon and Minolta (Minolta is now owned and branded Sony). My current DSLR (digital SLR) is Canon, but my previous one was Minolta and my next one could be Canon or, if Sony comes out with something I really like, I might go that way. The problem is that I can't decide which camera mount to go with if I get the lenses. Although I like my Canon quite a lot I really miss the in-body image stabilization that the Minolta/Sony has (Pentax also has it). I really like that feature! I keep putting off purchasing the lenses. There are rumors that Sony will release a new higher end model at the PMA show in February. I suppose I could should until then, at least. But, if I go on a trip before then I don't know if I will be able to withstand temptation any longer. :-)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Kenyan Man Named Joseph

A few years ago on my first trip to Kenya I met a Kenyan man named Joseph who was the night guard at our camp at Lake Nakuru. Lake Nakuru is one of the Rift Valley soda lakes and has a large population of pink flamingos and hippopotamuses. In the evening Joseph would walk around the camp from time to time with his rifle and was happy to stop and enjoy conversation with us. I recall one evening, pretty late, when an Italian man, two German men, and I were sitting around the campfire and Joseph walked up. He was about the same age as we were and had a very cheerful demeanor so we were gratified to have the chance to sit and talk with him. He was a tribal man and lived in a village not too far from Lake Nakuru and had two wives. He was very happy to have this job because it made him an important man in his village. He told us he had a dozen cows, many goats, two houses (one for each wife and children), and several pieces of furniture. In addition, he was able to afford to put a concrete floor in his first wife's house that year and hoped to put one in the other the following year. He told us his total income was about $400 a year and with all of his livestock it made him a wealthy man in his village. He asked Luigi, Rainer, Friedhelm, and I how many cows and goats we had. Sheepishly, we each admitted that we didn't own any. We really surprised Joseph when he heard that! He had assumed that since we were foreigners we were rich and felt sympathy for us because at our age we still didn't have any livestock. :-)

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of Joseph, but here are a couple of photos of people in Africa. The first photo is a Maasai woman and child in the Maasai Mara of Kenya and the second photo is a father, son, and grandson in Zambia.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

It is a somewhat cold (46F/8C) day and it has been raining off and on since yesterday so it is a good day to spend time inside and get to work on all the photos from the recent Thailand and Japan trip. I think I got some good ones! I have my new website mostly up and running, but I want to add some photos from this trip before announcing the address. Soon.

In the spirit of the Christmas holidays here are 3 photos of Christmas illumination in Japan. The first is of the Christmas display at the Nagoya train station and the next two are in Tokyo. With illumination photos sometimes you can get an interesting effect by intentionally shaking the camera during the exposure. Experiment with different shutter speeds and different movements. Be careful of exposure! If you are using a digital camera then check the results on the LCD.

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 22, 2006


Yesterday I saw the new movie Apocalypto, about the final days of the Maya civilization. Quite a good movie, I thought, and definitely recommended! Much of the movie takes place in the rainforest (I read that the rainforest scenes were filmed in Guatemala, which coincidentally is a country I am thinking about visiting early next year) and it reminded me so much of the Amazon rainforest where I spent a few days last year while in Ecuador.

This is a photo I made while riding in a dugout canoe on a river in the rainforest during a steady rain. Speaking of rain, I think the highlight of the days in the Amazon was the partly cloudy morning we were walking down a trail in the rainforest and when we all stopped, and it was quieter, I thought I could hear a very faint, strange sound far away. I couldn't identify it, but then a few minutes later it sounded a bit louder and I asked if anyone else could hear it. Within a few short minutes the sound went from barely audible to suddenly a pouring, drenching, waterfall crashing down upon us! For maybe 10 minutes the hard rain fell and I just kept thinking that this is my image of the rainforest!

