Monday, December 29, 2008

Meeting 畑中達彦

Yesterday it was Sunday, so I went with Ted and his family to the Calvary Chapel.
I met a lot of lovely people there ... 
One of them is Tatsuhiko Hatanaka (畑中達彦), 18 years old and a devoted Christian, with whom you see me on this picture togheter with Nobuti.

Peace brothers ... that's what the world needs today!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


That's me ... peacefully lying close to   ('the light') ... 
I can't imagine a better image for Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone ... ハッピー・クリスマス
Peace on earth ... all the best to you and your families !

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

信希 & 光

Today I was at home with Nobuki and Hikari. Two marvelous children. Nobuki is 5 years old and Hikari is 4 months old.
Ted learned me to spell there names in Japanese. I hope I spell it right ...

This is Nobuki in Japanese: 信希 and this is how you spell Hikari: 

Monday, December 22, 2008

Big in Japan

Yesterday, on Sunday, I went with Ted and his family to the Calvary Chapel West Tokyo.  This church is part of the movement of Calvary Chapel Fellowship churches which began on the West Coast of the United States. Ted and his family are devoted disciples of the church. They believe the worship of God should be intelligent. Therefore, church services are designed with great emphasis upon teaching the Word of God that He might instruct them ...

Of course Nobuki and Hikari are a little young for this ... and, honestly this little rat too.
Luckily, during the services on Sunday there is child care and Sunday School classes.
I joined them there ... and what a good time I had among all these little japanese children ...

Yeah ... I was big in Japan!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tokyo, Japan

Today, I finally arrived in Tokyo. When Ted and I arrived at the airport, his wife Michiko and his two children Nobuki ("faith and hope") and Hikari ("light") were waitin' for us.
What a nice and warm family ... and what a city!
I think I'm gonna like it here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Australian War Museum, Camberra

Before we leave for Japan, Ted wanted to visit the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Good choice Ted! You probably didn't know I recently visited Flanders Fields where Australian soldiers fought and died ... and yes, in Camberra we saw those poppies remembering Flanders Fields (see the red spots on this picture)!

It's a small small world ... and quite paradoxically, war brings people together.

Think about it while I travel to ... Japan.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Meeting Ted ...

This is my lucky dag !!! Today I met Ted who is attending a conference in Sydney.
Ted will take me ... to Japan!
This is a dream comes true  ... 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Darling Harbour, Sydney

This photograph of the Sydney skyline was taken from Darling Harbour, an entertainment and shopping mecca close to the heart of the city. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

Meeting an Australian Darter

This morning I met an Australian Darter in Sydney Harbour.
Since the plumage of Darters is somewhat permeable, they spread their wings to dry after diving and that's exactly what he did when I met him.
I had a nice conversation with this mate!  (he learned me some Australian slang).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Coathanger, Sydney

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a steel arch bridge across Sydney Harbour that carries rail, vehicular and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district and the North Shore

The bridge is locally nicknamed The Coathanger.

With a main span length of 503 meter (1,650 ft), the bridge was designed and built to be the largest spanning-arch bridge in the world.  A few months before the bridge was opened in 1932 however, in New York the Bayonne Bridge, with a main span lenght of 504 meter (1,654 ft) was openend. So, Sydney Harbour Bridge never was the largest spanning-arch bridge. Today, it's only the fourth-longest spanning-arch bridge in the world.

The length of the main span is the most common way to rank arch bridges. If one bridge has a longer span than another it does not necessary mean that the bridge is longer from shore to shore or from anchorage to anchorage.

According to the Guiness World Records , Sydney Harbour Bridge is the world's widest long-span bridge and the  tallest steel arch bridge, measuring 134 metres (429.6 ft) from top to water level.

Biggest, tallest, greatest ... I really don't care. It sure is impressive

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sydney Opera House revisited

behind me ... the most famous Sydney Opera House Contrary to the implication of the name, it houses a multi-venue performing arts centre, rather than a single Opera theatre. As well as hosting many touring productions in a variety of performance genres, the Sydney Opera House is a major presenting venue for Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, The Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony.
This marvelous building was made a UNESCO World Heritalge Site on 28 June 2007.
It certainly is one of the world's most distinctive 20th century buildings.

The architect of the Opera House, the Danish architect Jørn Zorn died two weeks ago on November, the 29th.
Tragically, he never saw his masterpiece himself. He left Australia after a conflict with the new minister of pulic works in 1966 and never came back to Sydney.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This must be Sydney !!!

