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The beginning of the end!

Written on: Sunday May 26th, 2013

A journal entry from: Italy, Ireland, Japan

The flight to Japan was long and we didn't manage to catch many z's (making for a very drowsy first couple of days)... But we managed to fight through the grogginess and find a smile as we descended over lush green trees and rice fields that looked like miles of plate glass. We have entered another world.

We started with the low key, more traditional side of Japan - making Kyoto our home base and taking daytrips to surrounding areas. It's beautiful; it's quiet (turn off your phone on the train!); it's polite; it's organized. It's facinating.

It will be impossible to even scratch the cultural surface in 12 days, especially in a country that seems so hard to scratch in the first place. The language barrier is high and, being void of a Japanese host, there is much we can't truly absorb due to lack of understanding. Google is being our friend most days, as is just jumping in and going with the flow!

Highlights of our first days - The deer of Nara (see photos), being accosted by a million school children to answer questions for their English projects, Kyoto station, the Giant Buddha of Nara (shivers!), and high speed trains.

After 4 nights in Kyoto, we have wandered to the big city. I was sure the slower, historical side of Japan would be where we thrived, but HELLO OSAKA! I have become addicted to flashing lights and Adam tried to dye his hair blond while smoking a cigarette. Well, it's true about my light addiction. Osaka is fun and flashy and energetic and stylish... It's a whole new ballgame. We are in love with this place (Adam bought knives here, so it quickly became his Eden).

Highlights: Wandering the streets at night, experiencing censory overload; markets; knives; the amazing Osaka aquarium (even though it introduced me to Spider Crabs). 

Our quick summary of Japan so far: 

-Vending machine chaos on the streets. Drinks any time, any place.

-Traditional and modern fused more intimately than we have ever seen. 

-7-11 visits six times a day - 7-11 wine!

-Polite, helpful folks looking out for weary travellers.
-"Hai hai hai." 

-Clean (you could eat off the train tracks).

-Smooth to navigate.
-Choice between squatty potty or most extravagant toilets ever made.

-Incredibly stylish.

-Respectful, very, very respectful. 
-We have found it much less expensive here than we anticipated and getting around much easier.
It's hard keeping up with words to match our experiences here, there is so much to see and do! A good problem to have while traveling, I'd say... Hiroshima tomorrow.



From Nicole on May 26th, 2013

I love your pictures Jennelle! I went to many of those same places and they take me right back! I was pretty creeped out by those crabs too at the aquarium too!! A few things you should try while you're there...sea chicken onigiri from circle K (yummy rice triangle with tuna wrapped in nori), check out a pachinko parlour, keep an eye out for any festival activity as that often equals yummy treats and fireworks, and if you need to kill some time look for a karaoke place...always fun! Enjoy the next part of your trip. The war memorial is very moving to say the least.