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Japan, both old and new

The Monitor's Gloria Goodale went with her family to Japan.

Where did you go? Japan's capital cities, old and new - Kyoto and Tokyo.

Where did you stay? In Kyoto, at the Yoshi-ima, a traditional Japanese Inn (known as a ryokan) in the heart of old Gion, home of the geishas in earlier days. (We saw a few in the streets at night.) In Tokyo, we went for the opposite Japanese experience: a shiny, hi-tech, two-bedroom high-rise apartment in the Oakwood Roppongi T-cube complex.

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What did you do? In Kyoto, slept on traditional futons on the floor and wore yukatas (everyday) robes, learned meditation techniques from an 18th-generation Zen master in the Enkoji monastery, and felt very tiny in the shadow of the grand Daibutsu Buddha at Kamakura (r.). Visited Tokyo's Imperial Palace and rode the cleanest subway in the world, where "people-pushers" wear white gloves even as they politely shove more of humanity into the car behind you.

What did you eat? Drank thick, green tea in a traditional tea ceremony in the garden of our Kyoto ryokan. Also consumed lots of miso soup and ate a spectacular meal (costing a week's pay) that included the tenderest tuna sushi on Tokyo's Fifth Avenue, known as the Ginza, in celebration of son Danny's 15th birthday! (For more information go to jnto.go.jp/eng/.)

Where have you been? What did you do? Write Weekend