Hey There, Hokkaido

After a day and night sail from Tokyo, Kongo arrived at Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, and docked at the port of Hakodate.  On the way to the dock the ship was welcomed by a boat spraying different colored streams of water.  Hokkaido is all about apples. In fact, Hokkaido in Japanese means apples. (Actually, that’s a monkey fib — Hokkaido means “northern sea circuit”) Regardless of the meaning of the name, Hokkaido has lots and lots of apples, which were introduced to the island in the 1800s. Mrs. Kongo came back with a couple of apples. The monkey agenda for…

Monkey on a Wine Dark Sea

After two days in Tokyo, Kongo is back at sea. Embarkation on the Amazara Quest was easy and painless. Kongo ate lunch while the stateroom with a veranda on deck seven was being readied and then sipped wine for a few hours while Mrs. Kongo scurried about making spa appointments and whatnot. The ship was underway from its berth in Yokohama at 6:30, just at sunset. First days at sea are always interesting. Everyone is still happy and the adventures ahead loom large in our minds. You tend to overlook the little things, like the little head (bathroom) in your stateroom…

Fog, Rain, and Shinto Temples

So how bad can weather be on an outing in Japan? Pretty bad if you’re hoping to take some cool photographs of Shinto temples, sacred lakes, and tall waterfalls. Kongo took off for an 11-hour trek to Nikko, Japan, about 150 Km north of the capitol but three hours away on the tour coach. The weather leaving Tokyo was dreary and overcast. It got worse as we traveled into the mountains. Kongo started thinking optimistically, like maybe there would be this cool, wispy mist cascading over the lush, cedar forested mountains with rays of sunshine streaking through clouds and highlighting…

Tokyo Monkey

Kongo is in Japan.  Kon’nichiwa! After an 11 hour flight from LAX the traveling simian and Mrs. Kongo arrived in Tokyo rather glazed but happy. It was a super smooth flight, all logistics were easy, the food and drinks were great, and the monkey even slept for a few hours in a nice “lay flat” seat suite. The only slightly scary part was a kidnapping attempt by a monkey loving purser who really liked Kongo’s wings. She sighed and waxed fondly about monkey encounters in Costa Rica, hugged the little guy, and took off down the aisle.  “Hey, wait!” Kongo’s…