Here's a self-portrait in the same dugout canoe (with paint on my face made from red berries). :-)

The temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest are also gorgeous. This is a photo I made in British Columbia. In the forest as I was walking along I came upon this old carved tree stump that was about 10 feet (3 meters) tall. It was off the trail and hidden away so that it was difficult to see from the trail. Who carved it? I don't know, but it almost felt like a dream to be there alone with it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Hey, what happened to the weather?! For a week we had sunny skies and warm temperatures (76F/24C) so I was wearing shorts, T-shirt, and sandals but today was cloudy, wet, and chilly (59F/15C).

On a day like this I remember the warm days in Morocco a few months ago. :-) I travelled around there for 3 1/2 weeks. Started in Marrakech and ended there too. My plan was to meet up with some other people to travel around the country with, but I arrived a couple of days early so I had some time to myself and it was a good chance to get a bit familiar with the place. Got some photos too. I had planned to stay at the Hotel Ali, which is just steps from the World Heritage Site Djemaa el-Fna in the middle of Marrakech, so a very convenient location. The hotel didn't have any rooms available so I ended up in a dorm room with 7 other young guys from various countries. Turns out that was just fine with me though because I made some new friends. I do recall we had one guy that kept muttering to himself as he slept. I wasn't quite sure if it was English or not, but either way I couldn't figure out what he was going on and on about all night. :-) He sure seemed quite rested the next morning though so he must have got it out of his system.

One morning I went walking with my camera through the labyrinth of narrow alleys and walkways fully expecting to just get lost and then later find my way out. It wasn't long before a man named Mohammed started walking beside me trying to convince me that it would be so much more enjoyable if I would hire him to be my guide. I wasn't interested at first but we talked for awhile and we had fun joking around with each other so I employed him for a couple of hours. I'm really glad he convinced me to! Although I would have wandered around and gotten some good photos he took me into some of the workshops in out of the way places, introduced me to some of his friends, and really made the whole morning much more enjoyable. As we were making our way down a narrow little alleyway, which is typical in the souks, we came across these men sitting on the ground and drinking tea. I greeted them with salaam and they motioned for me to sit down and join them. Together we drank very sweet mint tea and, with Mohammed acting as our interpretor, we talked a bit about family, life in Marrakech and life in the U.S.. I asked if it would be okay for me to take a photo and they all readily agreed, but just as I was about to take the photo the second man from the left hid his face. I guess a change of heart! :-)

By the way, I made a lot of progress on the new website today so it is getting close!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

On the road in the West

I didn't get a lot done today because I met one my old buddies for lunch and we ended up sitting there all afternoon talking. Lucky for us most restaurants these days in the States provide unlimited free refills on drinks. Which then, of course, leads to multiple trips to the restroom. :-)

In addition to travel abroad I sure like travel within the U.S. too. Over the years I have taken many road trips -- the longest was driving 12,500 miles (20,000 kilometers) in 9 weeks throughout the western States! It may be a cliche, but there really is a sense of freedom while out on the road travelling the highways and back roads with no particular destination in mind and no schedule to keep. At anytime you can get off the main road and take a sidetrip if the spirit moves you. Find a place you like? Stay a few days.

This first one is at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. Have you been there? The national parks in Utah are truly awesome! Bryce, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands. If you haven't been to any of them yet you really owe it to yourself to go. For this photo I was hiking down into the canyon (it isn't actually a canyon, I think) with a bit of camera gear looking for photo opportunities. Nature photography isn't my primary interest, but when surrounded by such grandeur everyone becomes a nature photographer! As I walked, all around me the brilliantly colored orange rocks kept me in awe and then suddenly I came upon this wondrous scene with a tree growing up between the sheer orange rocks. There weren't a lot of people there that day, but it seemed people were spaced just far enough apart on the trail so that just about the time someone was about to walk out of my camera viewfinder someone else walked in. I admit I was getting pretty frustrated so I finally gave up and took a few shots with people in the frame. I envy photographers that seem to have so much patience that they can stay in one place for hours to get the shot they want! When I took this shot it wasn't really what I wanted, but then when I got home I decided I liked this photo better because the people provided scale and a good sense of the height of the tree and the massive rock walls.