Hey ... I know this place. Almost one year ago I stood on this very same place 'down under' in Sydney.
It took me almost 30 hours to travel from Brussels, over London and Singapore, to Sydney. 
Since we had to wait for four hours in London, I feared a while to be stucked in London again ... (I love the city very much, but I've been there before too !!!).
So I am in Sydney again ... very briefly. I see it as a stepping stone to Asia. I hope to meet someone here to bring me to Asia, the continent I only visited very briefly ... actually in June 2007, I was one day in Hong Kong.
On the picture you see me in front of Sydney's skyline ... lovely city and it is summer here!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Leuven Town Hall

On my last day in Belgium I visited the Town Hall in Leuven. The harmonious dimensions and rich decoration of the walls make the of the town hall a shrine of medieval splendor. The first stone was laid in 1439, the designer was the architect Sulpitius Van der Vorst. He died shortly afterwards and architect Keldermans continued his work. When Keldermans died in 1445 a third architect, Mathijs de Layens, continued the construction from 1447 until 1468. It was Mathijs de Layens who gave the flamboyant Gothic look to the building. He is therefore also considered the creator of the town hall. 

Well ... this was my last day in my home country, Belgium. I came to Leuven to meet Joeri, who will take me to ... another continent. Come and see soon ... on this very same blog.

Goodbye Belgium ... I hope to be back next year on 09.09.09

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Old Market Square, Leuven

Today I was on the Old Market Square in Leuven, aka 'the greatest bar of Western Europe'.
Very remarkable, since the nice building behind me is one of the main buildings of Leuven Universtiy.
The Oude Markt is more an experience than a destination, especially after a few drinks ...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Leuven train station

Today I arrived in Leuven, Flanders main university town. 
Leuven is a real "student city", as during the academic year most citizens in its centre are students.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Gravensteen, Ghent

This castle, the Gravensteen, was built in 1180 by count Philip of Alsace and was modelled after the crusaders castles the count encountered while he participated in the second crusade. Before its construction, there stood a wooden castle on the same location, presumably built in the ninth century. The castle served as the seat of the Counts of Flanders until they abandoned it in the 14th century. The castle was then used as a courthouse, a prison and eventually decayed. Houses were built against the walls and even on the courtyard and the stones of the walls were used to erect other buildings. At one time it even served as a factory. At the end of the 19th century, the castle was scheduled to be demolished.
Nowadays, the Gravensteen is a place of rest in the city of Ghent. If feels like you are in the countryside, centuries ago ...

This was my last day in Ghent. Tomorrow I am leaving for Leuven, my last stay in Belgium ...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bond Moyson, Friday Market, Ghent

Another building in a completely different style on the Friday Market: the house of the socialist trade union, built around the beginning of the 20th century in Art Nouveau style. History is everywhere here on this market place ...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Little Tower on the Friday Market, Ghent

The Friday Market offers the visitor a beautiful panorama of old medieval houses. The most remarkable building is the Toreken (Little Tower) behind me, a building from the 15th century. From the little tower most of the new trade regulations were read aloud to everyone present on the square.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Jacob Van Artevelde on the Friday Market, Ghent

The Vrijdagmarkt (Friday Market) is the center of political life in medieval Ghent. It was in this square that the Flemish counts had to swear their observance of the freedoms accorded to the citizens of Ghent. The guilds also fought each other here and in 1477 two advisers and envoys of the stadholder (governess) Maria of Burgundy were executed.
It was on this Friday Market that king Edward II of England was proclaimed king of France in 1340 by the guilds under the command of Jacob Van Artevelde whose statue now occupies a central spot on the market. This proclamation was an attempt of Ghent to preserve the close trade relations with England, because for the wool production they depended heavily on the import of the raw material from across the channel. It gave the citizens of Ghent a reason to rebel against the king of France, from whom the fiefdom of Flanders actually depended. This revolution was led by  Jacob Van Artevelde, who then became a 'national' hero of Gent. However, not for long : he was murdered a few years later by the same citizens whose interests he had tried to protect.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Klokke Roeland, Ghent

This huge bell  - called Roeland - hung in the Belfort bell tower until it was badly damaged in 1914
The original Roeland bell was cast in 1315 and installed ten years later in the tower. It has often called the population of Ghent to arms; in 1659 it was melted down and from the metal Peter Hemony cast a carillon of 37 bells. At the same time three large bells, the Triomfanten were made. What you see on this picture is the largest of the Triomfanten, again being called Roeland. 
Today, this bell is one of the main symbols of the city of Ghent.