Our Trip to Japan

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May 20–June 7, 2004

Everyone who travels to Japan seems to feel compelled to either write a book about it or put up a Web site, if only to post photos. Why should I be any different?


My father, Tom Scoggins, has been a Rotarian since 1950. He served as president of the Rotary Club of Washington, D.C., in 1975–76 and as governor of Rotary International District 7620 in 1977–78. During his half-century in Rotary, Dad has attended 11 international conventions. Most of these have been in the United States, but the one he gets most excited about is the one in Tokyo, Japan, in 1978. Not only did it set an attendance record (39,834) that had not been broken until 2004, when the convention was again held in Japan, but it permitted him and Mother to visit my youngest brother, Glenn, who had recently started teaching at Saint Maur International School in Yokohama.

In 2004, the convention was to be held in Osaka, Japan, and Dad wanted to attend that one. Because, at age 85, he could not make the trip alone (he was now widowed), and because Glenn had been urging the rest of us to visit him throughout the 27 years he’d been in Japan, Dad invited me, my two other brothers, our spouses, and as many of our seven children as could come, to attend the convention, tour Japan, and visit Glenn in Yokohama, all at his expense.

He extended the invitation in December 2002, but serious planning began in August 2003, when we all signed up with Hamden Rotary Tours (operated by Bokoff-Kaplan Travel Services of Norwich, Connecticut) for a package that combined the convention and a seven-day tour of Japan afterward. There ensued about seven months of agony for Allison Bokoff, our tour guide, as she struggled to get information from the less responsive members of our group and arrange our various flight plans (since most of us would not be returning to the States with the tour group). In the end, this was our party:

PDG Thomas S. Scoggins, our benefactor and host

Suzanne Scoggins Barnhill, member of the Rotary Club of Fairhope, Alabama
Matthew Talbot Barnhill, Jr. (Barney), her husband
Matthew Talbot Barnhill III (Matthew), their son (30)

Thomas Vaughan Scoggins II (Tom), Astoria, Oregon
Joan Stevens Scoggins, his wife
Joseph Glenn Scoggins, their older son (27)
Jeffrey Alan Scoggins (Jeff), their younger son (25)

Samuel McWhirter Scoggins (Sam), member of the Rotary Club of Cincinnati, Ohio
Deborah Bailey Scoggins (Debby), his wife
Christopher McWhirter Scoggins (Chris), their son (16)

James Glenn Scoggins (Glenn), Yokohama, Japan
Chie Masaki Scoggins, his wife

Site Organization

I don't intend to have anything as grandiose as a site map, but I will provide an explanation of how this subweb is organized.

I have devoted one Web page to each of the nineteen days we were in Japan or en route (to get to them, go to the Itinerary page). These are named Day 1, Day 2, etc. Each of those pages has a summary of what we did that day. Many of them contain links to separate pages containing descriptions and photos of specific tourist attractions we visited that day (temples, shrines, parks, etc.). There are also a number of “sidebar” pages on various topics; you'll find links to these, as appropriate, scattered throughout the other pages and a complete menu of them on the Sidebars home page.

Let me say at the outset that a trip to Japan can be an overwhelming experience. Only in retrospect does one realize what things one should have taken pictures of. Luckily, other Japan tourists have produced hundreds, perhaps thousands of Web sites, and chances are good that one of them was impressed by the same thing—and thought to take a picture of it! I'd therefore like to express my gratitude to the multitude of other visitors to Japan who have unknowingly donated photos (which I have shamelessly stolen) to enhance these pages!

A word about pictures vs. text. For those who want to see pictures, there are plenty on this site. In the interest of quick page loading, however, I have limited the pictures on the main pages (if any) to thumbnails, and most of the pages are pretty text-intensive. For those of you who would rather look at pictures than read, just click on the links to get to pictures and related Web pages.