This next photo is along the famous Route 66 in New Mexico while on another road trip. It was late in the day and light was starting to look really nice with a warm yellow glow and long shadows. Actually, I was getting a bit desperate, knowing this light wouldn't last long, as I was driving along looking for a good photo subject. Fortunately, just at the right moment I found this old, abandoned derelict of a gas station. The long shadows from across the highway and the spotlighted old sign and part of the building really caught my eye. Here again, the initial exposure was the score and the image you are looking at now is the performance.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Luang Prabang, Laos

It's a warm Monday morning and I have been busy for the last couple of hours on the new website. I have most of it done, but I am still preparing the photo galleries. As I was doing that I was reminded of this photo.

This was across the river from Luang Prabang in Laos. I had just taken a canoe across the river and was walking away from the river when I saw this young girl coming towards me. She seemed to be so deep in thought and oblivious to all around her as she made her way down to the river. I only had about 5 seconds to get this photo so I had to work really fast! Fortunately, I had the right lens on my camera already, but from the angle I was standing her face was not as clearly revealed and you could see someone walking just a few feet behind her in the field of view. I quickly took one shot from that location knowing that it wasn't ideal, but I was afraid that if I moved before taking it the moment would be lost forever. Once I had that one shot (with the other person behind) though I quickly shifted my position a couple of steps, all the while hoping she wouldn't suddenly notice me and change her expression, and from that new position I had time to just get one more shot before the person walking behind came into the field of view again and the young girl noticed me and looked my way. Even now when I see this photo I am transported back there and still wondering what she is thinking about. Maybe it something deep and mystical or maybe something as simple as wondering why her mother made her go down to the river for water instead of her sister. :-)

So much of travel photography is just like that. Serendipity plays a large role, but you have to help it along by spending a lot of time out there with your camera. While travelling I spend much of my time wandering around with my eyes open looking for moments like these to be preserved.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


In April I travelled around France and here is one photo from that trip. As I usually do, I was just wandering around, this time in Paris, one day and came upon this scene. Ansel Adams once said, and I am paraphrasing, that the negative is the score, the print is the performance. Of course, this photo doesn't look exactly like the scene that day, but it is how I imagined it when I took the photo. My intention was to work on the photo more when I got home and this is the result. Of course, this is just one interpretation. What do you think?

Photography, other than straight documentary photography, means to me, trying to visualize the potential in a photo and then, if what you see in your mind's eye is not exactly what you you see, transforming it. A few years ago the work was done in a darkroom and some, such as Ansel, were masters at it. These days many people, including me, use a lightroom instead. I am still learning.

Although I had been in France twice before, the trip this year was the most interesting. I was travelling alone and went to Paris, Chartres, Tours in the Loire Valley (and went to see 3 of the most famous chateaus: Chenonceau, Cheverny, and Chambord), Amboise, St. Malo in Brittany, and Mont St. Michel in Normandy. As is usually the case for me, I had no plans, itinerary, or hotel reservations anywhere. I made the trip up as I went along. :-) When I arrived in a new place the first thing I had to do was to find a place to stay for the night before I could do anything else. This is one of the times a Lonely Planet book really comes in handy! Once that was arranged then I could take my daypack out of the backpack, transfer some camera gear and other things to the daypack, leave the backpack behind, and get out there!

Although last year when I backpacked in Europe (Germany, northern Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, and the Netherlands) I usually stayed at backpacker hostels, this year in France I stayed at small hotels. Have you stayed at a hostel? When you stay at a hostel you share a room with one or more so you often meet some really interesting people. It can be so much fun! Sometimes travelling alone can be a bit lonely, but I often get some of my best photos that way! Being alone, and not really wanting to just sit in my room, compels me to get outside even in inclement weather. Hey, that's usually not a bad thing because sometimes photos are much more interesting when the weather is not so good. Rain, snow, dramatic storm clouds can make for arresting photos!

