I have had several things I thought about blogging this past week, but hadn't because I felt I couldn't make a blog post until I blogged about going to Japan. Which is what I did on April 4th. I got back this past Sunday, so I've had a few days to start to digest my trip mentally. (People keep asking me what my favorite thing was...there were so many awesome things I still can't decide.)
I don't speak any Japanese, so my trip would have been pretty difficult, if not impossible, without Digikami, who speaks pretty damn good Japanese (don't let him tell you otherwise). I also got to see my friend from forever Japam (who will be losing her "Ja" in August when she comes back to the States in August).
We were based mainly in Kyoto, where we found an awesome deal through a hostel to rent an apartment for 15 days. This was awesome and way cheaper than staying in regular hostels the whole time, so we were glad to have found it. It was a super nice place right in the center of Kyoto.
I took of pictures, as did Digikami. He took more photos than I did, but posted fewer. They are also much better than mine, but hey, what're you going to do?
Turtles ("kame" in Japanese):
The World's Largest Indoor Buddha, Nara:
Tame Deer (in both Nara and Miyajima, this was in Miyajima):
Instructions on How To Use a Western Toilet:
Pachinko Parlor Ads Ripping Off Obama:
Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion:
And the view of Kyoto from Daimonji-yama:
This trip was actually my first journey out of the country, and in a lot of ways a huge jump out of my comfort zone. I don't speak the language, and I can't read any of the alphabets (though I have since learned 5 different kanji). While some of the food was familiar, I was being dumped in a place where I couldn't get the things I was raised on easily (and the Japanese barely eat cheese, which is probably my favorite food). Japanese-style toilets are traumatic.
But the food was delicious. People were friendly and polite despite my mangling their language. I saw beautiful things, and cute things, and funny things, and a couple of disturbing things. It was refreshing to see some of the problems that plague America (terrible public transit, for instance) are things that other countries have down. I had an awesome time, and I really would love to go back. Neither my words nor these pictures can really describe what it was like.
Time to start learning Japanese, so next time I can communicate a little better.