Japan: A trip not to be forgotten

It seems like summer break will never get here.  Our school goes through June 13 this year.  Yuk.  It was nice starting late, but June 13 stinks.

I have fond memories of last summer, though, and I never got to blog them.  It’s late, I know.  And maybe I’m a blog loser.  But this is my blog.  If you don’t like it, peace out. :)

This post is dedicated to Jessica Webb, who encouraged me to blog it (better late than never!) and who was the most fabulous host I could imagine and to The Hunk, who supported me in making a travel dream come true!

Day 1

On my first day in Japan, Jessica took me to Enoshima, where we had lunch and I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life.

There were some vulcan-like crows in Japan.  Check this out:

Then, we went to see the Great Buddha statue in Kamakura, Japan.

Then, we visited the Kōtoku-in temple, near the statue.  The garden and scenery were so beautiful.

Then, we went through the cave of beauty, which is a cave that makes you more beautiful.  As if that were possible for us.  There were candles lit in memory of loved ones.

I also discovered how prevalent vending machines are in Japan.  You can buy almost anything to consume in these puppies.  Drinks.  Snacks.  Rice.  Ice cream.  Veggies.  Name it.

I bought a Coke and it tasted just like the Coke in the states.  Jess said that they import American sugar to make it.  Smart move, Japan.  Smart move.

Jess and I, of course, went shopping.

I didn’t buy any, but these wrapping cloths were sweet.  The Japanese don’t traditionally wrap with paper.  They use cloth and reuse it to wrap for others.  Jess and I should start sending each other gifts wrapped with Japanese gift cloths.

And, of course, there were entire stores dedicated to chopsticks.

The sun sets really early in Japan in June.  At about 7, we arrived at this shrine but we had to hurry because the sun was getting low.

Some local Sake companies donate these empty barrels in exchange for free advertising

Funniest scene of the day, this dog:

Also funny: this sign.

PS: I love subways.  The Japanese don’t speak on the trains.  And they were afraid to look at us, lest we speak to them in English and they make a mistake in their English response.

Day 2

We happened to have a Typhoon on this day.  We stayed in and hunkered down.

Day 3

On day 3, I went with Jessica to help her teach an English class to adorable Japanese women.

Please notice that I’m pretty much wearing the same clothes.  That’s because they lost my bags.  That’s right, I’m 13 time zones away from home and Delta has my bags in Detroit.  Ugh.

Anyway, I taught the women what a saying meant: “Sitting pretty.”  I’d say they got it.

Then, Jessica’s friend, Kimiko, met with us for lunch, where I had Udon.  Delicious!

We then took a long trip through winding roads through the country in Japan to a textile company where we made paper, dyed fabric, and used manual machines to create a sort of friendship bracelet string.  It was sweet!

Kimiko translated for us.

Day 4

On day 4, we went to TOKYO!

After having had a bad experience with sushi on day 2 (Let’s just say that I didn’t vomit because I’m too stubborn. And because there was no where for the vomit to go with a person sitting on both sides of me in a booth), I wasn’t interested in Japanese food yet.  We had McDonald’s.  Jessica helped me order.  I always forget how small everyone’s portion sizes are in other countries.

Then we went shopping, almost always able to see the Tokyo Sky Tree.

We checked out this temple.

Tokyo tickets illegally parked bikes.  I wonder how effective this is.

The pottery was plentiful and I was scouring for matching sets that I could bring back to the states.

We spent a ton of time in the kitchen/restaurant district.

Jessica and I couldn’t figure out how this would work.

The Japanese don’t sell things in sets of 4; that is equivalent to their 13–unlucky.  Everything had at least 5 parts.

They call their country “Nippon.”

They have clever bike kickstands.  Want.

We arrived at Tokyo’s equivalent of New York City’s Time Square.  Sweet!

We took the Romance Car back to base since we were returning during rush hour.  They actually stuff people into the subway cars because it is so packed during rush hour.  We didn’t want to deal with that.  The Romance Car has bus-style seats and they are assigned.