I've been busy all day working on my new website. I hope to have it ready in the next few days. I know, I said the same thing a few days ago, but it is just taking more time than I expected. :-) Once I have it up and am satisfied with it I will probably take my old site down. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I mentioned Ecuador in my previous post so I thought I might just as well post a photo from that trip. The trip in Ecuador last year was so cool! I went to Quito, Tena, the Amazon rainforest, Baños, San Pablo, climbing up to 5000m/16,250ft on Mt. Chimborazo (volcano), Riobamba, rode on the roof of the Devil's Nose train, Puerto Lopez, and Otavalo. In this case I joined up with a group in Quito and we travelled together for 3 weeks. I was so fortunate to have such wonderful, funny, interesting people to travel with. We had people from Ecuador, Australia, Scotland, Germany, England, Canada, and the U.S. and had a roaring good time! The days staying in a village in the Amazon rainforest really stand out!

Here's a photo of a weathered old man I met on the street in Otavalo. The strong sun, wind, and age have sculpted his face into beautiful leather. We should all be so lucky to end up with such an interesting visage someday!

Travelling close to the ground

Yesterday I mentioned "travelling close to the ground" and to me that means basically using mostly public transportation, not staying in hotels designed specifically for tourists, carrying as little luggage as possible (I always use a medium-sized backpack), and trying to be around the local people and maybe even get to know a few. Sure, I like to visit some of the famous tourist spots in a country, but I like to also get out and wander in the non-tourist areas too. In addition, I need to have a bit of freedom, so a regular tour group is just not for me. Absolutely nothing wrong with them, but since I usually travel for several weeks to several months at a time I don't need, or want, to try to pack in too much in a short time. With more freedom I am able to pursue my photography and not have schedules interfere as much. Even when I meet up with an adventure travel group the atmosphere in these kinds of groups is very relaxed and I still have a lot of freedom.

I just got back from the 2 months in Thailand and Japan and, yet again, I am thinking about trying to find the ideal travel backpack. :-) Over the years I have gone through several trying to find the one that is just perfect for me, but so far no luck! You can see in this photo my current backpack (photo taken last year in my hotel room in Quito, Ecuador). I have been using it for 5 years and it is the best one I have found so far, but it still has some annoying design features and omissions. I stopped by REI after lunch today to see what they had, but I didn't find anything that was significantly better than the one I have now so I guess I will have to hold off awhile longer or keep looking. My Kelty Redwing 2900 pack is 2,900 cubic inches (47.5 liters) so that's not all that big, but it is enough space for me to carry my travel camera gear, plus pretty much everything I need to travel for months at a time. I carried it for 4 months travelling through Europe in 2001 and many other trips since. Actually, my camera gear uses up about 1/2 the space and makes up 2/3 of the weight when I'm all packed up -- and I am careful to not even carry much camera equipment! Without the camera gear I could easily travel for months with just a daypack. I'm not real happy about the straps though because they are not adjustable and they concentrate most of the weight on my shoulders. That isn't a super big problem though since while on the go I usually don't have to carry the pack for really long periods. Generally, getting from a guesthouse/hostel/hotel to the train/bus station, etc.. Still, that plus a few more things have me looking again. Any recommendations?

