japan recap

Monday, April 9, 2007

We made it back safely from Japan last Thursday and were extremely thankful to have Easter weekend to recover from our jetlag. We're both going a little crazy here, waking up before 5AM and falling asleep around 2PM. But, we can't complain too much because we had a great time in Japan.

I've uploaded all of the photos that I've taken to our new flickr account. You can see all of them (450+) here if you like. I also added a flickr link to the right side of my blog for future photos. Jon has his first teaser video done and you can see it here. He hopes to sort through his hours and hours of footage and come up with a longer video in the next few weeks too.

Here's my 20 second recap...

the good

• getting to visit with our long, lost friends Joel, Mike and Chikage: this trip totally wouldn't have happened if they all weren't living in Japan right now. We were very blessed by their hospitality (and language skills).


• the food: we loved loved loved most everything we ate...japanese curry, yummy eel, onigiri, great sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market, excellent vegetarian meals at some Zen Buddhist temples in Kyoto and more. We made a run to our local Japanese grocery when we returned and have been attempting to recreate some of the meals we had.

• the combinis: 7-11 and other 24 hour stores were great for breakfast or an afternoon snack, and even late night packing tape runs for all of Joel's boxes

• the polite workers: we could not get over how friendly all of the workers at each place we travelled were! It makes Americans look so rude. And they all totally seemed to really enjoy their jobs.

• the heated toilet seats: available in almost every building we visited. We need to get one of those in our bathroom now...


• the beautiful temples and shrines: the architecture is just so unique and ornate...we loved looking at each new shrine or temple

• 100 yen store: this store totally puts dollar stores to shame - nothing is cheap or plastic or junky. They have everything at the 100 yen store! Kitchen utensils, dishes, office supplies, stationery, bath and body products, gift wrapping, slippers, ties, picture frames, food, gardening supplies, etc.


• seeing the cherry blossoms in Tokyo: we planned our trip at the perfect time and all of the blooms were gorgeous!

the bad

• not knowing the language - I felt/was illiterate most of the time. Thank goodness Joel was with us to read signs and translate. It is so nice to be back home where I can read signs and get around easily without having to rely on someone else!

• cold bathrooms: the japanese don't have central heating and usually leave the windows open in the bathroom, therefore, the bathrooms are always freezing...thank goodness for heated toilet seats!

the ugly


• the crowds in Tokyo, especially Harajuku: way too many people...way too claustrophobic. It totally felt like we were in a crowd leaving a stadium after a sporting event all the time. not too much fun for me.

• stone paths around all the temples: I'm still totally kicking myself for only bringing my not so good walking shoes to Kyoto! Most of the temples have stone paths, stone staircases and gravel trails...sturdy shoes are definitely in order for these!

We definitely got a well-rounded tour of Japan thanks to Joel and Chikage...we hit most of the major cities and sites in central Japan and then some...Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagoya, Nikko, Nara, Mt. Fuji, and Yokohama. Again, you can see all of the photos here.

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