JAPAN in Pictures: part 3

Japan was miles more Western than China and considerably more Western than S. Korea even. I think because of our short time and visiting only two very heavily touristed locations, we didn’t get to interact with locals as much as we normally like. One main reason for this was simply that no one was at all surprised or shocked to see us. Some of the best conversations, we had in S. Korea or China, were simply because we were different and interesting to locals. Nobody batted an eye at our foreigner faces in Japan. I think another thing that surprised me was that Tokyo was not this crazy city that is years into the future that the media and Western folklore makes it out to be. Was it interesting? Sure. Was there crazy technology and weird fashion to the point of making me pause and say, Now this is Tokyo? Not really.
Though, I was pleasantly surprised with Kyoto. What a beautiful city which deals really gracefully with the copious amounts of tourists that pour through it’s streets. The temples are stunning, the street festival that we stumbled upon was intriguing, the tiny alleys of Gion with red lanterns alight, buzzing with the anticipation of spotting geisha coming out small doorways at any moment teamed with the cozy dim lights of people on rooftops and basements, enjoying some of the finest cuisine in Japan, makes Kyoto a wonderful place to be. Though, we could afford no haute Japanese cuisine in fancy restaurants, we were content to sit with a coffee over the river at sunset. Kyoto is somewhere, I think, we both exclaimed a 1,000 times through the week that we MUST come back with money at some point. It made an impression on me where Tokyo left a scratch of disappointment.

Nara is like a smaller Kyoto but with deer approaching you all the time for biscuits. They have a giant Buddha in the largest temple in Japan (I think?) and a gorgeous lantern festival throughout the forest celebrating the dead. We had a wonderful day trip there that we recommend to anyone.

inari and sushi from 7/11

inari and sushi from 7/11

The food in Japan was simple, but delicious. We could afford only simple things like conveyor belt sushi or inari from convenience shops, but everything was fresh. Okonomiyaki, a sort of Japanese cabbage pancake became our favorite dish.

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Overall, I don’t feel like Japan was anything like I expected, but I would love to go back and spend some time in other provinces, especially near Mt. Fuji and in Okinawa with a little more money and a little more time.

NARA in PICTURES (and video):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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forgive all the deer photos, they are just too cute. I couldn’t help it.

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snow cone maker!

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Giant Buddha Temple

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The Lantern Festival

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At the Setsubun Mantoro (Lantern Festival) everyone goes out and dresses up in their traditional summer Yukata (cotton Kimono) and enjoys the lights and street fair.

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Nara's Mascot

Nara's Mascot

After our time in Nara and Kyoto, we just spent one night in Kobe, where we embarked on our 48 hour slow boat to China. But the one night we spent was pretty awesome because we stayed in a capsule hotel. Take a look:

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