Day 5

On day 5, we went to the 100 Yen store.  I didn’t take many pictures.

But, check out the interesting parking system they have over there.

And the interesting inventions they have at the 100 Yen store.

Day 6

On day 6, we went to a Japanese castle.  Jessica’s husband, Jason, was off work, so he went with us.

You could pay to dress up in historical costumes.

We stopped to eat lunch.  I had authentic Ramen Noodles.  The order was, interestingly enough, placed through a vending machine that gives you a ticket with your order on it that you give to the attendant.  They bring out your food later.

We used a different vending machine to grab these delightful treats to drink.  I was glad that Jess is a Coke fanatic.  :)

Then, we went to a huge indoor market. I stayed away from the fish department, but it was a neat scene.

Multiply these numbers by about 1.8 and that’s how many pennies these packages cost. Very expensive, even with government subsidies.

We came across a random concert on our way out of the market.

I love seeing my friends with good husbands. :)

Days 7 & 8

Day 7 was sort of a bummer.  We tried to see Fuji.  Even though we super close to the base in this picture, this is what we saw:

On day 8, we went to a few recycle shops.  Recycle shops are similar to thrift shops, Goodwill or Volunteers of America stores.  Except that, in true Japanese style, everything is super crammed into a small space and not necessarily in any order.

I was too excited to take a picture, but at one of these shops, we found an old Samurai sword for Seth.  It was about $50, but brand new these puppies were like $10,000!

We also saw this cute man sharpening kitchen knives for people.  Jess and I went back to get hers, but he had gone when we returned.

 

So, that’s a short summary of my trip to Japan, a trip of a lifetime.  If you get a chance to take a trip, do it!

With all the happy travel ju-ju in my heart,
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Summer Travels: Part 1

I expected to be able to post during my various trips this summer.

I was wrong.

So, over the rest of my summer break, I’ll be catching up on my summer travels posts.

For our second anniversary, The Hunk and I went to Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The most tragic part of the trip? They took my pepper spray.  I cried.  No, really.  I did not know pepper spray is illegal in Canada.

However, we had a great time!

One of their coins is called a “loonie.”  So, I found this funny.

 

It was quite a site to see: such powerful water.

The American Falls.  And the Maid of the Mist.

The falls on the Canadian side is called Horseshoe Falls.  Are the Canadians less patriotic than Americans?

Why aren’t there fabulous Ferris wheels in Columbus?  I love these.

American Falls at night:

Horseshoe Falls at night:

It was a little cold that night.  The Hunk and I have an album my mother gave us where we are placing a picture of ourselves every year on our anniversary–no matter where we are. This is the second anniversary picture:

I love the lights on the falls at night.

They shine lights on the falls from afar.  I enjoyed these bright lights.

Have you ever been to Niagara Falls?  Did you stay on the US side or the Canadian side?  Tip: Be sure your pepper spray isn’t in your car when you head for the border!

Love forever,

Perfect Pair: 10/52 (Let’s Do 52)

After arriving home from an annoying week at work, The Hunk and I went to the library for a bit.  We picked up the second and third Lord of the Rings.  Watching these two one after another was not at all stressful.  If, by that, you mean completely very stressful.

At any rate, we also picked up these two beauts:

In preparation for my trip to visit Jessica in June, I want to do a little reading about Japan. I’m so pumped!  Hopefully, these two books will prove to be a perfect pair in preparation!

Where do you want to travel?

Joyfully,

Natural: 1/52 (Let’s Do 52)

A day late, but I took this picture yesterday.  I have never eaten sushi, but I can’t fathom the idea of eating raw fish.  Raw fish.  Very natural.

Do you like sushi?  If you were recommending a starter sushi, what would it be?  I need to prepare for my trip to Japan this summer.

Naturally,

51/52: Three

Rev Hunk and I are on vacation with some of my extended family.  We’re having a fabulous time.  There will be many many more pictures to come, but I wanted to check in quickly and post my pic for week 51.  I’m almost done!

It’s warm here compared to back home.  I could live here.

Warmly,