Speaking of packs, it reminds me of the whole business of packing. I know you have heard it before, but I will repeat it: pack light!!! If you are wondering if I am suggesting you leave the hardback books, CDs, and portable refrigerator at home then the answer is yes! :-) You will enjoy your trip so much more if you don't have multiple heavy bags to carry. Keep it simple and just take the minimum. If you really need something (another pair of shoes, suntan lotion, snacks, etc.) you can almost always get it at your destination! Not only that, but in many places, such as Thailand, you can usually get it for less than at home. :-) Just as an example, I only carried one pair of shoes to Thailand and they were just some lightweight sports shoes that I knew I would need on the trek I wanted to go on. I have trekked in Thailand before and figured I could get by without hiking boots, which are bigger, heavier, and generally not too comfortable to wear all the time. My plan was to buy some flip-flops/thongs in Bangkok to wear most of the month I was in Thailand and just before the trek I could buy some Teva-style sandals in Chiang-Mai to take on the trek. That's what I did. The thongs and sandals were ubiquitous, cheap, and completely met my needs. And I didn't have to schlep them around Japan and Thailand until I needed them!!! I only took one short-sleeve shirt, one long-sleeve shirt, and one pair of lightweight trousers to Thailand. Figured I would buy a couple of T-shirts and some short pants when I got there. Did that in Bangkok, wore them while travelling around Thailand and then left them folded up in my last guesthouse. :-)

Thursday, December 14, 2006


A couple of weeks ago I returned from a 2-month trip to Thailand and Japan (one month each). It sure was a lot of fun! In Tokyo I had a chance to meet many friends, visit a few izakayas (Japanese pubs) (here's a photo of one) with them, enjoy the special kind of warm Japanese camaraderie, take a few photos, and eat some good food!


I got a lot of photos in Thailand and I will start sorting through them soon and then plan to put a few on my website. Speaking of websites, I am in the process of a total redesign of my photo website and also I will be moving it to a different hosting company. Once that is completed in the coming days I will add some new photos from Thailand and Japan.

Sometimes when I travel I go with an adventure group and other times I do it on my own. For the recent Thailand trip I didn't go with a group, but I did want to do some trekking in the northern hilltribe region so in Chiang-Mai I signed up for a 3-day trek. I was really fortunate to get in with a wonderful group of people! Good and Woot were our two Thai guides; Carlijn and Bas were from The Netherlands; Sylvain and Christina were from France; Heino was from Germany and his wife Phun was from Thailand; and Tim, Olly, and Pete were three guys from England. Each night we stayed in a different hilltribe village and had a chance to meet some of the people. This is a photo of all of us. I just can't say enough good things about our group -- or as Good called us, "Our Gang." :-) He even gave us all gang color woven bracelets the first day to wear on our wrists -- and a special thanks to Christina for tying mine on for me as we were riding in the back of an open air sawngthaew (pronounced "song-tow") . :-) A really great bunch of folks and I hope someday to meet them again somewhere!

While out on the "road" I meet some of the best people! The camaraderie of my Japanese friends, the camaraderie of a group of like-minded people trekking in the mountains of northern Thailand, the camaraderie of people I have met at backpacker hostels in Europe, and so on is one of the things that makes this kind of travel so addicting!

Thinking about getting a DSLR?

If you are thinking about getting a DSLR (digital SLR) right now and you have some Pentax lenses, or don't have any lenses, then you might want to look at the new Pentax K10D. It is looking pretty juicy with a very nice price too. I had a chance to play with it at the Pentax showroom in Shinjuku while I was in Tokyo a few weeks ago and it is quite nice. Early reviews that I have seen have also been very favorable. It has a really nice combination of features including in-body image stabilization utilizing a system similar to the one in the Konica Minolta 7D/5D and Sony A100 DSLRs. The advantage to this system over the Canon and Nikon in-lens system is that it works with *any* lens you put on the camera and not just a few, select, expensive lenses that Canon and Nikon have decided to add it too. Naturally, the Canon and Nikon systems have some advantages too, but for me the ability to instantly have all lenses stabilized is a great boon. Also, the Canon/Nikon image stabilized lenses are mostly bigger and heavier. Unfortunately, I don't have any Pentax lenses so I probably won't get the K10D, but I am definitely tempted! :-) Oh, by the way, Pentax also has the K100D which is at an even lower price and also has in-body image stabilization. It is a lower level model with fewer features, but if you have some Pentax lenses and want to put your toe into the DSLR waters then look at it too!

