There are no trashcans along the road, except at convenience stores. There are only can recycling bins in front of the drink vending machines. You're expected to either eat your food on the spot, or take it somewhere and carry the trash with you home. Oh, and walking while eating is generally rude (though somewhat acceptable in certain areas with expats), but just try to be aware of that as you're going around. Japanese are polite and generally silent. This is particularly ob
This was a fantastic park. Tips: Easily doable in one day (but would have been less rushed in 2). Don't come here on a Saturday. There will be a lot of locals in addition to tourists. It's worth spending the night in a nearby hotel the night before so that you don't have to attempt to figure out the Tokyo subway while you're half asleep. Get here at least 30 mins to an hour before opening time. You may not be admitted into the park if you're late. Grab a map from the main gat
One of my cousin's friends from Northwestern came home to live in Japan after graduation, and we met him at Shibuya for lunch. (Yes, we did come out of the station to the famous Shibuya crossing, and yes we did see the Dog statue, but I didn't feel compelled to stand there for the "perfect shot." He did all the ordering and there was no shortage of food at all.... Only time Ge and I have had natto with a quail egg, some raw fish, ikura, spring onions, and wasabi in this way.
To get to the Ghibli Museum, you have to take the train out to Kichijoji (pronounced Kee-chee-joe-jee) Station. It's a beautiful walk through a nice park and neighborhood to get there. (You can buy tickets online, as described here. I ordered through Lawson.) Since we got to Ghibli about an hour before our time slot for museum entry, we wanted to get out of the bitter cold, which luckily, we could since there was a cute bird cafe across the street. They even had cute main cou
As I raced back across Nagoya, I ended up making an earlier Shinkansen train back to Tokyo. I guess since last time I had passed Mt. Fuji I only saw the bottom, Mother Nature seemed to think that today I needed to see the top. Damn, that's one hell of a volcano. No need to be paranoid about missing Mt. Fuji. You will see it if you're on the side of the train with the side with the row of two seats. Managed to find my cousin in Shinjuku station (which is CONFUSING-- we never e
HQ is only 1.5 hours away by train from Nagoya!!! Toyota Kaikan is pretty magnificent. 50,000 engineers work in their design building at headquarters, and about 50% of employees commute from other parts of Nagoya. The tour started this morning at Toyota Kaikan Museum, which, after being to the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Technology, is just not nearly as impressive. But, it's cool to realize that the city was renamed Toyota City once the car manufacturing business boomed.
So long, Osaka! Today I boarded the non-reserved section of the Shinkansen (which seemed somewhat frightening to my brain because I had no idea what would happen). It's not much different, other than cars 1-5 are non-reserved and 6-10 are reserved. You just stand in line and board when the train arrives. In less than two hours, I went from Osaka (and seeing lots of countryside with snow) to Nagoya. Now, the Osaka train station is impressive (reminded me a bit of London's St.
Kiyomizudera Temple at Sunrise: So worth getting up early this morning. Get there before the shops open at the crack of dawn. The shops might not be open, but you'll have the whole place (mostly) to yourself. We were there so early that the gardeners showed up about 30 mins into the visit. Ninenzaka, Sanenzaka-- pretty, but like Gion, if you're from Kyoto you probably don't go here. Lots of smaller temples along these streets, along with shops and restaurants. Nishiki Market-
Today I went to Fushimi Inari again with a new friend from Brisbane. My artsy photo of the shrine. Overlook of Kyoto. Stunning. When the morning light hits the tori gates just right, the whole place takes on a different feeling. I got a charm for safe travels. I loved how it had the fox and the tori gates on it. Famous quail served at Inari that you can eat, bones and all. About 45 mins away from Inari, Nara is the ancient capital of Japan, and is still very much a modern cit
When I got to Kyoto, I noticed a girl carrying a long, wrapped object on her back. The first thought that popped into my head: Bushido (Japanese form of archery). The second thought: Where did she practice? The next thing I knew, I was on a train where there was a lovely ad for what seemed to be a gathering of kick-ass women dressed in kimonos, aiming arrows, and I could figure out that something was happening on January 15th. I sent the poster to one of my friends and asked