Guest Speaker was Bruce Skilbeck who, with wife Vivienne, recently travelled to and through Japan. After detailing a litany of mishaps which saw them put in a day which began at 4.00 a.m. one day and ended at 3.00 a.m. the next, Bruce took us on an illustrated tour which included Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Mt Fuji, and Tokyo. 
Bruce mentioned several ancient temples and castles which are constructed entirely of wood. They saw lots of gardens where the plants are controlled by pruning and support structures rather than free-growing.
He spoke about the bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 when 130,000 died and many more were injured. Bruce spoke about the Genbaku Dome, the only building which survived the bomb, and which is located within the Memorial Park, as is the Museum, which contains a remarkable circular photo.
They travelled by “bullet train” at 280 kph from Hiroshima to Kyoto, which had been the Japanese Capital for 1000 years up to 1868.
Bruce was struck by the absence of graffiti, vandalism and rubbish, which was put down to the Shinto religion promoting cleanliness. He wondered if the five year gaol term applicable to some offences might also have some impact.
The magnificence of the roads also attracted Bruce’s attention, with bridges levelling out valleys and tunnels through mountains rather than going over or round.
Another thing which struck Bruce was the abundance of running water – it was everywhere. The absence of grazing cattle was another feature.