I have Canon lenses and Minolta lenses. I used Minolta film SLRs for many years, but my first DSLR was a Canon in 2003. At that time Minolta didn't have one so I had to choose from what was available. In 2004 Minolta came out with their 7D with in-body stabilization and many other nice features so in 2005 I got one of those. It was a really nice camera and it was great to be able to use my Minolta lenses again! Recently I replaced it with another Canon though. Sony bought the Konica Minolta camera business earlier this year and the first Sony DSLR was the A100 this past summer. It also has in-body stabilization -- a killer feature for Sony and Pentax! I am looking forward to seeing what Sony comes out with next year (there are lots of rumors).

I have found for travel having image stabilization really increases my percentage of keepers. I often spend 8-14 hours a day wondering around with my camera while travelling and, especially, in the early morning, late afternoon, and evening when the light is the most interesting the stabilization helps me to get sharp shots that would otherwise either be blurred because of a too low shutter speed or require a tripod. For the kind of close to the ground travel I do with a backpack a tripod is just totally impractical. Also, for many shots even if I had a tripod it would be useless because the shot would be gone by the time the tripod was set up or there is just no place to put a tripod.

Well, it is a beautiful, warm (77F/25C) sunny day in Austin so I want to get outside for awhile and enjoy it! I plan to post another photo this afternoon so check back in later.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Getting the ball rolling...

Here's my first image post! In March/April this year I spent about 4 weeks travelling in Morocco. Morocco is a beautiful country with warm, friendly people and a very diverse landscape.

As an aside, I actually lived in Casablanca for almost 2 years, but I was a young child so, unfortunately, I don't have many clear memories of those days. :-( The memories I do have are mostly of just my parents and sister and our family life together there.

On the trip this year I went to Marrakech, Ouarzazate, Ait Benhaddou, Todra Gorge, the Sahara, Fes, Volubilis, Chefchaoen, Tangier, Asilah, Imlil & Armed (in the Atlas Mountains), and Essaouira. By the way, sleeping under the stars in the Sahara was absolutely amazing!!!

This photo was made in Essaouira on the coast. I got up just before sunrise determined to get up on the ramparts of the old protective wall around the heart of the old city by the time the sun was rising. It really paid off! That glorious morning I was fortunate to be blessed with a breathtaking sky and beautiful early morning light. I was able to make several photos that morning that I am fond of and this is one of them. Although on the previous afternoon there were many people on the wall at this early hour there was almost no one else around so I could imagine the spirits of the long dead Essaouirans that keep their vigil each night departing as the sun was rising.

I think one reason I decided to make this my first photo post is because a couple of days ago I was watching the movie Kingdom of Heaven on HBO and I was surprised to see that early in the movie there were several scenes of the Crusaders in a medieval Arab city and some of the scenes were filmed right on these ramparts at Essaouira! It is really cool to see a place such as this appear unidentified in a movie and know you walked on those same stones!


First, just a short introduction. My name is Henry Richardson and I have loved photography and travel since I was a child. These days I do as much of both as I can! In the last few months three different people have suggested to me that I start a blog to display photos and to tell of my travels so, finally, I decided to try it out. I will do my best to keep it updated!

Friends, family, and people I meet around the world are welcome to check in from time to time. I really appreciate feedback, notes, or pretty much any kind of communication with all of you so don't feel shy! :-)

By the way, from time to time I may post a bit in Japanese too. I have lived in Japan on 3 wonderful occasions for a total of about 5 years and I have many Japanese friends. I have a strong affection for Japan and the Japanese people. I hope some of my Japanese friends will drop in from time to time. Most of you will be able to see the Japanese characters unless you don't have the Japanese font loaded and in that case you will probably just see some garbage characters where the Japanese characters should appear.


So, here we go.....